Zimbabwe: Getting back to basics – Eddie Cross

via Zimbabwe: Getting back to basics 18/05/2014 by Eddie Cross in NewZimbabwe

LAST week we looked at the need to deal with the demons of our past and the issues of Citizenship. This week we move onto the fundamental foundations for a modern, developing State. What does an investor want to see before committing resources and making an investment in enterprise of any nature?

The first issue is security; nobody is going to invest time and money in an environment where security is not guaranteed. Security of assets, security of person and staff; this does not mean the simple absence of any threat of violence. It means legal security and a guarantee that no one is going to have the right to interfere with control and management of assets in any form.

In Zimbabwe we have violated every aspect of this essential prerequisite – we have physically forced investors off their land or premises, we have used extra-legal means to strip investors of assets and rights, we have taken money from bank accounts without the knowledge or approval of the people who owned the funds in those accounts.

Our indigenisation initiative, no matter how it is dressed up to make it more acceptable, still says that the State has the right to take over control of your investment at any time and without compensation. The farm invasions have deprived nearly 6000 individuals and companies of their assets and the means to make a living – destroying in the process at least half the value of land and fixed assets in the country.

In addition, when the media is able to show pictures of gangs of thugs threatening physical violence against individuals and staff who resist eviction, even photos of thugs burning down buildings and the police simply standing by and watching, it sends a clear message to everyone, we are not a safe destination for investment.

Those who appeal for help from the authorities – even seeking support for the enforcement of Court orders or Judgments, simply face a blank wall of “we can do nothing, it’s political”. When the Reserve Bank, using its pre-emptive right to buy gold at a market price, does so and then does not pay the producers or delays payment until inflation has destroyed its value, do we need to explain to anyone why investors will not invest in mining activity where they have no control over the sale of the final product.

Then there is the enforcement and respect for contracts of all kinds. A Mining Claim registered with the Ministry of Mines, is a contract. The purchase of a piece of land or a building under freehold title is a contract. The signatures on a guarantee or a bank facility, is a contract and under a system of law, backed by the Constitution, no one should be free to violate such contracts without State protection and enforcement. You try and enforce such contracts where the other party is politically linked in Zimbabwe and soon you will find out that there is no protection or enforcement of contractual rights in Zimbabwe.I can recall one incident where a friend of mine was being forced off his farming business in the lowveld. I heard about the pressure he was under and went to see him. I found him virtually barricaded in his home with all sorts of people stripping the farm of its products and assets. I went down to the citrus orchards where an export crop was waiting to be picked and packed for sale in Europe. The people stripping the farm had a 30 tonne vehicle in the orchard and they were loading it with citrus. I remonstrated with them and they laughed at me. I found a Policeman at the gate and said to him that this was theft. He had a weapon and a clip board; he simply turned away from me without comment. Five days later, my friend shot his dogs and left with a suitcase of clothes. He died destitute in Harare some years later. 

The rule of law and equality before the law is fundamental to the creation of an environment where we can attract and exploit investment on a large scale. Until this is restored and respected in Zimbabwe, we are going nowhere.

The next most fundamental aspect must be infrastructure. Not all investments are self-supporting in all aspects – huge mining investments that bring with them the transport and power investments to support the core business are rare. In Zimbabwe we have a basically sound infrastructure, but we have not maintained or invested in this infrastructure.

As a result our railways operate at 10 per cent of their capacity and make a loss and are no longer able to maintain their operations. Our national airline is a joke, despite many years of sound operations and service. Investors are lucky to receive 60 per cent of the power they need – let alone water and a reliable communications network.

Until these issues are addressed, investors will be reluctant to come to Zimbabwe or even to put their own local resources to work in new or expanded operations. In Mozambique we have the spectre of two of the World’s largest companies investing in the huge coal mines in the Tete District – now discovering that they have to make investments in new railway lines and Port capacity to get their products to markets.

In Zimbabwe we need massive investment in our infrastructure – the Railways talk about $2 billion, but who would invest in a Company with their balance sheet and record? You could say the same with Air Zimbabwe and the power utility. But progress is possible, even just using our local resources and our existing contacts. But it requires initiative, enterprise and energy. I was listening the other evening to one of China’s new billionaires – a woman in the construction industry and she said her success was due to her “PhD”. She came from a very poor background, she was always hungry for progress and success and she had supreme determination to succeed.

We have all of those attributes in abundance. I have no doubt that we could put together a plan to turn around the Railways and our national Airline. I have no doubt that we could get at least two multibillion dollar energy investments underway in Zimbabwe today. So what is wrong with us, why are these things not happening? It’s because we want to use the opportunities that are available to further our own interests and not those of the nation at large. Until we are determined to rectify these shortcomings and put our shoulders to the wheel for the national good, we simply will not make progress.

As one leading Indian business person said last week, you have to turn red tape into a red carpet for investors and then progress will take place. I would argue that a red carpet is not enough, at the end of that carpet has to be a secure, safe environment for all who invest in Zimbabwe, one which is fully and efficiently serviced.

Eddie Cross is MDC MP for Bulawayo South. This article first appeared on his website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com 


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31 comments on “Zimbabwe: Getting back to basics – Eddie Cross
  1. Zen says:

    Bravo Eddie, well said!unfortunately I don’t see any of this happening in our lifetime.Zimbabwe is run by a ruthless mafia only interested in its own survival and will be replaced by another similar Mafia.As a diasporan I’ve zero intention of investing a cent in Zimbabwe knowing tomorrow it could be taken and that the police and courts are powerless

  2. Canuck says:

    Eddie, you could not be more correct, as I have been saying on this board for many many months now.
    Until law and order and right of ownership and confidence that the rug is not going to be pulled out from under investors there is no hope, absolutely ZERO hope of investors showing up to help pull Zim out of the mire that it is in.
    And frankly, right now there seems to be no hope that any of the above is coming to pass, and so Africa investors like myself will continue to seek more fertile fields……
    Come on Zim……you have ALL the pieces to fire up a sizzling economy, but YOU MUST put the basic tenets in place.
    Until that happens you have zero, absolutely ZERO hope of getting the economy moving.

  3. Jimbo says:

    Hello Eddie
    You are so right in what you say are the remedies to fix Zim but unfortunately no one is listening. At a recent African investment conference an official from the Zambian Finance Ministry said that Zambia tried nationalization 30 years ago and it does not work so good luck Zim!
    In any event until Zim has a democratically elected government with protection of minority and property rights and does not keep changing the rules, it has absolutely no chance of success. The abject poverty in Zim is horrendous whilst Mugabe and Zanu PF continue looting what’s left but soon there will be nothing left. I would not dream of holidaying in Zim to witness the utter destruction of the country by Zanu PF
    Keep up the good work Eddie, I really enjoy reading your articles.

  4. roving ambassador. says:

    Zanu has no interest in developing Zimbabwe for as long as there is something to loot.
    They have the fear factor on their side to retain power.
    So why worry.

  5. jondo says:

    Words of wisdom from a man who loves his country. I hope n pray our leaders who claim to be educated n love our country will listen n follow dis gr8 advice

  6. Owen says:

    Good article; well written. Thanks.

  7. Onyonyoo says:

    One can never be as accurate as this your analysis Mr Cross, Sir.

  8. Mahlaba says:

    The mistake we did on the racist failed land reform programme was our turning point for investors. We may plead them even lying down, what assurance is there for them when the same devils are in charge?

  9. Cde Chooks says:

    Blah, blah, blah…talk, talk, talk. It’s all just flowery rhetoric, Eddie. If you can’t act, then at least support those who can. No dictatorship was ever toppled with words alone.

    • Kevin Watson says:

      What and support Mugabe and his gang of murderous thieves steal more! You must be one of the thieves!

  10. Moses says:

    There is only one stumbling block to things being put right. When that single stumbling block is no longer around there will be rapid changes.

  11. Msizeni silwelani says:

    I concour, the racial land redistribution “act” was the boiling point. Talk of foriegn or local investors will remain a pipe dream as long as the status quo prevails.

  12. munzwa says:

    the article is accurate but all has been said before, who has the political will to carry it all out, best we all put our heads together and support a strong team that will do just that..

  13. Tongoona says:

    Eddie your article is quite informative but in some paragraphs quite misleading. By the use of “we have forced investors out of their land…we have used extra legal means to stripe investors of assets and rights-we have taken money from bank accounts etc,” you seem to be portraying ZANU PF party and government as a democratic government when in actual fact, it is an oligarchic type of government. The majority of us never participated in the destructive policies of ZANU PF government. Therefore as a nation we deny collective responsibility for destroying the economy in the past 34 years.

  14. Only a New Rhodesia will bring the much needed massive investment and prosperity to the country, with a very happy and contented life for all. The Zimbabweans have to realize that they were tricked and deceived into believing the Rhodesians were their enemy, and also realize that they fought and died in a liberation war for nothing! Pull down the Zimbabwe flags, and fly the Green and White, of our Rhodesia, on every flagpole! The Rhodesians, Black and White, will return in their thousands, to re-build the great country, that it was!

  15. ZimZam says:

    Yawn…..although he does it well, Mr Cross is surely the master of stating the obvious. This is akin to the Dr. saying to the morbidly obese patient “you really should eat less!” or the psychologist to the alcoholic “you should try drinking less!”. In the end I cant get past the fact that Mr Cross is after all a politician himself and so rhetoric is his stock in trade. I truly tire from reading description after description of what the problem is in Zimbabwe and long for a revolutionary voice to which the troops can rally.

    • Straight Shooter says:

      Stop longing for “the revolutionary voice to which the troops can rally”. Be that voice yourself – nobody is stopping you!!

    • Dave Wood says:

      Hey Zim Zam, like many our organization is ready tomorrow to force this monster out of power, but unfortunately all of you are purely talk and no action! We have a game plan, it will work and the top two thousand thieves will be driven out..show us the colour of your money first my friend, and we’ll be there within a week…

  16. nyoni says:

    Bringing back Rhodesia is a hard call. For one the AU and the UN wouldnot recognise the name as it has a colonial past. AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS TO THEM. We need to join hands as one as Eddie said before and get rid of this evil affecting our land. Words are now meaningless to this rabble of thugs.

    • Straight Shooter says:

      A name of a country is NOT given by the AU, SADC or UN. It is the country itself which advises these bodies their name. I much prefer the name Rhodesia.

      As far as I am concerned, there is simply nothing wrong with it – I mean it is a fact, not a lie that the country was founded by Cecil John Rhodes, notwithstanding his evil intentions – it still remains a fact of history. It serves no purpose to pretend otherwise.

      The name Zimbabwe has no bearing whatsoever to the modern nation state as founded by Cecil John Rhodes. Its simply to assuage the egos of us blacks. The truth of the matter is that Africa’s borders where decided by the European powers in Germany in the 1800s.

      There was no African in that meeting; there was no blackman in that meeting. Africans before then knew nothing about “COUNTRIES” or “MODERN NATION STATES”.

      So, how do we reconcile this reality with the name Zimbabwe? People, be real. I know the truth hurts, but lets learn to live with it!!

  17. Straight Shooter says:

    As they say; like water, Foreign Direct Investment follows the path of least resistance!!

  18. Straight Shooter says:


    Here’s the story of Rhodesia, a land both fair and great,
    on the eleventh of november an independent state,
    this was against the wishes of certain governments
    whose leaders tried to break us down and make us all repent.

    But we’re all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thick and thin
    we’ll keep our land a free land, stop the enemy coming in,
    we’ll keep them north of the Zambezi till that river’s running dry
    and this mighty land will prosper for Rhodesians Never Die.

    They can send their men to murder and they can shout their words of hate
    but the cost of keeping this land free can never be too great
    for our men and boys are fighting for the things that they hold dear
    and this land and all its people will never disappear.

    Cause we’re all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thick and thin
    we’ll keep our land a free land, stop the enemy coming in,
    we’ll keep them north of the Zambezi till that river’s running dry
    and this mighty land will prosper for Rhodesians Never Die.

    We’ll preserve this little nation for our childrens, childrens too,
    once you’re a Rhodesian, no other land will do
    we will stand tall in the sunshine, with the truth upon our side
    and if we have to go alone, we’ll go alone with pride.

    Cause we’re all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thick and thin
    we’ll keep our land a free land, stop the enemy coming in,
    we’ll keep them north of the Zambezi till that river’s running dry
    and this mighty land will prosper for Rhodesians Never Die.

    Yes we’re all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thick and thin
    we’ll keep our land a free land, stop the enemy coming in,
    we’ll keep them north of the Zambezi till that river’s running dry
    and this mighty land will prosper for Rhodesians Never Die.

    Cause we’re all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thick and thin
    we’ll keep our land a free land, stop the enemy coming in,
    we’ll keep them north of the Zambezi till that river’s running dry
    and this mighty land will prosper for Rhodesians Never Die.

  19. Saddened says:

    Eddie your articles make for good reading & of course food for thought. This however I believe should be converted into concrete plans for when change comes whenever that might be. The opposition in whatever shape or form must be well armed with viable plans in all the major sectors to turn the economy around when the time comes. Funding, technical expertise etc should be secured in principle even now, so that they hit the ground running unlike the GNU period when not enough was done.

  20. Dave Wood says:

    To all of you who continue to harp on day in and day out on how bad this monster Mugabe is etc. etc. etc….it’s really becoming boring! Show us the colour of you money and him and his approximately 2000 thugs will be driven out of the Country…of course a few will be killed, then again how many law abiding folk die of hunger or malnutrition on a monthly basis. The game plan is all in place, the strategy cannot fail and the men are willing to fight.Do us all one big favour, stop crying and show us the money and the entire operation would be over within a week. If you think preying is going to do the trick or if you think those fools Tsangarai and Makoni will put it all right, well, you are living in dream land.

  21. Makotsi says:

    It will be good reading for mr Eddie Cross to be truthful to his readers. Dear readers, here is the man who pretend to love Zimbabweans when in practise he is a diehard Rhodesian. Fellow Zimbabweans are you aware that Cross directly participated in the forced resettlement of black Zimbabweans in Gokwe from fertile and habitant areas. Are you aware that Cross was 36 years old when Smith introduced compulsory military service for all white male Rhodesians in 1976. Mr Cross has not told youreaders how mang innoscent Zimbabwean citizens he slaughtered during his service to protect the white settler government. What hyipocracy for to proffer advice to your foe. Suka wena

    • Straight Shooter says:

      Aagh man, please give us a break. Why are you picking on Eddie – who does not have a nasty past in that country?

      The Tsvangirayi you now all sing praises to was part of ZANU PF when it was butchering people in Mthwakazi, do you know that? What did he do then; did he even oppose these gukurahundi actions?

      Why is he using this to attack ZANU PF now when he was part of them then? Isnt it because it now suits him and he wants to get into power?

      And Phillip Chiyangwa; wasnt he in the BSAP during the Rhodesian days and is now a staunch ZANPFER? He was part of those who harassed and arrests nationalists like Joshua Nkomo – what do you say about this?

      Many MDC-T leaders and followers were staunch suppoers of Mugabe when he was killing people left right and centre in the 1980s.

      So, please give us a break and leave Eddie Cross alone. If he has seen the errors of his past ways, and has repented what exactly is wrong with that?

  22. Reply to Makotsi. Massive investment, prosperity and contentment for all it’s citizens, will return to the New Rhodesia, when you realize and accept that you were all tricked and deceived into thinking the Rhodesians were your enemy. We would all have a great Rhodesia now, with black and Rhodesians working together to be the best country in Africa! Bring back the Rhodesia that belongs to all of us, for all of us!

    • Straight Shooter says:

      Rhodie Homecoming
      Be honest man, and take responsibility. It is true that, except for the very few, many Rhodesians were the enemy. In fact they are the ones who are responsible for the emergence in our politics of cruel gukurahundi animals like Robert Mugabe.

      Tell me, why didnt they settle with good and decent nationalists like Joshua Nkomo; Gorge Silundika and many others in the 1950s and early sixties when many African countries were getting independence, long before Robert Mugabe came onto the scene? It is them who caused all these troubles for us.

      This is not to deny the fact that Rhodesia itself as a country; its rule of law and order, education system, economic policies of development were great – which is what I admire.

      All they needed to do was to be inclusive and develop everyone regardless of race – that country would be a real jewel today.

      If you look at people as humans who all want the same things – that is progress for themselves and their children’s children; you will see that colour, race, tribe or region do not come into it at all. This is why the people of Bulawayo, vote for Eddie Cross – never mind he is white.

      Probably, we could have had many white Presidents in that country, interchangeably with Blacks depending on who delivers on his word. Zambia today has a white Vice President – this should tell you; many Rhodesians messed up big time!!

  23. Antonio delgado says:


    Give it up, you’re pissing against the wind and NOBODY is listening……

  24. Straight Shooter says:

    Once you are a Rhodesian, no other land will do – FACT!!

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