via Mugabe finally sees the light – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 14, 2016
Zimbabweans must have heaved a huge sigh of relief in that last two days, as news started filtering that President Robert Mugabe had sought to provide clarity on the indigenisation policy and we hope this opens the door for more lucidness on other policies.
Mugabe’s nephew and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao has been behaving like a bull in a china shop lately, refusing to see reason on the indigenisation issue and we hope he has been put in his place once and for all.
We may never know how much Zimbabwe lost in investment due to Zhuwao’s boisterousness, but the message has been clear for a while, investors may have been keen on Zimbabwe, but they were wary of policy inconsistency and the indigenisation policy.
This is the same message Mugabe must have been receiving from many of his “all-weather friends” that it was in the best interests of the country and himself that he provided clarity on the indigenisation policy.
Mugabe should have done this years ago, but instead he sought populism rather than realism, but as the adage goes, better late than never.
Most Zimbabweans are not against the indigenisation policy, but want it implemented in a clear and honest manner, not a situation where the responsible minister issues ultimatums and presides over chaos.
What most Zimbabweans fear is that indigenisation may be an elaborate ruse for the elite to loot and this has created opposition to this policy, which has not been helped by Zhuwao’s attitude on the matter.
The issue of the financial services sector is also a sore point for many who lost their life’s savings in indigenous banks and forcing banks to indigenise evokes nightmares for those who lost their money.
Zhuwao had been told several times that the banking sector was sensitive and he should stay away from it, but he instead issued an ill-advised Press statement excoriating his Finance counterpart, Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank governor, John Magudya.
We hope this episode, a slap across his face, is a lesson for Zhuwao and his hawkish counterparts on the need to carefully lay out their policies for the benefit of the country and not to score cheap political points.
The indigenisation policy and any other policy for that matter is meant to benefit Zimbabweans rather than punish them by creating more uncertainty and increasing joblessness.
The haphazard land reform programme is still fresh in the minds of many and the indigenisation policy, in the manner Zhuwao wanted to implement it, threatened to open up wounds that had not healed.
Going forward, we hope Mugabe can take leadership and issue statements well in advance before some of the policies his ministers dream up of have an untold effect on the country’s already fragile economy.