Trapping national psyche in deception

HARARE - Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere was captured by the media laughing hilariously alongside Zimplats senior staff while signing the “empowerment” deal recently.

Kasukuwere has increasingly become the face of the indigenisation and empowerment drive with occasional bursts of support from President Robert Mugabe and other party members.

 More importantly, the indigenisation programme has gripped the national psyche so much that all leading political parties have anchored their political fortunes on this matter, albeit with varying and contesting definitions of what empowerment means and how it should be done.   

The word empowerment has been abused and is now synonymous with Zanu PF electioneering more than economic development and prosperity for all.

On the other side the MDC parties appear prevaricating on this matter, hesitant of countering Zanu PF more aggressively, obviously fearing being labelled “anti-black”, “anti-African” and “pro- western capitalists”.

 In support of the programme, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zanu PF is prepared to leave the minerals as they are, that is deep underground, until that time the right partner comes on board and/or when those who share “Zanu PF’s beliefs” come on board. We all know that Mnangagwa facilitated the building of the military college as well as Zanu PFs Hall of shame in Gweru using Chinese money and labour.

So those who will come in according to Mngangwa are the same Chinese who will take the minerals from the ground for nothing. This is not to attack Chinese investment, but rather our leadership that is not only inept but would rather sell the family silver for a song as long as their pockets are lined.

Mnangagwa is not only well-fed and housed but probably has everything he can ever need. He does not see the need to use Zimbabwe’s wealth to develop this country as long as his political and personal interests are taken care of. The same applies to Kasukuwere, who is not explaining how grabbing shares, which results in declining investments will lead to wealth creation. We have to ask Kasukuwere, what will happen the day he has grabbed everything and there is nothing else to grab? Kasukuwere is not telling us the truth, that simply grabbing companies is not synonymous with wealth creation.

If there are as much minerals underground, as we are made to believe, then why doesn’t the government support indigenous-owned mines? Why does the government buy Prados and Jeeps from outside the country when Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry can supply four-wheel drives for the dear ministers?

Who has forgotten what happened to Zupco, GMB and many other such state-owned enterprises?

Kasukuwere is not telling us the truth, that even countries such as China have developed not because they were grabbing shares from foreigners, but were attracting investment that in turn led to capacity and technological development, as well as knowledge transfer.

Kasukuwere is not telling us companies and mines he is grabbing are using archaic and rudimentary technology in production, hence can run to the ground so easily and so soon should the tensions with investors continue.

The truth of the matter is that Zimbabwe is being made poorer by being cut off from the rest of the world through this self-serving and politically-motivated policy.

Zimbabweans only have to look at the farms that were grabbed by Zanu PF.

Some used to export horticultural products and as of now there is only wild grass to contend with.

The celebrated tobacco farming has resulted in more peasant farmers becoming poorer and captive to capital barons who year in and year out give them “loans” to grow tobacco yet leave them with nothing at the end of the season.  

Many of us have had to bail out relatives who are starving after growing tobacco. While the broad concept of empowerment is acceptable, the Zanu PF version of empowerment is deceptive.

It is more of a personal wealth grab at the expense of broad-based empowerment.

I have tried without success to understand how the grabbing of Zimplats shares and those of other companies would benefit me as an individual and many of my relatives deep in Wedza with no success.

And never will until everything Kasukuwere grabs turns to dust, like Zupco and NRZ. - David Mutomba

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