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Why indigenization will not revive Zimbabwe

Vince Musewe says Zanu-PF continues to insult our intelligence with its proposals.

By Vince Musewe

Are we so naive to believe that a political party that has been in power for thirty two years and failed dismally can suddenly be the champion of creating wealth for all of us?

Vince Musewe
Vince Musewe

After listening to the economic crisis within the European Union and the solutions that are being promoted, I remain frustrated if not angry, at how we have got things so wrong here in Zimbabwe.

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All over the world, presidents, including those seeking to occupy office, are trying to grapple with how to restore economic growth within their economies and how to create more jobs to address the widespread unemployment and poverty.

Their sole focus is on how to stimulate their economies through new investments in technology and encourage entrepreneurs to invest in their countries in order to create jobs. They are competing for investors and doing all they can to attract them into their countries.

They are all at pains to try and convince voters of their integrity and how they will create a transparent and accountable government that promotes free enterprise prosperity for all and individual freedoms.

In the mean time, here in Zimbabwe, ZANU (PF) is doing all it can to actually discourage foreign investment. It even has the audacity to suggest that we do not need foreign capital and must revive the Zimbabwe dollar as a solution to the lack of money.

They are talking up how we must now take over existing companies in all sectors as opposed to creating new ones or reviving those that are operating at low capacity as is the case with most indigenous owned enterprises.

The army has even become an economic expert, and is suggesting that if necessary, we must sit on our mineral resources (e.g. platinum) until they decide who can invest. We all know that this means that we must all wait until they get “suitable partners” to partner with them as is the case with our diamonds.

Forget the fact that millions of Zimbabweans are desperate for jobs and poverty is increasing by the day. If indeed ZANU (PF) were serious about our future, I think first they would admit that they have made serious mistakes in the past and try to convince us that it will not happen again.

They would admit that their economic policy has not led to the development of Zimbabwe but rather to its underdevelopment and the concentration of wealth in a few hands. They would apologize to both victims of Gukurahundi and offer reparations and do the same for those who suffered under Operation Murambatsvina.

They would open up the airwaves and agree to a land audit and tell us how they will revive agriculture. If indeed they want to re-engineer themselves, they would begin to at least demonstrate that their agenda is about the ordinary Zimbabwean and not merely holding onto power.

More important, they would purge their party of the oldies and inject younger fresh thinking Zimbabweans to take the country forward.

An old and very wise lady in Highfields (a township in Harare) sat me down recently and asked me the following rather sad questions;

Are we so naive to believe that a political party that has been in power for thirty two years and failed dismally to manage the economy can suddenly be the champion of creating wealth for all of us under empowerment or indigenization?

Can a political party that has spectacularly failed to ensure consistent energy supplies, clean water, tarred roads, and access to affordable health, education and housing, suddenly be competent enough to provide same? 

Is it imaginable that a political party that has failed our business sector and stifled potential by hounding black entrepreneurs and new thinkers amongst us, claim that today they want ordinary Zimbabweans to have a stake this economy.

Can a political party that seems so scared of an open media, new communication technologies such as the internet; really lead us into the next century? 

I too, continue to be dumbfounded at how ZANU (PF) continues to insult our intelligence that they indeed have a plan and that 100% indigenization will lead to economic growth and job creation. We need only look at their record in agriculture and the diamond mining sectors. It is hardly about you and me and our economic well being. That has never been on the agenda because if it was, we would not be where we are today.

I would advise that ZANU (PF) does some soul searching and realize that any goodwill that they may have created in the past has all but evaporated because they simply have shown no compassion to Zimbabweans. The past is important but dwelling on it does not allow us to shape a new country. Let younger energetic and more exposed Zimbabweans now come to the fore because times have moved on.

Let me repeat my message; indigenization as contemplated by ZANU (PF) will NOT grow this economy and produce the jobs we need. It will not attract new investors nor will it attract those in the Diaspora to come back and contribute.

In my opinion, the campaign to “Broaden empowerment” seems more about broadening the trough from which the greedy will continue to feed while millions of Zimbabweans continue to live in poverty. No country in this world has ever put asset ownership by locals central to its economic policy and succeeded. It is indeed an important issue but is not fundamental to economic revival.

We are sadly a divided nation, but I truly believe that all reasonable men, even those within ZANU (PF), cannot deny the fact that our country has so much potential only if we begin to be honest and forthright on what will work and what will not. The concentration of economic and political power within a single political party is no longer an acceptable option to most Zimbabweans.

I therefore encourage those Zimbabweans who are progressive to raise their voices and increase their efforts to ensure that by this time next year, our country will be in responsible hands so that for once, we can revive the dreams and aspirations of 12 million Zimbabweans who have had to live substandard for so long, and the 5 million who have left their motherland in disgust but long to come back home and rebuild their country.

For goodness sake, we are much more that we can ever imagine if only we were united as a country. Our foremost concern now must be how we can make Zimbabwe take its rightful place in Africa.

Let those who have ears hear.

Vince Musewe is an economic analyst in Harare. You may contact him on [email protected]