Zanu-PF must pursue politics of the brain

Zanu-PF must pursue politics of the brain
Published: 16 January 2018 (301 Views)
Steep prices are a source of discomfort to any serving head of State because they can easily lead to civil disturbances as has been witnessed in many African and Latin American countries.

Tunisia, which sparked a revolution across the Arabic countries in what was became known as the Arab Spring, when its restive populace remonstrated against the death of a vendor, forcing the toppling of its leader, is grappling with issues of soaring prices.

The North African country had to deal with ugly protests, resulting hundreds of arrests in a bid to neutralise the civil unrest.

On these shores Zanu-PF has set up a committee led by former Commander  of the Defence Forces  and now Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, to look into the issue of prices.

This has raised fears that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government could be thinking of introducing price controls to deal with the soaring prices but although there is conflation between government and Zanu-PF, so far this doesn't appear to be the route that government would want to take.

Firstly, Mnangagwa has called for a meeting with manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to discuss the issues of prices.

This means government needs to deepen its understanding of the causes of the price madness other than the already known fact that part of it is the acute shortage of foreign currency.

Secondly, this is an election year and Zanu-PF  needs to be seen to be doing something about the prices yet the reality is that it knows introducing price controls would result widespread shortages and empty supermarket shelves. They have walked this road before and they wouldn't want to be back on it again.

Lastly, Mnangagwa has projected himself as a leader who is open to doing business with the rest of the world and so the last thing he would ever want to do is to send a wrong message to investors by being seen to be promoting command economic policies.

Mnangagwa and his colleagues in Zanu-PF are aware that thy can not pursue former president Robert Mugabe's economic policies because that would be akin to committing economic Harakiri, which is Japanese suicide by disembowelling.

Government has a duty to create an environment which eliminates market distortions, profiteering and unjustified high prices.

So far, there is little to suggest that it is keen to do that. Politics of brawn don't work so it needs to pursue politics of the brain.

- dailynews

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