Indigenisation: A Zanu PF election ploy

April 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

As the spectre of elections becomes a certainty, Zanu PF has moved a gear up
in efforts to reincarnate itself from oblivion by espousing a rushed
indigenisation policy onto a reluctant electorate.

But politicians being the liars they are, Zanu PF has so far dismally failed
to charm the people on how indigenisation will benefit anyone gullible
enough to be hoodwinked by the policy to cause a vote for them. Their talk
of Zimbabweans owning their own resources is cheap and empty, evocative of
the monotonous political propaganda voters are now all too familiar with.

As proponents of indigenisation, they have not been able to explain
convincingly how the takeover of Metallon Gold by Saviour Kasukuwere will
benefit us. How are people living outside mining areas, or any other
foreign-owned company earmarked for indigenisation and are not lucky enough
to be part of some employee and management share ownership trust, going to
benefit from the indigenisation programme? I am one of the many citizens of
Zimbabwe still smarting from my failure to benefit from similar Zanu PF
driven processes like land reform because land allocations were done based
on partisan party political lines.

Before the ink is dry on some of the community share ownership schemes so
far signed, complaints are already filtering from chiefs and residents of
the communities about the lack of transparency in the process and the
marginalisation of community leaders as we have heard in Mhondoro Ngezi.
Questions are already being asked as to whose interests the trusts are
serving, if chiefs who are supposed to be the champions and custodians of
the process on behalf of the communities and government, are themselves
clueless about how the process should be run. This disorder in Zanu PF only
serves to demonstrate that the policy is not only localised in outlook but
hurried and clearly carved out to benefit a few people.

And if one may ask, what is the role of the National Indigenisation Economic
Empowerment Board in all this and what have they done thus far? Or is the
body just another job-creating conduit for cronies, relatives and
girlfriends of those in power.

Zanu PF knows Zimbabweans, particularly the youth, badly need jobs and would
fancy owning natural resources in the communities they live. So they find it
seductive to use the indigenisation as a trump-card to woo voters in the
next elections in the same manner they used the land, and printed money to
“mechanise” farmers as themes for the two most recent elections.

The sad reality, though, is that the same looters of resources will end up
owning these companies because they are the ones with money or have
connections with money.

By hurriedly and forcibly taking over companies, Zanu PF is seeking to
destroy the very same bedrock of economic empowerment they claim to be
building, as they did with the land reform programme — giving farms to
people who did not have the skills or the equipment to work it. Do the
prospective owners of the mines have the resources or the necessary
wherewithal to run the companies, considering that mining is a highly
capital intensive business?

Or, does Zanu PF intend to hand over the grabbed mines to their “fair
weather friends” from the East? Imperialism is imperialism; it cannot be
condoned because it is being done by the Chinese. If, through
indigenisation, our objective as a nation is to get rid of imperialism,
capitalism or any other isms, then this policy must be applied without
favour to any particular group.

However, if media reports are anything to go by, Zanu PF has already begun
selectively implementing this policy by excluding from the exercise their
friends from the East, as shown by their spirited refusal to extend this
policy to our God-given diamond fields in Chiadzwa ostensibly to protect
their personal interests there by proclaiming that alluvial diamond mining
was a preserve of the State.

And so, Zanu PF thinks that the electorate is foolish enough not to see
through their duplicity. Indigenisation is, regrettably, a Zanu PF
electioneering ploy that will not benefit ordinary citizens, and which like
its forerunner, the agrarian reform project, will become another monumental
failure.

Economic empowerment policies such as indigenisation or the land reform are
clearly very noble economic empowerment concepts, but it is their careless
and sheer thoughtlessness and the untransparent manner in which they are
executed that leaves ordinary citizens asking whether these policies are
meant to benefit anybody ordinary.

BY JUSTIN TUMISAI MAKOMBE

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