The Business of Failure

The other day, I eavesdropped on a conversation (don’t judge!).

Two dudes at a sadza place debating loudly (for all to hear, one must add, which kinda makes it not eavesdropping). The one guy was into trucking, we gathered, and the other imports those everywhere-you-look green water tanks.

Good for them, I mumbled into my goat meat. No harm making some neat dough out of the mess that is the city council. Well played.

Then I started thinking of Finance Minister Chinamasa at a breakfast meeting I attended, telling businesspeople he was sad we “allowed our railways to go to the dogs”. Now, he said, the roads are crumbling because they’re carrying the loads our railways should be taking.

Got me thinking; If, by some miracle (yeah, I believe in those), we did find some sudden solution to our economic issues, would all of us really want it? I mean, if the NRZ was suddenly back on its tracks, with new locomotives, new railroads, signaling equipment etc, would the cartels running the trucking business want that?

What if, suddenly, someone decided to nick less money off that $144-billion Chinese loan to fix Harare’s water system, such that all these new suburbs and housing estates do actually get council water? Clean water. Would Mr Loudmouth Jojo Water Tank guy over there want that? Is he not praying that things stay as they are? The dude selling bulk water for $50 per 5000 litres? After all, less for us means more for him, right? The worse for us, the better for him.

And what about the lot importing generators by the truckload each day? If Zesa did finally manage to put up a few new power stations, generating enough power to allow the whole nation to, simultaneously, cook mazondo on the stove for the requisite six hours, what happens to generator guy’s business?

Or maybe, as one cadre said, we should stop whining about it and find our own ways of milking this state of affairs.

Good idea. Then, when I have built my Bambazonke Water Tank & Generator conglomerate, maybe I too will stop worrying too much about how things are. I too will start praying things get worse. Why hope for a modern economy which generates enough power, when I can instead ask for money to start up a paraffin stove business? Isn’t that our much vaunted ‘entrepreneurship’? Isn’t this our new normal?

But I’m just wondering.


Twitter: @RangaMberi

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