via Lies and myths about Empowerment and Indeginisation — Nehanda Radio OCTOBER 29, 2013 By Courage Shumba
Sadly, for the rest of us, Mugabe and company have reached the apex of the Zimbabwe of their dreams.
Savior Kasukuwere and Dave Brown from Zimplats who were arm twisted into ceding shares
We ,on one hand, can only envisage our independence as complete when liberty , accountability and economic progress all come together to guide the vocabulary and standard of responsibility according to which this country will be governed.
Mugabe is on the offensive, seemingly as if against the British yet deceptively robbing you and me black Zimbabweans by re-awakening that pilfering culture which benefits ministers, their families, senior civil servants and party officials in the name of black empowerment in which very few ordinary people are genuinely stake or shareholders.
Its a culture that is divisive as it is offensive to the majority under whose name and pretext it is carried out and justified.
If Mugabe is serious about indeginisation and empowerment of black people why does he not start by bringing up the capacity of those nationals outside the country by relaxing the duty and excise regime to allow the return of skills and investment.
Why does he not offer to relax the “cash up-front” culture and let the returning nationals pay duty by instalment over a set period of time?
How many Zimbabweans would bring with them tools of trade and skills? What effect would that have on competition and prices for everyone ? What effect would that have on employment ?
And how many people outside the country would contribute into the national purse never mind the demand for border staff and all involved in the administration of the policy from clearance to enforcement. This is an example of how a government that talks indigenisation must act.
Our government is strongly disinclined to opening the floodgates to massive indigenous enterprise, because if it were not, it would realise that the majority of our people cannot run a commercial farm or a diamond mining plant and as such their avenue to indeginisation lies within their means- in their ability to send home a tractor, a bus, a taxi, an ambulance, harvesting equipment, only if they can manage the duty.
The duty and excise regime acts therefore as the neo-colonial barrier which prompts in the bottleneck system to safeguard the core interests of the rich against new competition in an economy where the rich are no longer those former white Rhodesians.
Put differently does our government accept that most of its nationals who left the country did so to escape a harsh economy, and as such indeginisation that works must favour and target the return of those citizens by facilitating their return through policy which allows them to bring in equipment, tools of trade and personal possessions without being extorted or penalised by an inflexible and vindictive duty regime.
Our government cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that its duty and excise regime which demands money upfront is contrary to the ambitious spirit of those who left Zimbabwe in search of opportunities elsewhere.
Our government is guilty of running a policy that disincentives investment by its own nationals in the diaspora by running a chimbadzo duty regime. Such a government cannot claim a moral high ground on black empowerment or indeginisation.
What we notice is the confiscation of farms, private companies and mines and the use of a national policy to the exclusive benefit of politicians and their connections whilst mischievously parading it as a public benefit programme which it is not. The Zimbabwe government is very jealously hostile to the political and economic interests of its citizens.
We are expected to assume that the ownership of a 600 hectare farm grabbed from the white man by say a Minister Chinamasa is by itself a national policy that is complete and successful by that vengeful act alone.
In other words just that Mr Chinamasa owns what used to be a white owned farm is good enough for a population of fourteen million (six million of which own nothing) to sit back and celebrate the success of Chimurenga 3. Does that not make us mere racists ?Are we content to be just mere racists?
A national programme will have clear objectives that ride across all economic fronts to empower all sorts of people in all spheres of its reach. A national programme that claims to seek to empower its people cannot really be only about confiscating banks, mines, farms, industries and parcelling them to the same rich politicians.
How does the policy of parcelling banks and farms between politicians, change or empower my village? Why should government restrict my ambitions to invest to a pipe-dream ? Empowerment is the art or science by which lives are changed for the better through policy intervention. Mugabe could well clearly tell us that as far as he is concerned empowerment starts and ends within his circles- so the rest of us can go to hell.
One would have expected that the recent ex Finance Minister could have observed and pointed out to this reality and its dividends. However that government, like many others before it, obsessed in the shef culture. It looked out for its precious ministers against the hard pressed civil servants and other interests. It wasted time for everyone and achieved nothing permanent or concrete.
The reality is that empowerment as a jargon can easily be prostituted to defend and advance personal interests in the name of the majority by the very people who close avenues for them. The Zanu PF government is a cover for all sorts of aggressive rent seeking activities and looting as it pushes away those it pretends are the beneficiaries.
Look at Marange from the day of discovery (the barbarism) to this day (the lack of accountability) Zanu PF does not have a deliverable black empowerment policy that is intended for people outside the party hierarchy.
We can conclude by calling a spade, a spade and call into question the authenticity, sincerity and morality of Mugabe’s black empowerment programme whose genuine beneficiaries are largely, infact exclusively, the politician-turned- millionaires around him.