Things are happening in Zimbabwe. And then again they are not happening.

What is happening is politics. Stupendous amounts of energy are being expended on politicking, witch hunting and angling for positions.

What is not happening is seeing even half of that same energy being spent on economic turnaround.

Social media are on fire. There is a veritable festival of name calling and pot-shot taking that keeps those with nothing better to do glued to their computers and mobile devices.

At the same time, the economy is floundering. Yes, there are green shoots of hope. But these are not being nurtured nearly as fervently as egos are being massaged and personalities paraded with all the finery of the emperor’s new robes.

We are a nation of political animals. We eat politics, sleep politics, think politics and die by politics.

According to the inaugural Mining Industry Survey Report by the Chamber of Mines, Zimbabwe’s diamond revenues dropped from US$336 million in 2014 to US$180 million in 2015.

This was on the back of a decline in reported production from 4,77 million carats to 3,36 million over that same period from the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

We are talking of a diamond producing area that in 2012 gave this country 12 million carats of diamonds. We are talking of a region that in 2012 contributed more than US$700 million in diamond revenues.

Overall, Treasury got US$2,189 billion from all mineral activity in 2012 and this came down to US$1,8 billion last year.

But that is not a story. The story is politics. Politicking will ensure that our extractive sector rebounds and Treasury’s purse will burst at the seams.

Why is there no concern that our much vaunted mineral endowment is not contributing to a change in people’s livelihoods?

We are in the grip of a drought. We have sent out an international appeal for more than US$1 billion so that we can make it through to the next summer cropping and harvesting season.

But that is not an issue.

We would rather play politics instead of directing energies to feeding the nation. Hunger is looming, but the devil may care.

The economy is illiquid. There simply isn’t enough money around to even pay salaries with the kind of regularity that instils confidence and allows families to plan their budgets.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe tells us that last year, individuals in this illiquid economy externalised US$684 million as donations, investments and bank account transfers.

For crying out loud, how does an illiquid economy ship out more than half-a-billion American dollars as donations and other things even as we are asking for a billion or so bucks to feed out people?

How does an illiquid economy bleed such a pile of cash when we are crying for investors to come here?

We can’t invest in our economy. But we sure can invest in politics.

Not to be outdone, the Reserve Bank tells us, companies externalised US$1,2 billion in 2015 as export sales proceeds and highly inflated management, technical and performance fees.

That is more than a quarter of the 2016 National Budget. Add what individuals externalised and you get about half of the budget.

But that is not a story. It is not the story. The story is politics.

Zim-Asset has a timeline taking it to 2018.

2018 is the magical year. It is the year in which Zim-Asset will miraculously move mountains, grow the economy, put food on people’s tables, transfer salaries into bank accounts on time, deliver drugs into hospitals and build schools for our children.

All this will happen just before the election of that magical year!

If half the energy being burnt on politicking is redirected to economic transformation, we may just push through Zim-Asset and make 2018 a truly magical year.

If not, well, we must prepare for a fate worse than death.