Economic prosperity has been a contentious and elusive issue for in particular black people in much of postcolonial Africa, the emerging nationalist leaders peddled a doctrine that poverty was an invention of the colonial establishment and as such the revolution needed to assert even outdated sovereignty while pleading to patriotic inspired sentiments at all costs.
The nationalist leaders continue to deny ownership of the economic status and economic destiny of their subjects up to this day, more than 50 years after the independence of the first African nation, Ghana. Zimbabwe's case is no exception to the idea that we are underdeveloped because of the colonial past, a past marred by a socio-economic and political apartheid skewed in favour of the white minority.
This nationalist thought allowed them; nationalist to rally the masses against the colonial state while paradoxically it also implied that the postcolonial state will be authored by the 'people' thereby transferring liability from the colonial architects to the postcolonial state leadership. The warped understanding of the leadership in authoring the destiny of their own people is an African disease whose symptoms are exhibited by pretending that we are just mere victims of the colonial state or victims of Britain, Australia, USA and New Zealand.
In Zimbabwe there is a diametrically opposite understanding between the two sides of the same coin; the colonial leadership and the post colonial leadership with the latter subscribing to the societal value that they needed to develop a racial apartheid exclusively enjoyed by their own people (kith and Kin) centred on acceding to economic freedom and the sanctity of property rights as much as they valued human quality of existence minus the black majority. This understanding has been a pillar of success for the white minority since the birth of the colonial state, even up to day it was liquidated.
Unfortunately for our dear leadership in the postcolonial state where there has been religious worshipping of themselves as mere victims than authors of our history, this religious view has given birth to an economic rights movement, which is just a euphemism for anarchism. This anarchist economic philosophy has been responsible for undermining the potential of the people in much of modern day postcolonial Zimbabwe. To prove my thesis it is important that we take the colonial state as a control experiment and Zimbabwe as an experiment, and then like scientists we observe the reaction after adding in a third rare investigated factor, property rights anarchism from the year 1999 up to date.
Since the year of the disastrous seizure of white owned farms, the motherland has continued to witness a deep emotive insistence on abrogation of the sanctity of property rights to which economic prosperity was underpinned on (extending even to blacks i.e. the case of the price slash operation, the case Mutumwa Mawere's empire etc). This raises the question as to who is responsible for authoring the current economic chaos, which is reflected through a causal link to diminished economic freedom and property rights anarchism?
A microscopic view of Zimbabwean specimen will reflect the causal link between the annihilation of property rights and the economic decadence. The leadership never ceases to further the path of anarchism buried deep in the economic rights movement, the announcement a months ago by the Ministry of industry and international trade that there have appointed a board for the Zimbabwe Development Corporation (ZDC) tasked with establishing 'peoples shops' and administering companies seized from purported saboteurs of the economy is in its own right a failed policy. It is irrational for government to take up management functions of the economy because it has never been a good entrepreneur since time immemorial, and worse still for a state to manage seized companies its just a euphemism equivalent to a criminal state.
Devious creatures such as ZDC, Constitutional amendment number 17 and other statutes are coercive redistributive mechanisms aimed a transferring wealth to cronies and kleptocrats at the expense of genuine private interests. This has left Zimbabwe an isolated island nation that undermines the rule of law and natural justice; this has been so despite the clear view that Zimbabwe lacks the strategic capacity to exist without the world or as an autarky. The rest of the third world is opening up economies to foreign direct investment (FDI) and harnessing globalisation for the prosperity of their own people and it thus leaves the ball in the court of the masses as to whether we should continue to entrust our destiny and those of generations to come to such a myopic leadership which chats a doomed economic philosophy.
The 29th of March 2008 ushers in a defining moment to the people of Zimbabwe to clearly define a vision for their society, a vision to catch up economically with the rest of the world by creating a conducive atmosphere to the conduct of business. It is up to the people to weigh the visions shown by the presidential aspirants, after all the vision of one of the best two; Tsvangirai or Makoni, I say so because for Mugabe it is virtually impossible to win a ballot, and even if we are to take a random sample in the so called strong holds. Some might find my view difficult to subscribe to or consume, because they will ask does it mean that he will lose? My answer to this golden question is that Mugabe can win the announced results only and not the ballot.
Minus the results announced it is important that the people of Zimbabwe go to the polls in their millions to state their economic vision-a vision for prosperity valuing the rule of law and natural justice after enduring a decade of a harsh legacy of economic freedom and property rights annihilation. It is important that I depart from my property rights discourse to an equally important issue however connected to the rule of law and the March 2008 elections, the statement by Major-general Paradza Zimhondi a prison Chief. Major-general Zimhondi dropped a bomb shell unfortunately magnified and popularised by the anarchist citizen, the Herald of this day the 29th of February, on a Friday that he will resign to pursue farming at possibly his under-utilised farm along Marondera-Harare road should Tsvangirai/Makoni win the 29th of March 2008 ballot. Major Zimhondi as his name suggest is a murderer of the people's vision, instead of acting as a law abiding and professional senior security chief he has taken over the role of militias and other foot soldiers.
His statements reflects the shallowness of his mind not matching the level of responsibility assigned to him, if Zimbabwe was a value driven society Major Zimhondi would have resigned to pursue politics full time as he is showing that he is more political than professional, but the Zimbabwe we are living in is lawless society where one can wake up to undermine rule of law and all the pillars of modern society (i.e. elections), and continue to act on behalf of the people at such a strategic position of a security Chief. Zimhondi should be informed that his statements are not only treasonous but also morally bankrupt; it shows that people of Zimbabwe will never be afforded a chance to chat their own destiny. And as such African leaders are simply like what one South African professor in an allegory satirically equate to a father who purchases a cake for his family only to ambush the delivery van before it delivers the cake to his residence.
To what extent is independence fake in Zimbabwe? Most people I presume would argue that modern day Zimbabwe is in no way better than Rhodesia thus subscribing to the fact that life under Ian Smith was better than under Robert Mugabe. In public places people are talking about the 29th of March being an independence day, it is also my view that minus the announced results skewed in a favour of the incumbent (Mugabe. R), the day will go down in history as the day during which the counted ballot papers were shared between Tsvangirai/Makoni. The value of this election like the SADC initiative is not on the announced results but on the shared vision that the people of Zimbabwe will fall over each other in voting for.
It is thus an important election minus the results announced because it is going to be the first election for the regime which authored the demise of a jewel of Africa to see for itself without any controversy that indeed their offices are empty as their minds are and they truly lack the peoples mandate to govern, and as such the election will be very important in undermining the confidence of the regime further stretching it to the limit in terms of anxiety and as such change will come through 'strategy in action', a euphemism for independent and convergent actions of people constitutive of an entity. The opposition must stop spreading the gospel according to rigging, as this will undermine the morale of the people who are about to make a giant step to societal socio-economic and political rediscovery.
It is this power hungry mind in the opposition which makes them fold their hands only to claim rigging after the elections, vote rigging claims have the same philosophical underpinnings like the African disease of shifting blame to the colonisers. It is up to Tsvangirai/Makoni to choose to go down in memory as the catalyst for the vision of the people of Zimbabwe by launching an offensive campaign that will leave Mugabe with only the chance to rig the announcement of the results. The current moment is a golden opportunity for the opposition in Zimbabwe to make history whether its Tsvangirai/Makoni by rallying people-that no more abuse beyond March 2008 and indeed the actions of the people of Zimbabwe on this day will leave an indelible mark on Zimbabwe's history.
Hillary Kundishora is a scholar of strategic management. He can be contacted on email@example.com and www.zimchaiyo.blogspot.com.