via Mugabe must go further to root out greed – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 15, 2014
THE decision by the Zanu PF politburo to completely stop the continued land expropriation under the guise of economic empowerment benefiting only a few connected individuals is a step in the right direction.
The booting-out of the ruling party elites and army officials from the money-spinning safari landholdings in the prized Save Valley Conservancy for double-dipping points to a cocktail of recuperative measures to rescue the economy after many years of inaction.
But, Zimbabweans believe that only practical action against the looting oligarchs may rescue the country from its current economic quagmire.
President Robert Mugabe and the ruling Zanu PF party must, therefore, make sure that their politburo resolution is followed to the letter otherwise this may be yet another useless talk.
Equally commendable was Zanu PF’s decision to remove settlers in all properties protected by the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas), which decision may mean all Bippas properties countrywide are now safe.
It must be borne in mind that countries around the globe compete fiercely for investment that can encourage faster economic growth and job creation by infusing capital, technology and know-how into key industries.
Therefore, as in many other cases elsewhere, Zimbabwe must prioritise attracting investment as its development strategy, particularly given the economic challenges facing the country. An important question for investment promotion intermediaries in the country is how best to develop the investor outreach, facilitation, aftercare and strategy to attract direct investment.
With this directive, government should develop the foundation to generate new investment as respecting Bippas sends a clear message that there will be no expropriation of foreign investment. Rationalising the land reform programme and the indigenisation policy had always been an unpleasant lump on Zimbabwe’s throat.
Many an investor resented putting their money into the country for fear of losing their investment.
The Zanu PF decision should be a foundation, hence Zimbabwe needs to improve the legal and policy environment for both local and foreign investment; design and implement a programme of sector-targeted investment promotion activities to attract and facilitate investment; implement effective investor facilitation and aftercare programmes and establish a system for benchmarking competitiveness for investment.
Indiscriminate land takeovers by the political elites had no doubt destroyed livelihoods and ecosystems all over the country. This situation led to many flashpoints of confrontation between government and the poor.
Although government argued that land reform led to development and poverty alleviation, facts on the ground, however, do not bear this out.
The land resource and mineral wealth of the country are a gift of nature, part of our initial inheritance, which belongs as much to the present as to the future generations.
The industries, moreover, founded upon such materials, are among the key or mother industries, whose benefit must be available to the whole country and not only a fortunate few who make profit for themselves out of what is common property.
Mugabe should not stop at booting out his politburo colleagues, but should move a step further to implement the one-man-one-farm policy which many in the ruling party trashed.