Monday, 25 May 2015

Africa's chronic case of Aid addiction

By Bernard Bwoni

In the case of Africa, aid is like the dreaded gonorrhoea, it seems to stick with most countries for life. African governments however cannot continue to rely on aid forever surely because something is going to give or to put it bluntly, something might already have given in. President Jakaya Kikwete was recently quoted as saying ‘Western donors were setting degrading conditions for aid’ and that his government could be forced to tell them to ‘keep their aid’. This comes following delays in donor payments over concerns from Western donors about ‘corruption, poor governance, slow pace of reforms’ and a host of other conditions often reserved for African governments. The worrying thing is that the withheld $500 million in budget support for Tanzania has a knock on effect on government budget and government capacity to provide public goods for the people of Tanzania. Malawi has had her aid suspended on several occasions ‘for failure to address concerns over economic management,  governance and allegations of corruption’. The suspension of aid to a country like Malawi where nearly 40% of its budget comes from donors has damaging effects on public services.
This is the same story on the African continent with nearly all governments heavily reliant on international donor funding to provide services such as healthcare provision, education, sanitation, education, infrastructure and so on. President Kikwete is right in saying that his government would start working on ‘weaning itself from this dependence on aid’ to fund services for the people. The reality is that anywhere else in the world it is a function of government to provide these services through taxation and other public funding mechanisms. Public services and goods should not be funded by charity for it is governments that pay for such.

It is said that African governments receive roughly over $50 billion of international aid assistance annually. This is not free money by the way because yearly the same recipient African governments have to pay back in the region of $20 billion in debt repayments per year. It is a vicious cycle in that paying back $20 billion will inevitably mean they will have to borrow again to be able to pay for these public goods. When Mr Kikwete says his government will ‘wean itself from this dependence in the 2016 budget’ what he is basically stating is that his government will in future not abandon the basic mandated function of government to provide public services. What Mr Kikwete is bringing to the fore is courageous and commendable but then it comes with a heavy price tag. This will mean people will have to go through a dark period to eventually emerge at the light end of the shaft. In the case of Tanzania if $500 million is going towards government budget, if then this amount is removed, how else is the government going to fund such essential services to the public? The key is for African governments to take the ultimate responsibility for funding public services or public goods and this can be achieved through self-sustaining growth models.

The lectures continue to come thick and fast on how African governments should grow their economies. It is now nearly over 50 years since most African countries gained their independence but their economic growth remains mostly stagnant if not negative and poverty remains rife. The question to pose is, how do you expect positive economic growth when you do not own the means of production? The reality is that Aid is not a catalyst for economic development but rather fosters dependence. There is enough available literature, evidence and case studies  to that effect. As Mr Kikwete lamented, the aid freeze has now led to the domestic currency weakening significantly. Aid in most African countries and other developing countries is often associated with rising exchange rates which undermines export competitiveness and thus a negative effect on economic growth. It is expecting too much for economies that dependent on aid and imports to post any real growth. Aid greatly contributes to low productivity in this sense because it inevitably depresses exports. According to a 2005 IMF Report ‘Aid will not lift growth in Africa’, it highlighted a fundamental point that productivity growth is the most important determinant of living standards.

There are many types of aid namely food aid, technical assistance, project aid, programme aid, budgetary support aid, aid that is given in the form of loans or grants. There is aid that is given to promote growth and there is humanitarian aid. Those around the world who provide humanitarian assistance should be commended for there are cases when it is urgent and required for example in disaster zones, war torn regions of this world, natural disasters such as the recent Nepal earthquake, flood victims, the tsunami in Asia, famine in drought prone regions and many other humanitarian requirements which local governments are not able to cope on their own. As human beings we are compassionate beings, we have a conscience and empathy and many who give selflessly to those in need.

There are of course arguments to the discourse that food aid can have a negative impact on farming in the recipient country in that farmers may become over reliant on food aid, food aid can drastically reduce the price of locally produced products to that point that it becomes less viable to farm. Some have even argued that food aid is a way of some governments in the developed world to dispose of their excess agricultural produce. The counter argument is should the developed world governments let famine persist and allow people perish? That would be inhuman and the world is made up of many good people with noble motives. The other counter argument is that by continuing to aid the same governments, this means that they may never take responsibility. They will just continue to be happy to have the electorate fed and people who are not hungry often do not take their governments to account. How then do you create  balance? That of course is the $50 billion question. With aid being used to fund government budgets then why would any government seriously work towards a self-sustaining economy? There is nothing as easy and free as free money. The problem comes when you are entangled in the web of ‘degrading’ conditions and the vicious cycle of having to repay the money. There is also the other argument that with free money the propensity for corruption is high and there could some truth to that.

It is not rocket, the reality is that by its very subtle nature,  the aid culture especially in Africa has not brought about economic growth but rather further sunk most governments into a vicious cycle of debt and  unsustainable debt repayment terms. As Mr Kikwete highlighted that without that $500 million, Tanzania would be more vulnerable to rising exchange rates, inflation, reduced export capacity and low productivity. Foreign direct investment remains scarce as African governments are accused of poor governance, corruption and slow progress in reforms. These accusations against African governments makes investors especially those from the west view the countries as risky investment destinations. The key is for African governments to get their priorities in order and start looking at empowering citizens to own the means of production, to own their God-given abundant natural resources and prioritise productivity. Indigenisation and economic empowerment are home grown initiatives that have the best hope of lifting the continent out of this mire and mud. It is economically empowered citizens who will eventually create jobs and jobs will eventually lead to a bigger middle class that pays taxes to fund public services.

It is the government-to-government aid and aid from large institutions like the World Bank and IMF which continue to sink African countries into economic abyss. The case of Tanzania as highlighted by Mr Kikwete is clear evidence that the free flow of aid money fosters dependence rather than aid growth.  That is the reason why Kikwete is talking about weaning his country off aid dependency. If governments continue to receive billions in aid year in, year out it basically makes them complacent and there is no need whatsoever to work toward home grown initiatives to grow the economy. Dambisa Moyo in her book ‘Dead Aid’ makes a very compelling argument that ‘Aid allows African governments to abdicate their responsibility to provide public goods’ and contributes to the dysfunctionality of Africa. The ‘degrading’ conditions that Mr Kikwete was lamenting will persist for he who blows the piper dictates the tune. At the end of the day it is their money and it is important to play by the rules of the game or just do not accept it.

Monday, 18 May 2015

The undefined political spaces in Zimbabwe

By Bernard Bwoni

The political spectrum in Zimbabwe has blurry definitions, hence a state of what seems to be uncertainty, intraparty and interparty variations of views. A look at the two main political parties in Zimbabwe reveals a ruling party, which appears to lean towards the right and the opposition more towards the left and centre-left. The ruling party upholds what clearly appear to be conservative right-wing values and similarly the main opposition is the opposite. There are a lot of movements occurring at the centre from both parties and hence the switching and the waiting games. Any political party is made up of millions of members and has thousands in its leadership ranks. The party vision is an expression of the sum of all its component parts. Each and every member has a vision; many visions and their visions may run in the opposition direction of the party. The key though is that when members join the party, they then automatically subscribe to the collective vision of that party. Individual visions may be considered but they do not replace the collective vision. There is no exception to the rule; there can never be exceptions, for that is when weaknesses are bestowed upon the party. The decision by the ruling party to back the winning candidate Terence Mukupe in Harare East brings about clarity and consistency. This is about collective vision, the collective strength of the polity and a true reflection of the voters’ preferences.

Ideology plays an important part in any party and that party’s positioning on the country’s political spectrum. Electoral competition is often based on an ideology that appeals to those voters who float at the centre of the spectrum. The centre of the political spectrum in Zimbabwe is that space that falls between Zanu-pf and the MDC. The question is, is there such a space? Which party represent that space? The ruling party puts its main thrust as valuing tradition, equitable distribution of the national cake, economic freedom and though unsaid, the principle of survival of the fittest. Worldwide right-wing politics uphold the belief that business should not be regulated and that people should look after themselves. Zanu-PF’s main ideological thrust is economic freedom to enable people to succeed, to be the owners of the means of production and be able to look after themselves as opposed to being permanently dependent. The right-wing view is, if you have more money, then you should keep it and buy better services for yourself, the belief is that business should not be regulated and that the more money the business earn, then the more benefits to the country as a whole. The ruling party’s manifesto from the 2013 election was clear on ‘taking back the economy, indigenisation, empowerment, development and creation of employment, all clear and core right-wing movement.

The essence of Zanu-PF’s ideology is a clear right wing value to ‘economically empower the indigenous people of Zimbabwe by enabling them to fully own their country’s God-given natural resources and the means of production to unlock or create value from those resources’. The key words to note in this ideological statement are ‘enabling’ and ‘unlocking’. Indigenisation and empowerment are meant to enable and unlock that potential to learn, to earn and create employment. Zanu-PF speaks in terms of ‘collective national aspirations’ and one of the fundamental right-wing values is the belief in the freedom to succeed rather than equality for its own sake. The ruling party upholds traditional values and condemns such practices as homosexuality and upholds the death penalty. The opposition’s main message is about jobs and food on the table and the ruling party has always questioned how they are going to create jobs without empowering people to start businesses, which in turn will create more jobs. Left wing politics puts emphasis on regulating big business so as to save the interests of the majority and that is a commendable value. One could argue that the ruling party’s land reform is regulation but then the counter argument would be that correcting a historical wrong is not regulation but rather a requirement and necessity. Right wing politics is often associated with elitism or the privileged label and when you look at politics in Zimbabwe you can see some traits of that in both the left and right spectrums. Politics should not be about earning money, but looking at in Zimbabwe it is those in politics who thrive more hence why the political posts in the country are over-subscribed. It is does not make it right at all, but it is what it is.

The ruling party’s manifesto and party constitution portrays right wings beliefs that seek to promote a brand of assertive nationalism, a distinctive Zimbabwean culture and the need to reassure the people of their traditions and beliefs without sounding too authoritarian or too prescriptive. A common outcry from the left wing opposition in Zimbabwe is their belief that the rich should not be rich whilst others are poor and that incomes from the rich should be redistributed so that others are well off as well. The right wing ruling argues that people should be empowered to start businesses, to own businesses and the business owner should enjoy the fruits of their hard work. If one looks at the developed economies of today, their capitalist systems were developed on the back of the theory of survival of the fittest, on right wing value systems. Alexander Hamilton in the USA was clear on the need for government protection and promotion of domestic industry against competition.

The centre of the political spectrum in Zimbabwe is uncertain, unstable and woolly to have a permanent space. The balancing act of rewarding those who do well and creating a fair and equal society is what makes the centre way too unpredictable. The right or left political spaces have more of a chance to turn Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes than the muddled centre of those who claim to be ‘moderates’. It is the moderates who preside over the centre who have caused more damage to both sides of the political spectrum. These are individuals who hold no clear values or ideology and they jump from left to right. These are the same individuals who go wherever the wind blows. The moderates in a right wing movement like Zanu-pf have a more of a strong ideological affinity to the left because a ‘centre’ space does not exactly exist in Zimbabwean politics and the centre itself is not exactly a coherent ideological space. The ruling party is under threat owing to such individuals who believe that they have a vision far greater than the vision of the party itself. The fact of the matter is that everyone has a vision but the core of any polity is defined by the central idea as agreed by the whole polity. Everything else is just a weakness. The ruling Zanu-PF as enshrined in its manifesto and party constitution is the central vision and there can never be any deviation from that without the go ahead from the polity. Call me anti-centre, but this crafty preoccupation with the centre by the so-called moderates is nothing but a weakness and is weakening for the party.

Agreed that both parties in Zimbabwe sometimes move to the centre especially during election years and just like anywhere else in the world, this is often driven by fundamental motivation of politicians to attain power. The demarcation of the left and right in Zimbabwe is based on ideology and voter preferences and it is social justice and economic efficiency, which formulates the broad parameters of the centre politics. The electorate will go with the candidate who will bring them more benefit. The primary motivation of politicians is to attain power and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when the primary motivation becomes solely to attain proceeds, prestige and power, which comes with being in power. Now this is where both the main political parties in Zimbabwe need to clearly define their spaces on the spectrum. It is the lack of clarity of party positioning which often leads rational men and women to make systematic errors in politics. The electorate needs to be provided with the right information to enable them to make rational choices. Those who make irrational choices do so because they were provided with the wrong information or partly because someone who stands to gain ‘from being in power’ encourages them to make these irrational choices.

People vote for a particular party if they consider that its policies or ideology has potential to bring the greatest gains. The electorate is a rational being and would vote for a party they consider would bring them the greatest benefit. The electorate desires uninterrupted streams of benefits from government action, voters want roads constructed, potholes repaired, street lights working, they want to feel safe, they want constant and clean water supplies, uninterrupted power supplies, rubbish collected timely, clean streets and so on. From an electorate point of view the centre is a comfortable zone and gives them options. However from a party point of view, it is important to make it clear to the electorate where you stand because anything else is as good as deceit. The centre moves from left to right depending on the consistency of the politicians from both spectrums.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Implications of the UK Conservative victory for Zimbabwe

By Bernard Bwoni

The Conservatives party victory in the UK is not going to bring truckloads of cash and investment to Zimbabwe or Africa as a whole. That is a fact and things are pretty much going to remain the same as they have been over the past 5 years. Since taking over from Labour the Conservatives under David Cameron have however offered Zimbabwe and the ruling party sovereign space and a much more deserving level of respect compared to Tony Blair and his Labour entourage. If we are going to be honest, David Cameron has never uttered a disrespectful or demeaning word against Zimbabwe or President Mugabe and that is in stark contrast to Tony Blair. There may have been a few wayward remarks from the likes of Boris Johnson but that is expected of the London Mayor, but then it is imperative to take his ‘last vestiges of white power’ statement seriously. The ruling party in Zimbabwe and the Conservatives share the same traditional principles in their own different contexts, and they have had a long history of civil engagement from the time of the liberation struggle. It is against this background that Zimbabwe would rather the Conservatives than Labour. Of course the local opposition would have preferred a Labour government, which is understandable for they were in power during their founding and funding.

The ruling ZANU-PF party and the people of Zimbabwe have enjoyed cordial relations with the British people especially so under the Conservatives. Zimbabwe attained her independence when the Conservatives were in power and the Lancaster House negotiations were concluded under a Conservative government. It was Tony Blair and the Labour government who came and undid all the hard work to the disadvantage and detriment of Zimbabwe. It was the British Labour government’s betrayal of the Lancaster House agreement that precipitated the fast track land reform in Zimbabwe. It was under a Labour government that the regime change outfit masquerading as  opposition was founded and funded with former white farmers in the background. It was the British government under Labour that imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and ever since the Conservatives took over from that Tony Blair, the re-engagement with the Zimbabwe government has been building momentum and the sanctions have in fact been eased to the point of being completely removed. It was only in October 2014 that saw the refreshing entrance by the new British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms. Catriona Laing. In her first statement she was forthright, respectful and that proved a refreshing and positive sign of thawing relationships and a step towards mutually respectful engagement synonymous with the Conservatives and celebration of genuine reopening of top-level ties between the two countries. Ambassador Laing was optimistic and shared the government of Zimbabwe’s vision about the robustness of the Zim-Asset economic blueprint and had this to say ''We want to build on the very good Zim-Asset economic blueprint that has been developed,” she said. “We are encouraging our investors to come here, there are many companies in the UK wanting to come to Zimbabwe''. President Mugabe has always made it clear that he would rather deal with the Conservatives as he said in one interview “We have always related better with the British through the Conservatives than Labour," and described the Tories as ‘bold’ and people who ‘know how to relate to others’. The President was absolutely right about the Conservatives and their recent victory will mean less interference and more respectful dialogue.

Basically there are two political philosophies in this world, you either know what is best for you or someone else knows what is best for you. The ruling ZANU-PF party knows that it is the electorate who knows what is best for them and hence the people-orientated policies which resonate with the majority of people in the country. The recent Afrobarometer survey findings are in keeping with the mandate President Mugabe was granted by the people on July 31st, in 2013. The opposition in Zimbabwe believe that Tsvangirai knows what is best for the people of Zimbabwe hence his ‘leeching tendencies’ having lost every election since the formation of the MDC-T.

Since the inception of the MDC-T, the T in the MDC has been present and lost every single election to the ruling ZANU-PF under President Mugabe. The difference between President Mugabe and Tsvangirai is that the former can legitimately claim wiser political stewardship and his party leadership as a victor in democratic elections (he has the people's mandate to govern), whilst the latter cannot honestly justify his parasitic stranglehold having been, to put it bluntly, a perennial election underachiever. As his party claims democratic principles, he possibly should take a cue from his British Labour movement leader Ed Miliband, who immediately resigned following a crushing defeat at the hands of the Conservatives. We all know it and his party knows it, Tsvangirai has nothing to offer the electorate, he is just a figure who finds solace and comfort within the opposition ranks. This I say with all due respect to Tsvangirai, but fact of the matter the man has always been on the losing end since 2000 and his party is in disarray with splinter group after splinter group.

The fact of the matter is that it is highly likely that the Conservatives are not going to fund any Tony Blair-Labour founded opposition parties in Zimbabwe as the MDCs have come to realize in the last five years of the Tory-Lib-Dem coalition. It is not by accident that opposition funding dried up from the formation of that coalition onwards and fact of the matter is that this is going to continue. There is absolutely no way David Cameron is going to shoulder Tony Blair’s irresponsibility and political indiscretions. Now this is David Cameron and he has offered Zimbabwe nothing short of respect. Having said that I would agree with Professor Ian Scoones’ recent analysis that warned ZANU-PF to thread carefully with the Conservatives should the likes of Boris Johnston become Tory leader. In his column in the Telegraph on the 23rd February 2015 this is what Boris Johnston had to say “Readers will remember the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, by which Margaret Thatcher granted independence to Rhodesia. At that time the country was a breadbasket, a flourishing agricultural producer, with about 6,000 commercial farmers. The only trouble with those farmers was that the most successful of them were white – and Mugabe’s long reign has been characterised by one overwhelming objective: to exterminate the last vestiges of white power, whether political or economic”. The last sentence by Boris Johnston, “to exterminate the last vestiges of white power” is a telling and worrying statement indeed and to be taken seriously. Rhodesia had a very strong historical and birthright identification with Britain and with the likes of Boris Johnston still talking about the ‘last vestiges of white power’ then the ruling ZANU-PF has to continue as before and never let the guard down.

The ruling party in Zimbabwe has remained unfazed and steadfast in its quest to empower and economically emancipate the people of Zimbabwe. That is the determination that has over the last 14 years seen economic sanctions imposed, tightened and relaxed and then continued again. The Labour government under Tony Blair imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. The Conservatives took over from Labour in 2010 and although relations with Britain have continued to thaw, the Conservatives have not really pressed the EU to completely remove the sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is an intriguing five years ahead for Zimbabwe and Africa, and may the respectful Conservative spirit prevail.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Zimbabwe media and the many MDC-T 'demands'

By Bernard Bwoni

It is now become a cliché in Zimbabwe for the opposition to ‘demand’ the resignation of President Mugabe at every opportunity the media give them a little bit of space. The moment the President sighs, speaks, walk down a flight of stairs or combs his hair the local opposition always predictably spring into action ‘demanding’ his retirement. The demands continue to take many interestingly weird twists and turns. Zimbabwe unfortunately is burdened with a dysfunctional, disappointing and desperate opposition which clearly lacks a shadow strategy and hence their ‘desperate demands’ for the President to relinquish his elected post, not through the normal channels which all democracy self-proclaimed champions should know fully well is via the ballot box. If the opposition indeed spend as much time on formulating a robust shadow strategy as they do on ‘demanding’ the resignation of President Mugabe then surely this country would certainly be on the sure path towards economic recovery. One would be mistaken into thinking the MDC-T has a specific ‘Demand Department’ whose sole purpose is to monitor President Mugabe’s manner of speech or any action he may naturally take so as to formulate their increasingly predictable demands to accelerate their passage into the corridors of State house. Tsvangirai has clearly said that he wants to escalate the economic crisis to ‘force President Mugabe out of power’ and further expedite his own self-serving quest to land the Presidency. There is no attempt whatsoever from the local opposition to come up with any sustainable alternative solutions to the country’s economic problems expect to make some doomed demands which are purely negative and not good for the country. It is a case of pessimistic preoccupations overwhelming progressive priorities.

Earlier in the week a handful of MDC-T supporters led by their leaders attempted to disrupt the ongoing Summit in Harare and they claimed that their "demand" was for President Mugabe to resign. A "demand" which surely defies all known logic and clear as mud for it seems they were "demanding" was for SADC to force President Mugabe's hand into resigning three years away from the 2018 elections. SADC and AU monitored Zimbabwe's 2013 elections and declared them as free, fair and credible and it boggles the mind how the opposition came to the conclusion that suddenly SADC would turn around and tell President Mugabe to resign in response to these "demands". Instead of wasting valuable time on "demanding" what clearly is impossible surely the opposition should be focusing on coming up with a robust and believable shadow strategy. But then this is too much to expect from them.

In the same week, the local opposition and their opposition media sources went into overdrive with yet more ‘demands’ for President Mugabe to resign after twisting his statement about Kalangas who have migrated to South Africa for work. When it comes to the President everything he says or does is always and often taken out of context to create the desired effect. Many local opposition media sources have gone into overdrive, charging the President and trying to stir things up and set a totally different context to the actual content and meaning of the President's words. The President was clearly talking about past references and his exact wording was ‘they were’ (vaizikanwa) and not ‘they are’ as local media and other spurious online sources are falsely claiming. He clearly said that they 'were' and not they 'are' and there is a fundamental difference between those two statements. The President said that the Kalangas used to regularly travel to South Africa due to their close proximity to that country and many ended up working on farms and other lowly paying jobs because of insufficient educational qualifications. He clearly said that some of those uneducated ended up getting involved in criminal activities and hence the reference to ‘crooks’. At no point did the President say the Kalanga community was full of ‘uneducated criminals’ as many are saying but his reference was clearly about a specific group of people who migrated to South Africa with no qualifications, ended up working menial jobs and some ended up committing criminal offences.

President Mugabe’s name is synonymous with unity, nation building, empowerment and he is  true father of Zimbabwe who knows and respect all Zimbabweans irrespective of region of origin. His reference which many have gone on to dissect, operate on and perform unethical reconstructive media surgery to suit their own specific agendas, was about the past reference to a minority section and not the whole Kalanga community. The President is very much aware that Zimbabweans are educated because it was his and the ruling party’s policies which made this education possible.

Then came an issue as fraudulently claimed by the opposition local press and some like-minded online blogs of the ‘supposed clash’ between President Mugabe and Khama of Botswana over xenophobia attacks in South Africa. It was a case of some uncorroborated "exclusive reports" by some ‘inside sources’ of what Khama is supposed to have said in a 'closed session' and there is no mention of what President Mugabe is supposed to have said for Khama to "clash with him". Some online readers and commentators went on to furnish these spurious claims of the clash as actual facts. There is however a fundamental difference between what you want to have been said and what was said. All we get from the online blogs and other opposition media sources is speculation being tabled as facts. President Mugabe is seasoned politician who articulately puts his views across openly and honestly and if anyone clashes with those views then that is another matter altogether. Again the opposition cried wolf and you guessed it, ‘demanded’ that President Mugabe leave office.

The debate that has been raging following on from the xenophobic murders in South Africa was about the ‘root causes’ and the question that was posed by Zuma about introspection into why people from Africa were in South Africa. The local opposition in Zimbabwe of course had to find a way into the limelight by yes you guessed it again, demanding for the resignation of President Mugabe for his role in world migration. People have migrated and moved around the world since time immemorial and for anyone to blame President Mugabe for their nomadic ways is nothing short of comical and preposterous. People are all over the world for various reasons and Zimbabweans are no exception and Zuma’s request for introspection is fatuous. Zimbabwe has welcomed migrants as long back as the Rozvi Empire and many have also left the country willingly. Many are where ever they are legally or illegally out of choice and that has absolutely nothing to do with President Mugabe. There are plenty South Africans in the UK and USA and same can be said of Khama's own people. There are many Zimbabweans in the UK and USA and all came here freely and settled on their own accord. No African should be a foreigner on any corner of the African continent and all Africans should feel at home in any part of the continent as the intricacies of the cradle of mankind should be embraced rather than frowned upon.

Many went to UK, USA, SA and Botswana whatever means they used is their own choice. Let us be clear on the meaning of the word choice for many would say that they left Zimbabwe because they had no 'choice' and that is just not true. Everybody had a choice to either leave or stay. Some chose to leave and others chose to stay. Nobody was chased away from Zimbabwe and that is exactly my point and those who blame the President for their own wish to leave the country and try different things are being devious and dishonest. There are many Zimbabweans who decided not to leave the country and they are carrying on with their lives in Zimbabwe. Many chose to stay are doing better things than the majority who diced with the diaspora. Nobody is saying that things are easy but life goes on in Zimbabwe. Whatever each individual’s circumstances are, the choice is often theirs to make unless of course if they are children. It is easy to try and abdicate the consequences of the choices we make to try and blame it all on President Mugabe. In Zimbabwe there is peace, there is land to farm, there are opportunities if you exert yourself, and most importantly there is peace. Most if not all of us have a choice to either stay in our peaceful land called Zimbabwe or move to other parts of the world to face the unknown. President Mugabe and the ruling party’s land reform and economic empowerment policies are key drivers for passage towards genuine prosperity and a fissure in the path of the regime change machinations fronted by the local opposition. However these policies were like an avalanche, impossible to miss and difficult to bring to standstill.