War vets mistake Mandel for CFU offices
Scores of war veterans who invaded the Mandel Training Centre in Marlborough on Monday mistook the centre for the CFU’s head office which is situated adjacently, The Standard has established. The war veterans who invaded the centre on Monday demanding to see the management, had initially wanted to invade the CFU, situated just across the road from the Delta Corporation-owned Mandel. When The Standard visited Mandel, workers refused to comment, saying they were under strict instructions from management not to say anything to the media. However, one worker told The Standard that the attack on Mandel was a case of mistaken identity. "As they were leaving the centre, they were speaking amongst themselves, saying it would be embarrassing if the press picked it up," the source said.
The war veterans were said to have been given the description of the CFU head office, but failed to read at the entrance as they were so eager to storm the place and meet the management. "They arrived at about 12.30pm and most of the workers were taken by surprise as the war vets started beating them, demanding to know where the whites were. They were at the centre for about two-and-a-half hours, and helped themselves to food and beer that had been prepared for guests," the source added. Upon realising that they had attacked the wrong place, the war veterans did not even bother to proceed to the CFU because they were reportedly too embarrassed.
Said the source: "They met with the management and left after the meeting. No-one really knows what they discussed." Efforts to get a comment from the general manger of Mandel, John King, were fruitless as he refused to speak to the press. Contacted by The Standard for comment, Joseph Chinotimba, the chairman of the Harare branch of war veterans, dissociated the association from the botched raid. "We believe in dialogue. Like I told you before, real war veterans to not beat up people. We want peace. We will soon embark on an exercise to discipline those who are beating up people and those who are going around pretending to be war veterans. I was not there myself. Those who might have returned to beat the workers are not real war veterans," said Chinotimba.
He however insisted that war veterans would continue intervening on behalf of employees locked in disputes with their masters. "Workers do not have representatives. They are being oppressed by the whites, but do not have anyone to stand for them. Whoever calls us with such an issue, we will be there in no time. If you at The Standard are not being paid by your bosses, write a letter to us. If you are afraid to be fired, call me in private. You should be paid much for all the propaganda that you write. If you are not being paid fully then you are very stupid, really stupid."
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 15 April
Pupils repulse war vets
School children recently thwarted efforts by war veterans to terrorise the headmaster of Murambinda Secondary School because of his alleged support for the MDC. Pupils at the school mobilised and ordered the war veterans to leave the school. Because of their inferiority in numbers, the war veterans complied. Later, however, the war veterans assembled and returned to the school on a revenge mission. The headmaster had by then gone into hiding. It was not clear by last week whether he was still in hiding. Witnesses say a group of about 50 former freedom fighters had initially approached the school to harass the headmaster for his support of the MDC. But news of the impending invasion had filtered through the school and pupils mobilised in preparation for the war veterans. Informants say the headmaster had clashed with the chairman of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), who is a ruling party supporter. The PTA chairman is said to have influenced the war veterans to take action against the MDC sympathiser, resulting in the "invasion". The invasion was also meant as groundwork before Border Gezi’s visit to the area. Gezi, Zanu PF’s political commissar, recently visited the area to bolster up Zanu PF’s waning support there.
War veterans have already started preparing for the presidential election and are said to have set up bases in the area from which they are terrorising villagers. This is not the first time that war veterans have been repulsed in Manicaland. Last year, villagers and school children in Chigodora, on the outskirts of Mutare, beat up a group of war veterans who had intended to invade a farm in the area. Apparently the villagers had a good relationship with the farmer and did not want his farm invaded. Ex-combatants, with government blessing have been terrorising government officials whom they suspect of supporting the opposition. This has led to the closure of a number of local government bodies around the country. School teachers have also been targets of the ruling party’s terror campaign which has seen some of them fleeing their schools.
From The Sunday Independent (SA), 15 April
Rautenbach 'targeted for funding Congo war'
Billy Rautenbach, the multimillionaire businessman who is facing charges of fraud and theft of at least R60-million, claims the South African government is trying to destroy him to prevent him funding the war that the DRC government is fighting against foreign-backed rebels. Rautenbach, who has fled to his native Zimbabwe to avoid arrest in South Africa, contends that because of business partnerships in Congo, he has become an innocent victim of the South African government's diplomatic machinations in Africa. Rautenbach makes the charge in an affidavit submitted to the Johannesburg high court in an attempt to overturn a restraint order under which about R60-million of his property was seized last year by the Assets Forfeiture Unit. This included a Falcon executive jet, a Bell helicopter, a wine farm in the Cape, another farm in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and several houses and flats in Sandton.
The Investigating Directorate: Serious Economic Offences (Idseo) is currently fighting in the court to win a final order allowing it to keep the property so that it can apply for it to be confiscated. This week Judge Jonathan Heher postponed judgment in the case until May 29. Idseo's case is based on a charge that Rautenbach defrauded the Southern African Customs Union of about R60-million due to it by under-invoicing the value of Hyundai vehicles that his Hyundai assembly plant in Botswana bought from Hyundai in Korea. Idseo alleges Rautenbach perpetrated the fraud through an intermediary company – which he also owned - which Idseo claims presented invoices to the Hyundai assembly business in Botswana, which reduced the value of the Hyundai vehicles bought from Korea. This, Idseo says, reduced the customs due on the vehicles by about R60-million.
Idseo is also charging that Rautenbach stole money from his own companies. He fled to his native Zimbabwe in 1999. South Africa is trying to extradite him. The state's case against Rautenbach is based on evidence from several former employees of Rautenbach's and paints an intriguing picture of a web of scores of companies established across Africa in order to hide theft and fraud and also to conceal Rautenbach's own interests in them.
Rautenbach rejects the charges, saying that Idseo has failed to understand that the invoices presented by the intermediary company to Hyundai in Botswana were lower because they did not include warranties and because the vehicles were disassembled at that point. But he contends that the South African government's real motive is to destroy him because it perceived him as an "obstacle to the attempted removal of the Kabila regime". "It is no secret that the South Africa government [is] strongly opposed to the Kabila regime and [is] anxious to see me removed from power," he said. The affidavit was written before Congo's Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January this year and succeeded by his son Joseph - but still forms a substantial part of his case.
Rautenbach says it had been reported in the South African media that he was providing financial support to the Kabila regime "and that I am allegedly responsible for propping up the Kabila regime". He adds that a statement made by former presidential spokesperson, the late Parks Mankahlana, "unequivocally demonstrates the political aim of the government". When South African authorities first raided Rautenbach's operations in November 1999, Mankahlana was quoted in the Johannesburg edition of the Sunday Times as saying "the raid was a major development which will affect the security situation in the region".
Rautenbach also cites a meeting he held with South African officials in Maputo on August 7 last year. He says he had approached the government to try to discuss a settlement of the case against him. Bulelani Ngcuka, the national director of public prosecutions, then arranged for him to meet Pete Richer of the Scorpions as well as the deputy director of the National Intelligence Agency in Maputo. Rautenbach said at the meeting that all the issues raised by the officials "related to South Africa's political and strategic interests in the DRC" rather than the specifics of the case against him. Referring to a letter from Ngcuka to his attorney, Rautenbach said it contained "highly political" questions that showed the government had launched the legal case against him "as part of the campaign to destroy the perceived source of Kabila's funds."
From The Star (SA), 16 April
DRC refugees riot in Zambia food shortages
Lusaka - A food riot by hundreds of refugees and former soldiers from the DRC at a camp in northern Zambia has left one person dead. About 28 other people were injured during the clashes on Friday between the refugees demanding increased food rations and Zambian police officers at Kala refugee camp. 16 people were arrested and charged for riotous behaviour. Police spokesperson Lemmy Kajoba said police were forced to fire teargas to disperse the rioters. Kajoba said the rioting refugees damaged three police vehicles, adding that the 16 arrested were expected to appear in court soon.
People fleeing wars in the neighbouring DRC and Angola have poured into Zambia, which now hosts more than 250 000 refugees, the largest refugee population in southern Africa. In December, Ilunga Ngandu, regional director for the UNHCR, admitted that funding for refugees was inadequate, warning that Zambia was a "time bomb". Early this year, a visiting UNHCR assistant high commissioner, Soren Jessen-Petersen, said it was a "very big burden" for impoverished Zambia to host so many refugees. "Zambia needs urgent international support," he said. Food shortages in refugee camps had prompted inmates to invade nearby Zambian villages to steal crops belonging to local communities.
From The Independent (UK), 16 April
Rebels stop UN troops landing in Congo
The UN abruptly called off the deployment of armed troops to the eastern region of the DRC yesterday after rebels refused to let 120 peacekeepers land in Kisangani, the country's third biggest city, while their military plane was on its final approach. "We're still trying to understand what happened," Major-General Mountaga Diallo, the UN mission commander, said as the UN aircraft turned back. "I hope this is all temporary."
Joseph Mudumbi, a foreign affairs spokesman for the Rally for Congolese Democracy, the rebel group controlling Kisangani, said the aircraft was diverted to Bangui, the capital of the neighbouring Central African Republic. The Rwanda-backed RCD had warned the UN command that it would consider the attempt to fly 120 Moroccan troops into Kisangani a "declaration of war". The rebels accuse the government of launching fresh attacks on six villages in East Kasai province in violation of a newly revived ceasefire. They say the UN must condemn the alleged attacks before its troops can deploy in Kisangani. Mr Mudumbi said government forces launched the attacks after rebels pulled back from the area last month. "We told Diallo to go back to Kinshasa and publish a full report on ceasefire violations by government troops," he said. He also accused government troops of raping and robbing civilians. UN observers confirmed the burning of a village, Maj-Gen Diallo said.
A 3,000-strong UN force is due to deploy in the coming months to monitor a month-old pullback of the six armies and the two main rebel movements at war in Congo. Yesterday's planned deployment would have brought the UN force in place to about 1,200. The conflict has killed at least 1.7 million people in two and a half years and displaced two million more. Rwanda and Uganda, one-time allies in the war, back separate rebel movements. They have fought three times for control of Kisangani, which is of strategic importance given its location, airport and proximity to diamond mines. Adolphe Onusumba, the RCD leader, said rebels had demanded that a report appear in international media at least six hours before the Moroccan troops could land.
From The New York Times, 14 April
Who Runs Congo? The People, New Leader Says
Kinshasa - At the end of a corridor in the labyrinthine Marble Palace, where he had just moved his office, a heavy door opened to show President Joseph Kabila sitting alone in a large room after a morning of receiving guests. Everything seemed new, from the beige leather couches and the artificial flowers, to the $150 wristwatch and the jacket and tie. Nothing yet revealed the new president's imprint, no photographs, no books, no knickknacks, nothing that would diminish the feel of a hotel suite with a recently checked-in guest. He had, after all, come to occupy this office after his father, Laurent D. Kabila, was assassinated three months ago. Overnight, it seemed, the younger Kabila became, at age 29, not only the world's youngest president, but also leader of Africa's most dysfunctional country. "No, never," he said, during a 40- minute interview in which he appeared at ease, speaking fluently in English with an East African accent. "I never dreamed of being the president. I never had that thought in my dreams."
So far, Mr. Kabila has made a good impression, especially in the Western capitals where his father had been in the habit of making such a bad one. For the first time in nearly two years, things are inching forward in Congo, a nation that had been left for dead by many until January - a carcass to be fought over for its impossibly rich soil containing everything from the diamonds that go into making engagement rings to the coltan that goes into making American fighter jets.
Recently, most of the warring parties - including Zimbabwe and Angola on the government's side, and Rwanda and Uganda on the other - have begun withdrawing troops, and the United Nations has started positioning theirs. While no one believes that Mr. Kabila had the power to make these decisions by himself, diplomats who wrangled with his father - a man with a chip on his shoulder as big as his sumo-size frame - have given the soft-spoken, slightly built son a lot of the credit. But the question of who really runs Congo remains a nagging one, which the new president was not inclined to answer directly. Over the course of the interview, he often punctuated statements with a laugh that sounded like something between a chuckle and a snicker. And he invariably responded with his own question to the questions he wanted to skirt or challenge, as he did with that one. "I should ask you, Who is in charge in the Congo?" he said. "Who do you think is in charge in the Congo?"
The Zimbabwean soldiers guarding the Marble Palace and the Angolans watching over the security in Kinshasa provided, to many Congolese, one possible answer. "The Congolese people are in charge," Mr. Kabila said after a while. "There is a government. I am the president of this country, and we are in charge of whatever is going in the country. Is it surprising?" He added, "Since I came into office I've never taken orders from anybody, nobody whatsoever." Few, if any, believe that. Most believe that Congo's powerful allies, and their Congolese representatives, chose Mr. Kabila to avoid a political and military crisis following the assassination. Whether he remains in power, the argument runs, depends on whether he serves their interests. "I think he's sincere about improving the lives of ordinary Congolese," said a Western diplomat who has met the president a few times. "The question is, does he have the political skills to pull it off, or will he be ruthless enough?"
But even if the young Mr. Kabila does not evince all the authority his title implies, his apparent vulnerability in overseeing such a sprawling country has provoked mostly sympathy from diplomats and others who have dealt with him, particularly those in the West who would prefer not to see Congo collapse. "He doesn't provoke negative reactions," said Kamel Morjane, the United Nations special envoy to Congo, who has met Mr. Kabila several times. "On the contrary, when you are with him, you feel that you even want to protect him. He looks very nice, and very quiet. He seems, I would say, honest and willing to do positive things. `How can we help him?' I think that is the reaction of many people."
Mr. Kabila sometimes uses "revolution" and other words no doubt picked up from his father, who fancied himself a revolutionary fighter for the proletariat. But he also sprinkles his talk with words like "democracy," "good governance" and "development," and projects an awareness of the people's expectations: "Is the president really working for the country or is he stealing from the country for himself? Are the ministers responsible to the people or the Parliament? Or are the ministers working just to fill their pockets with gold, with diamonds? So the countermeasures, the counterchecks." Mr. Kabila, who dismissed his father's entire cabinet early this month, said he would appoint "people who are really committed to working for the Congo." Today, state television announced a new cabinet that dropped almost all of the most powerful hard-liners who had served his father.
Inevitably contrasted with his father, the son refused to draw the comparisons: "I don't think I'm different, do you?" But while his father was famous for his appetites, centering on women, food and drink, the son said he neither drinks nor smokes. Politically, the father encouraged a personality cult, erecting billboards with his portrait. The son said he would refrain from doing so. "The expectations of the people are not really to see Joseph on posters or to listen to songs that make him much more special than anybody else. In fact, I'm just like any Congolese." Like his father, however, Mr. Kabila remains secretive about his personal life. The young president said his private life was "top secret," but added that had it not been for the "tragedy," he would have started a family "maybe in 6, 10 months." The remark seemed to confirm what the Congolese political class has been saying: the son had received his father's approval to marry a woman who has already given birth to their child, but now had to wait for the end of the mourning period.
Still, three months after taking office, he has spoken only once to the public - not deviating from a carefully scripted speech he was taped reading for state television - and the Congolese know only the bare facts about their new president: He grew up in Tanzania and came to Kinshasa in 1997 when his father led a Rwandan- and Ugandan-backed rebellion against the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. After a few months of military training in China, he returned to Congo with the rank of major general, and is said to have performed poorly in the battlefield. The rumors surrounding his birth - that his mother is Rwandan, that he is really the late president's adopted son - have died down, and he called them "stupid stories." The son refused to criticize his father's rule. But, tellingly, he did not cite him or any other person when he was asked whether he had any African political models. "If you look at Africa," he said, "it's just full of misery, poverty, wars. Of course there are nations that have not been touched by all that, but I cannot say, `Look, that's the leader that I'll follow.' "
Congo will hold elections after the war ends, he said, though he refused to say whether he would run. Most Congolese assume that he will, and that has already caused some jockeying, especially among the younger leaders who feel that it is their turn. Jean-Pierre Bemba, who is the leader of the Uganda-backed Congo Liberation Front and in his early 40's, is enraged at the warm welcome the new president has been getting abroad, and it is one of the reasons his group has yet to begin withdrawing from the front lines, according to diplomats. He is not the only one. Joseph Olenghankoy, 37, one of the leading opposition figures in Kinshasa, criticized him for traveling so much since becoming president. "He's showing a youthful enthusiasm for travel and red carpets," Mr. Olenghankoy said. He added: "Politically here, he has done nothing. On a personal level, he's a calm boy, serene. I appreciate his bearing." Mr. Kabila, who will turn 30 in June, waved away questions about his age. "Am I too old?" he said in his characteristic way of replying. "I'm not too young, neither am I too old. I believe this is the right age for anybody to really work for his country, for his people."
|Msika begs Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF|
4/16/01 8:13:00 AM (GMT +2)
Msika on Saturday urged Edgar Tekere, the retired Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM)
leader and the former secretary-general of Zanu PF, to rejoin Zanu PF.
Msika said Tekere had not
denounced the revolution, but had only had differences with some senior Zanu PF
Speaking at a party held at Mt Darwin South MP Saviour Kasukuwere’s home in Chief Matope’s area, Msika said: “Let’s bury our differences and work together. There is no need for us to be selfish - look around you, the country you fought for is about to go back to the whites.”
He literally begged Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF.
“You are a revolutionary. It was only because of selfishness on the part of the Zanu PF leadership and yourself that you decided to quit the party.”
Tekere, who was at the party as an invited guest, commented on Msika’s remarks to The Daily News: “These are statements you just listen to and keep quiet.”
Msika and Tekere shared the top table as guests of honour at the party.
There has been widespread speculation that Tekere, a relatively young 64 years old, could be an acceptable replacement for Mugabe, 77, as Zanu PF prepares for the 2002 presidential election.
Sources have said Mugabe himself may be the only dissenting voice against Tekere taking over the party, which he co-founded, but quit over rampant corruption and lack of democracy, in both the government and the ruling party, which he described as being “in the intensive care unit”.
Tekere left Zanu PF in 1988 to form ZUM, the first formidable post-independence opposition party. In the 1990 presidential poll, Tekere provided the only challenge to Mugabe since independence and performed creditably, according to analysts.
Msika again attacked the so-called former freedom fighters saying they were too arrogant and thought they were more important than everyone else in society.
Without stating exactly what the professed war veterans had done wrong, he said: “You war veterans have got a problem - I’m one of your commanders and I know you. Don’t cheat yourselves and beat your chests, saying you fought for this country alone. Everyone contributed immensely, especially the mothers and the war collaborators who risked life and limb and gave you food and directions during the war.”
Msika has in the past attacked the so-called veterans for invading local government offices around the country.
He repeated that the party’s old guard, led by Mugabe, would not retire as long as the country was under threat from the “sell-out” MDC party, which he said wanted to give back political power to former Rhodesians.
Msika vowed he, together with Mugabe and his fellow Vice-President, Simon Muzenda, now all in their late 70s, would not leave office as long as they were not sure the country would be in safe hands.
“Many of you have been saying we must now go,” said Msika. “You have been saying we as leaders are old - who is old here? You must not push us to go.
We will go when our time comes.”
Borrowing the lyrics by singer Steve Makoni, Msika said to wild cheers from the crowd: “Handiende, handiende! Ndinogarira vana vangu (I will not go, I will not go! I will stay for the sake of my children).”
|Commonwealth lawyers call for action on Zimbabwe|
4/16/01 7:54:47 AM (GMT +2)
Lawyers' Association (CLA) insists the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
(CMAG) should come to Zimbabwe “as soon as possible” to investigate the
continued decline in the rule of law and the threat to the independence of the
Cyrus Das, the CLA
president, said in a statement last week, the Commonwealth secretary-general
must immediately take “appropriate steps” to arrest the decline of the situation
“The CLA calls upon the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to act under the Millbrook mechanisms and take appropriate steps to arrest the decline of the rule of law in Zimbabwe and ensure the safeguarding of the Judiciary in that country,” Das said .
He said CMAG should speedily undertake a mission to Zimbabwe to investigate and then recommend measures to deal with the crisis in the country.
Stan Mudenge, the Foreign Affairs Minister, has said CMAG is not welcome to Zimbabwe and declared the proposed visit illegal.
He said the group had no mandate over Zimbabwe. Instead, Mudenge said, CMAG should send its proposed mission to London to persuade the British government to honour the Lancaster House agreement by helping fund the land resettlement programme.
But CMAG remains defiant on the visit, with its officials in London saying they have written a detailed letter to President Mugabe on the proposed visit. The mission to Zimbabwe would consist of the Foreign Ministers of Barbados, Australia and Nigeria Das said in a statement: “It is obvious that Zimbabwe poses the greatest challenge to Commonwealth political values as enunciated by the Heads of Governments in their successive meetings starting with Singapore in 1971, Harare in 1991, Millbrook in 1995 and Durban in November 1999. It is important that these principles should not remain as mere pious platitudes, but principles to be implemented in practice by governments.”
The CLA referred to the invasions of the farms by so-called war veterans and the failure by the government to move them out in compliance with High Court orders, the bombing of The Daily News printing press, and threats to members of the Judiciary.
Das said: “The ultimatum delivered to Chief Justice Gubbay to step down in early retirement and the threat to Justice McNally to take an early retirement on the grounds that his security could not be guaranteed constitute a blatant violation of judicial independence which no responsible government should countenance under any circumstances.”
Yesterday, Mudenge could not be reached for comment.
Zimbabwe has seen a breakdown of law and order after thousands of Zanu PF supporters and others claiming to be war veterans invaded white-owned farms since February last year.
The alleged war veterans have terrorised innocent citizens, invading businesses, homes and government offices with impunity and with the tacit approval of Mugabe.
|Government to disburse $1bn to SMEs|
4/16/01 7:56:27 AM (GMT +2)
THE government will this
month start disbursing the $1 billion revolving fund to the Small and Medium
Scale Enterprises (SMEs), the Minister of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation, Border Gezi, has said.
Gezi said the government
was now finalising the logistics of how much all the ministries involved with
the SMEs will get for their projects.
The fund will be disbursed by the ministries of Industry and International Trade; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation; and Finance and Economic Development.
Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, promised the SMEs the $1 billion facility, which businesspeople in the country are saying is too little to ensure real growth in the face of mounting economic difficulties.
Ben Mucheche, the president of the Indigenous Business Development Centre and the Zimbabwe Transport Organisation, Jane Mutasa, the president of the Indigenous Business Women’s Development Organisation, as well as Rickson Musarurwa, the president of the Zimbabwe Action Retailers' Association, have said the fund needs more money to be effective.
Said Gezi: “I would like to urge all the people with their proposals to hold on to them because we are now working on the last hurdle to see how much each disbursing ministry will get. But the money will be disbursed this month.”
Philip Chiyangwa, the founding president of the Affirmative Action Group, said the money should be given to deserving beneficiaries.
He said his organisation had information that the money would be disbursed starting this week.
Chiyangwa said those in the small to medium scale enterprises should not be caught napping because they had been waiting for this fund to start revolving.
|Politicians never seem to learn from history|
4/16/01 7:43:50 AM (GMT +2)
Job H Mombera
WHEN the governing
elite, or anybody for that matter, talks about the need to indigenise the
economy to liberate ourselves politically, or develop a cultural identity, these
truisms, at different periods, strike an excitable nerve in the hearts of many
Indeed any government in
this country, or any other country, has to deal with these issues singly or in
varying combinations and meaning at all the times.
Apart from the need to legitimise governments through elections, these themes also add, in a very practical way, to the legitimacy of a government.
If governments do not deal with these issues, how else can a people handle the loss of dignity, among other things, when subjugated by a foreign power?
How can they handle poverty - abject poverty - while those deemed to have originated from other countries live in riches? How can they justify the equality of human value when, by design or by default, their subjects exalt other people’s cultures and traditions while despising their own?
The resentment does not have to do with land, as in Zimbabwe, or previous skewed policies in favour of a few. Where foreigners do exceptionally well in any country, it naturally generates ill feelings amongst the indigenous people. Apart from the German example in which Jews were made the scapegoats, recent events in Fiji are a case in point, and closer to home in Africa we are all aware what happened to Asians in Uganda under Idi Amin.
The fact that he was finally relegated to the dustbins of history is beside the point.
Our own President may undergo the same fate if the otherwise noble cause of land reform, haphazardly and violently carried out, collapses with a heavy toll to the country.
It is amazing that people, particularly politicians, do not seem to learn lessons from history, their own history, never mind other historical experiences elsewhere. Maybe that is the reason why history repeats itself. It would not repeat itself if politicians and people, in general, learnt lessons from history.
My little knowledge of the beginnings of the struggle for independence starts with resistance of our forefathers to the occupations by early colonialist invaders. I would have wanted to add the Zulu invaders under the leadership of King Mzilikazi, but let me leave that for now.
Local resistance, coined the “First Chimurenga”between 1896 and 1897, was crushed as we all know.
The power behind the might of the settlers lay with their superior weaponry and organisational advancement. The assegai, axe, bow and arrow and the various types of indigenous weaponry in use at that time were no match for the settlers’ guns. The indigenous people remained under foreign domination and control for a long time after that defeat.
As late as the 1950s and 1960s, the African resistance leaders started to emerge. Examples are George Nyandoro, James Chikerema, Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe, Ndabaningi Sithole and Leopold Takawira.
The list is long. Whatever particular issue they queried with the governments of those times, all zeroed in on the need for political sovereignty of the indigenous peoples.
Demonstrations and stone-throwing by organised labour and political negotiations of various types were part of the strategies employed by our early political leaders.
These never worked because the governments of the day were convinced that their superior weaponry that helped them win the First Chimurenga could guarantee victory in the event of any hostilities erupting.
Eventually, when the African nationalist leaders realised that the power of the settler government lay with superior weaponry, they embarked on the Second Chimurenga.
This time they were not demonstrating in the streets or calling for fruitless and endless negotiations. They decided to upgrade their weaponry to match that of the settler government. The trick worked.
With advanced weaponry, together with the support of the people, both local and international, serious negotiations started and culminated in the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980.
What lessons can we learn at this point in time from this part of our history? I equate the current fast-track land reform with street demonstrations and stone-throwing - ineffective at the end of the day. Not ineffective in the sense of failure to allocate land to black Africans, no.
Land can be confiscated or nationalised at any day if the government wishes to do so seriously. The main purpose, in my view, of land reform or any economic indigenisation programme is a balance in the ownership of the wealth in this country. The starting point is not “grabbing”as Amin’s Uganda tried and failed.
Tanzania under Julius Nyerere also tried it with Ujamaa and failed. Closer home and recently, the late President Samora Machel tried it by nationalising Portuguese wealth in Mozambique. We all know that it failed.
How can stone-throwing succeed in the modern times when it has failed elsewhere?
I am not implying here that there are no successful black businessmen or farmers in this country. The problem is that their numbers are significantly few. If they were many enough, then the problem of marginalisation of blacks in the economic mainstream would not be an issue.
In any case, it is important to draw lessons from those successful black businessmen in finding out what made them successful, for the benefit of other blacks and any community of marginalised people.
The finding could be the basis for acquisition of necessary business skills and values needed. All in all, an effective indigenisation programme requires thorough and proper research, and must be well planned, co-ordinated and funded.
This is the agenda for any serious government now or in the future. You cannot achieve this objective through violence or the law of ex-combatants.
In fact, the opposite will be true.
Where has such a well-organised programme of indigenisation taken place in the world? Malaysia, one of the so-called “Asian Tigers", went into a serious indigenisation programme a few years ago and has earned the name “Asian Tiger” because of its success. Not that there were no failures. Far from it! It is said that out of all the effort the country put into indigenising the economy of Malaysia, only 10 percent of the people who participated in the programme have succeeded.
It is this 10 percent that is making the difference!