Let’s steal this brilliant idea!
IHAVE always told Basotho that the only way for us to develop as a nation is to cultivate ideas, translate them into action, and then products that we can export to other countries to earn good money for internal service delivery pursuits.
A basic rule of economics is that for anyone to become wealthy, they must produce a product that is preferably in scarce supply and sell it to those who need it.
Bill Gates developed the first major personal computers software which all of us badly need. He has consistently topped the world’s rich list as a result of his invention.
Countries become rich by producing products and selling them to other countries. So it goes without saying that countries with the best entrepreneurs prosper more than those who have less or hare brained entrepreneurs. In South Korea for instance, a few family-controlled enterprises Samsung, LG (life’s good), Hyundai and daewoo control a huge chunk of that country’s economy. In fact, they represent the very essence of South Korea’s economy. The owners of these corporate behemoths were not helped by their government to invent their wares. They thought for themselves. now their intelligence has benefited their whole country.
If you are reading this article right now, you are likely to be a Samsung user. If you are a man and you are at home you are probably placing or hiding it somewhere just in case your concubine phones and all hell breaks loose with your wife. If you are reading this article now, you are also most probably be a driver of a Volkswagen or a Toyota vehicle.
Germany was once a producer of a very proud vehicle make called the VW Beetle. Followers of history will know how the VW Beetle transformed Germany after the second world war.
Ironically, the VW Beetle was itself an invention of Adolf Hitler who in 1934 gave an ultimatum to Ferdinard Porsche o develop a vehicle that would be deemed to cater for the people. The car would be called Volkswagen, meaning the People’s Car.
even though the VW Beetle has its genesis in Hitler’s largely kaput logic, the vehicle performed fundamentally well after the end of the second world war, selling more than 22 million units, the largest ever haul of any automobile manufacturing company.
The reason why I am saying all this is because – as I have always told you before – real prosperity will only come to this country if we can develop on-demand products that we can sell to other countries.
Africa needs entrepreneurs who can start and run businesses.
For long I have held out hope that one day, I will wake up to news headlines that a Mosotho has developed a car that will be produced in Lesotho and sold to other countries. or has rather invented a new good IT system that will be sold to banks and other cus-
tomers worldwide. That has not happened.
So you can imagine why I am envious. I love my Lesotho and I love you all my people (in the sense of you being all my countrymen). So you can also imagine why I am angry that Zimbabwe has now become the first ever African country to declare that it will soon manufacture a vehicle of its own for export into the rest of the African market. I had always considered that to be Lesotho’s first ever prerogative.
How a country that cannot pay salaries of civil servants nor honour any of its debt obligations now start producing vehicles for export can only boggle the imagination. But that’s how innovative our brothers and sisters from across the Limpopo are determined to go.
As I say, I am jealous that Zimbabweans, people who are known for being billionaires of a worthless currency are now stealing the thunder from us by becoming the first ever African country to produce a purely Zimbabwean or African invented vehicle for export to others.
A press report in Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper said the vehicle, which is peculiarly Zimbabwean, will be produced with the assistance of Italy’s el Badaoui Group. needless to mention that Scrutator has not heard of such a unique Italian firm. Let’s point a hypothetical situation here. As I have already mentioned, the VW Beetle transformed Germany’s economy post war. In some countries like Mexico, the VW Beetle was until recently been the vehicle of choice for taxis. It remains the world’s only vehicle make to have sold the most units after more than 25 million Beetles were sold.
The Zimbabweans have not named their vehicle yet. Rumour has it that it will be called the RGM, an acronym for Robert Gabriel Mugabe. The idea to name the Zimbabwean vehicle RGM is to ensure that it easily rivals the best make on the market, the BMW. Both makes will have a simple three letters as their abbreviations.
Let’s point a further hypothetical situation and imagine that the RGM surpasses the Beetles’ sales of more than 25 million units and sells a third more. That will immediately guarantee Zimbabwe’s prosperity and ensure that Zimbabweans become billionaires in real terms. Zimbabwe will become instantly rich and, assuming that Mugabe is no more, Grace will inevitably also come up for grabs. I must say I hate her as a person with my heart, soul and spirit. But because she is being groomed to take over from her 92-year old husband, one must tread with caution.
There are many hurdles though to Zimbabwe’s dream of producing the first ever African car. Soon after the signing of the MOU with the Italian firm, a sleuth of new problems have begun.
For example, Robert Mugabe has since seized the farm that had been earmarked for development of the factory for the manufacture of the RGM vehicle that bears his name. This notwithstanding that his principal secretary in the ministry of trade had assured the project’s technical partners that all was in place and the land for establishing the factory had been acquired. There is also no electricity nor water to ensure smooth production at the plant due to be established at that factory. Apparently, electricity is only available to most Zimbabwean businesses and households in the evenings. Who surely will still be up during that awkward time?
Luckily for the Italians who want to assist Zimbabwe in inventing its own motor vehicle, they will find a way out. But Scrutator’s question to them remains: What will be that way?
one thing I can tell them for Sure is that if you survive regulatory bottlenecks in Zimbabwe, then you can survive anywhere in the world.
For me however at a personal level, no credible vehicle will be produced in Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe remains in power. It’s a matter of time before the Italians flee.
So why don’t we Basotho seize the moment and produce our own vehicle type and then channel its sales towards uplifting the entire continent? There is certainly scope for journalistic ethics.
I am not sure how we would call the first ever African vehicle to be produced on the continent and respond accordingly. The problem will be of course how to name the child. I would call the child Maaaparankoeeeee. other will say Poipoi Billianard. For me, I did a deal previously to showcase my products. For now let’s just promise that I will be back?
Basotho certainly deserve better. We need quality jobs and employment. That can only happen in a normal good environment.
THE VW Beetle sold more than 22 million units.