Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hot Seat: Analysts say engagement not mass action

Transcript of 'Hot Seat' programme in which SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda talks with Professors Brian Raftopoulos, Jonathan Moyo and Economist John Robertson.

Broadcast on 13th June 2006

Violet: Zimbabwe is a country in crisis and many have asked what needs to be done internationally by all democratic forces and what role the regional and international community can play – now, and in the post Mugabe period. To help discuss various ideas I've invited three people who have at one time or another advised some of the key players in Zimbabwean politics. They are political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos who once acted as an advisor for Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, independent MP Jonathan Moyo, who was widely described as an advisor and strategist for Robert Mugabe and well known economist John Robertson. Welcome to the programme gentlemen. Now we will start with a common question, ah, well, there is no question, but there is a serious political crisis in Zimbabwe and that the economy has collapsed with inflation officially at 1 193.5 % but generally it's understood to be much higher than that. Now obviously something must be done about Zimbabwe but what are the suggestions? Let's start with Professor Moyo.

Jonathan Moyo: Well, the suggestions - I don't think that the way our country is and how things are going invites suggestions, clearly what is needed is action. The first action, of course people would reasonably expect, that it must come from government - what government should do. And, the problem we have at the moment is that the government seems to be in a policy paralysis and it does not have a response. Although, I must say, the recent developments suggest that there is some international engagement which might lead to some resolution of this crisis because of the consequences of this economic meltdown. All this discussion around a possible initiative led by Kofi Annan suggests that the government now wants a way out and the question is, what it would be? There are a number of scenarios we can talk about in the course of the discussion.

Violet: Ok, we'll talk about that later, but I would like to know the views of John Robertson and Professor Raftopoulos about what they think needs to be done. John Robertson?

John Robertson: I believe that the government today is completely out of its depth and doesn't have the resources any longer to deal with these crises. Unfortunately it has constantly sought economic answers to what are basically political problems. I feel that strenuous efforts must now be made to devise political policies that are there to fix the political problems. We've seen a massive decline in the level of production, a total absence of new investment into the country, a massive flight of skills from Zimbabwe and the country now has no credit rating internationally. And, although we might have raised a bit of money to pay for fuel by pledging exports of certain minerals, we have come nowhere near solving any of these problems because the political hang-ups still keep the people who could help the country at arms length. So, I think that the answer has to lie in the political arena, not in the economic one. (more...)

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