Peace ho, John Robertson speaks | The Herald

via Peace ho, John Robertson speaks | The Herald December 17, 2013 by Joram Nyathi (Group Political Editor)

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Robertson makes it clear that he is against the idea of “resource nationalism”. The world’s resources should belong to those who have the capacity to exploit them while locals provide cheap labour for slave wages. That is the implication of his lament that for thousands of years Zimbabweans had all the rights to exploit the country’s resources but did nothing.AFTER all he is the greatest economic commentator and opinion leader left in the private sector.

If you are a business reporter and don’t quote John Robertson about how doomed Zimbabwe is because of indigenisation and black economic empowerment, then you don’t know what you are doing.

So it was that I was reading an opinion by Robertson in a local weekly titled “Resources nationalism: the other side.” The newspaper was accused of “carrying editorials that repeat and apparently approve of highly questionable policies”.

“Compelling anyone to surrender assets of any kind is theft,” declared Robertson. “Resource nationalism carries no automatic ‘moral rectitude’ component.”

This is because for thousands of years Zimbabweans had all the rights they needed to exploit the country’s minerals but they did not. Indigenisation is equally wrong because what Zimbabweans need to prosper are skills for “productive work”.

“Wealth should be defined, not as money, but as the ability to make money,” says Robertson. Wealth therefore equates to “ability”. People simply need employment.

Let’s try to dissect this discourse.

First of all one gets the impression from Robertson’s comments that there are some newspapers which are expected to carry certain views and he sees nothing objectionable.

The Daily News, on the other hand, is not expected to “carry editorials that repeat and apparently approve of highly questionable policies” about the positive side of indigenisation of black economic empowerment.

Two issues can be inferred here.

There are certain editorials or views which the Daily News should not carry. In other words there are opinions which Robertson doesn’t like and he doesn’t want to see them in his preferred newspaper. On the other hand one can infer that the same editorials carried by the public media would be okay for Robertson. At least they can be dismissed with contempt as propaganda.

Robertson makes it clear that he is against the idea of “resource nationalism”.

The world’s resources should belong to those who have the capacity to exploit them while locals provide cheap labour for slave wages. That is the implication of his lament that for thousands of years Zimbabweans had all the rights to exploit the country’s resources but did nothing.

That in a way provides a legitimate justification for colonialism. Why should those who can’t exploit certain resources even claim any right to them?

That’s why resource nationalism has no “moral rectitude” component. It is as if resources which have not been exploited belonged to the wild.

Indigenisation is even more odious in Robertson’s scheme of things.

He says compelling anyone to surrender assets of any kind is theft. Let’s grant him that, but even then it has only limited validity if we give it a historical perspective shorn of racism.

Since Robertson talks of assets of any kind, we shall include land. Obviously the Loot Company must have done a lot of looting from Africans.

Robertson is definitely aware of this although he makes no reference to this important historical fact. After the land and cattle and African labour were looted, why is it so wrong to reclaim the same assets?

Why have white former commercial farmers been running around the world seeking to stop a process they started in the 19th century pursuant to the Berlin Conference? Which Africans attended that conference and invited those with “investment” to come and loot our resources?

In fact, it is possible to state that the white farmers invited the land occupations through sheer greed. They refused to share despite lies about supporting the principle. They wanted to monopolise the land resource by claiming that Government was refusing to pay “market prices”.

Who paid market prices for land which was seized when blacks were being pushed apartheid-style to go and live in the arid Tribal Trust Lands?

And what special “skills” did those first farmers possess to create wealth beside abundant fertile land and cheap African labour which went on to pay numerous taxes such as hut tax?

What history teaches is that skills can be acquired through experience. Robertson only needs to go outside Harare to see the amount of tobacco being produced using skills learnt since 2000.

Those who refuse to share the country’s mineral wealth will be rightly “compelled to surrender” it.

I don’t even know what is wrong with a 49-51 percent ratio for a finite resource. It is clear that the idea of voluntary “corporate social responsibility” has not worked.

There are companies which have been looting Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth but local communities have no roads, no schools or hospitals to talk of. When they demand a little extra from what is theirs they get the Marikana treatment.

The single area where I believe Robertson might have a point is the issue of enterprises such as banks where the owner generates the idea in their head, does personal research and tests the profitability of the enterprise.

That is why I cannot inherit Robertson’s economics qualifications but I can inherit “his farm”.

Government is aware of this; hence it has avoided what happened on the farms. Not everybody can create Econet or Kingdom Bank.

The moral thing Mr Robertson is that those who benefited from the country’s resources riding on a racial card must accept that this was wrong and be prepared to correct this.

But if the white race insists on the deception that Rolihlahla Mandela is the moral compass for all African leaders because he allowed whites to keep their loot in South Africa and Africans to forever live in squalor and poverty, then we have a dream deferred and an ideal gone horribly wrong.


  • comment-avatar

    It’s 33 years now and the playing field has been level. What has the government done to keep the masses who left for a better life elsewhere, nothing. They tried voting with their mouths and votes but had no choice in the end but to vote with their feet and left. So 3 million people plus mostly black are wrong? You are naive my friend. Just look at Harare. Bore hole water is contaminated with human fevers now. You have no sustained electricity, there is no cash. So what are you talking about. There is enough land, resources and good will to make Zimbabwe fly, but no Zanoids like you Naythi just know one thing, covert someone else hard work. Tell me what stopped you from starting a business, not me a white man, not any other black man that I know. Ideas are ideas but execution of those ideas my friend is what it’s all about. Some of us have it and some of do not and never will. You fall in that category of never will simply because you have an attitude of entitlement. Where are the diamond money’s my little Zanoids pea brain, where pray tell us all. You have a leader who tells his minister of finance to find money but at the same time has billions stashed away and sold his country to the likes of the Chinese. You must and Defintely will reap where you sow and in your case, especially with ASSET get nowhere as the so many other 5 year plans went nowhere. You are too funny for words and hence will stop here because you are so stupid you area fool not to recognize it.

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      Well said Joe. Zanoids do not understand production. The only thing they understand is plunder, rape and pillage. That is why Chinamasa’s budget will be a fictitious mirage on the Horizon. All the signs are there for all to see….. more entrenched poverty which will exacerbate the refugee flow to South Africa.

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    Joram nyathi is seriously academically challenged to put it lightly. Would make agood teacher at border gezi school for imbecile with his lucky dip bogus qualifications. This zanupf laughing stock has been on our radar for long time

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    Jimbo 8 years ago

    Nyathi, please enlighten me as to where nationalization has worked. Zambia has gone full circle and is now actively promoting privatization of its resources. The Zambian minister of finance Is on record as saying that Zambia tried nationalizing 30 years ago and it does not work. The definition of insanity according to Albert Einstein is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Zimbabwe is doomed to years of poverty until such time as it encourages free enterprise in a capitalist system. The bottom line is that Zimbabwe needs less government interference and not more and until such time that Zanu PF realize that there is absolutely no hope for Zimbabwe

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    Jrr56 8 years ago

    Pity these idiots think they can reinvent the wheel that they have never had.

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    Nimrod Mupanesengende 8 years ago

    Well said, Joram Nyathi. Actually, these alliens, the Robertsons, the Eddie Crosses and others, fail to understand that their propaganda is now so myorpic, stupid and belongs to the early 1930s. The modern African sees right through their lies, no matter how disguised. We should just deport these elliens and make them go where they came from. If they refuse, then we will persuade them. If they refuse still, then we apply our tried and tested method of giving anyone the taste of his own medicine. That will certainly kick them out of our country.

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      Clive Sutherland 8 years ago

      What is the definition of a “modern” African in Zimbabwe? Please enlighten us, I am sure many on this forum would be interested to know.

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      Parangeta 8 years ago

      How about we deport you Nimrod, or is it Dimrod? The Shona are not true Zimbabweans they are an off-shoot of South African tribes. The San and Koisan are the true Zimbabweans, so out you go alien, OUT, OUT, OUT!

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    Mike Nyathi 8 years ago

    They are trying to use race as a mask for their greed, laziness and incompetence. No one is fooled. Drop dead zanu pf.

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    Answer my questions Joram. What’s the reason we have sewerage in the bore hope water. What happened to the 5 year plans, where were their execution. Where is the diamond money? You have no Answers because whatever you do answer is completely hollow

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    It’s amazing when you want facts from these idiots there is none. Facts are stubborn aren’t they little zanoids. The facts say and show you have failed over 33 years. We are back at least 50 years. The jewel of Africa. Shame

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      Parangeta 8 years ago

      Shame, shame and more shame, you are so right! Even The Jewel of Africa has been raped and pillaged!