Johannesburg – The power to change the Zimbabwean economy or politics lies within the power of Zimbabweans, former Finance Minister Simba Makoni has said.
Makoni who has been on a tour of South Africa to talk about his political party among Zimbabweans resident here, said at a meeting at the weekend: “We believe this challenge of changing our condition rest on our shoulders.”
He called on Zimbabweans to start investing at home and bring back the culture of working which is no longer valued by Zimbabweans.
Makoni said: “If our people are not investing how do you expect foreigners to come?”, adding “change will not come for itself.
He said Zimbabweans needed to believe in its own people first and give them genuine economic empowerment.
He said a survey he did on the top 25 companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange showed that shareholders, directors, employees and products were Zimbabwean.
But he said the present government readers did not seem to believe in these people. They were dismissed as fronts, meaning Zimbabwe did not believe in its own people.
He said such an attitude was destroying the economy and killing local initiative with most Zimbabweans having a mentality that anything imported is superior.
Zimbabwe is importing more than it was exporting which means the spirit of entrenuership was very small compared to the past when almost 90 percent of goods in Zimbabwe shops were Zimbabwean products.
“We are calling for a commitment to the culture of work,” said Makoni. ”
He said Zimbabweans should stop the habit of settling for the sub-standard or expecting the abnormal to be normal.
“We have the right to electricity every day but when we get it for a couple of hours we celebrate. People thank the municipality for having water for a few hours a day. Our level of expectation has been severely reduced and we have come to accept it as normal,” he said.
Makoni, a former secretary general of the Southern African Development (SADC), quit the former ruling Zanu (PF) party a few weeks before the 2008 election, to challenge President Robert Mugabe.
He got eight percent of the vote.
Makoni, who is leader of the Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MDK) political party, said he will participate in this year’s election whose date is yet to be fixed.
Makoni said he is not intimidated by the smallness of his party, saying his party has a long range view.
He said he was sorry that he did not build on the 2008 election momentum because soon after the elections he was involved in the business of launching MDK as a full fledged party.
“We lost momentum there. People are asking: Where are you? But I tell them we have been working quietly. If change does not come we will not resign. We aim to build a party based on servanthood, honesty and integrity,” he said.
He believed he was voted for by youths between the ages 18 and 35 years in 2008. He said the electoral register showed that 20 percent of the electoral had registered in February soon after he had announced his intention to stand the 2008 Presidential election. These had shown to be between 18 to 35 years.
” I believe these young people shared our beliefs,” said Makoni.