Beware of Malema’s juju

2013-10-31 00:00

THE rag-tag unemployed youth who were ululating and dancing on Zanu-PF’s election “victory” are nowhere to be seen. Now all you see are young girls fetching water in the early mornings in urban Harare, some wearing yellow Zanu-PF T-shirts that say “indigenise, empower, employ develop”. What a joke!

At about 10 am, you can see the same youths playing pool or gambling to while away the time. Some recently died from drinking Zed, a lethal cane spirit imported from Mozambique that costs only a dollar. There is erratic power, so bathing is not a priority for them. All this, as Robert Mugabe flew to New York with a plane load of 80 cohorts not only to shop, but to insult the Americans and the British. The new ministers will no doubt be getting their flashy Mercs soon to manoeuvre over Harare’s pot-holed roads.

The masses are a truly sorry lot.

Listening to Julius Malema’s campaign sent chills down my spine and I sincerely hope that I am not alone. The habit of creating exaggerated anticipation among the poor masses during electioneering continues to work. Here in Zimbabwe, those rural folk who were allocated peri-urban land before the elections are now being evicted. They have delivered the vote.

Progressive black South Africans must be very worried. The masses are ignorant and have no inkling of what it takes to run a successful economy. All they want is better salaries, better houses, social grants and jobs today, but these come through intelligent economic management, and not through the outright repossession of land and companies by politicians and their cronies.

Ownership alone has been overplayed in Zimbabwe. Some of our chiefs and their cronies own multiple farms and yet we can’t feed ourselves. An estimated two million people face starvation in Zimbabwe this year. Most state enterprises are sitting idle or are being run into the ground as those politically appointed to run them earn obscene salaries and perks.

As Malema demands economic freedom through the repossession of assets, South Africans who want a future must fight this buffoonery with all they have. The fight is not on Twitter or Facebook, but must be on the ground in the townships and rural areas. The poor masses will sell themselves short as they always do, so they must be educated and informed of what Malema is falsely promising them. Here in Zimbabwe, air-time vouchers, goats and exaggerated promises of jobs and indigenisation at political rallies are nowhere to be seen, and the masses have returned to their poverty.

The black middle class poses a serious danger through its lack of participation in politics. Most just wait for voting day and yet, if Africa is to develop, we must all be activists every day. We must educate the masses on how, year after year, they deliver their vote to political parties that cannot deliver to them.

Malema will not deliver economic freedom through his rantings at rallies simply because he seeks to use the same methods that decimated the economy in Zimbabwe. There is no depth to what he is promising and I question his appreciation of economics.

Politicians in Africa have failed to deliver sustainable development mainly because they focus on self-interest and taking what others have sweated for under the guise of economic justice. That will not create new jobs or the economic prosperity they continue to promise.

I urge all progressive black middle-class South Africans to fight these lies; the lie that taking over assets owned by whites creates wealth; the lie that we are entitled to reap where we have not sown. This does not work; it actually destroys wealth and investments, as we have seen in Zimbabwe. Nothing can replace hard work and patience.

The emerging picture in South Africa is worrying to progressive Africans who know that Africa will never develop by taking from others, but by building new economies while educating the masses so that they can make better decisions.

We must all work to reject that narrative that we are victims and someone out there owes us. We must reject being continually duped by politicians who continue to reframe how imperialism is our enemy. Yes, it may be, but our number-one enemies are blacks who are hiding under empowering of the masses and yet all they do is accumulate personal wealth. Our enemies are those who take advantage of the masses and make promises they can’t meet. Malema is doing just that and must be stopped. — Politicsweb.

• Vince Musewe is an economist in Harare.

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