'Indigenisation must be war against inequality, poverty, unemployment'

HARARE - Small-minded revolutionaries will always claim credit for everything that happens subsequent to it.  

So when Jonathan Moyo notwithstanding his role as a legislator asserts that the credit for all the indigenisation transactions concluded to date including the controversial Zimplats Indigenisation Transaction (ZIT) ought to be reserved not to the government of the day but to Zanu PF, he is not alone.

Zanu PF is a juristic person and, therefore, indivisible in as much as a human being cannot be divided into pieces and still remain a living being.  

Equally, the Government of Zimbabwe exists as a person separate and distinct from the people who constitute it.

Although the Constitution of Zimbabwe sets out the legal basis of the government, it is normal that human beings for political expediency would wish the distinction between the State and the ruling party to be blurred sufficiently to allow political parties to claim credit for the choices and actions of citizens.

Ordinarily, a State actor should be barred from claiming credit for the advance of the nation for such progress is only possible if the citizens are the true authors of the progress realised.

Whose responsibility is it to transform the inherited political economy?  

For political activists, this assignment belongs to State actors.  

However, for rational people, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the people who want their quality of life to improve.

The expectation that poverty, inequality and unemployment that characterised the colonial order would be reduced after independence has yet to be realised.

The indigenisation programme has to be looked at in the context of the war against the triple challenges.
 
One, therefore, expects the programme to facilitate the reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

So far, even the most ardent supporters of indigenisation as a cure of the colonial economic injury would agree that the transactions concluded will not materially change the quality of life of all Zimbabweans.

The programme has conveniently targeted companies that are successfully operating and has avoided the limping or unsuccessful enterprises.  

This opportunistic approach to transformation is doomed to fail but nevertheless it is great for public relations.

History often repeats itself.  I can only share my experiences in the hope that lessons can be drawn.  

When the Nieebgate Scandal broke, given my role in sharing insights and ideas with the team tasked with the responsibility of implementing the indigenisation programme on behalf of the government, I saw this as an opportunity to open debate on key public policy issues that need to be addressed in the interests of moving the agenda of transformation forward.

As a columnist, I could not resist the temptation of adding my voice and face to this defining debate.  
However, I did not expect minister Saviour Kasukuwere to regard my personal intervention as a personal attack on him.

He called twice to establish what my agenda was.  I gave him a piece of my mind but more importantly I provided him with the context in which I believe the issue of Zimplats merits a broader conversation.

I told the minister that it is not sufficient to have a policy that promotes something without the means to protect it.  

The case of SMM was given as an example where the ministry has been conspicuous by its silence.  

He informed me that he had tried privately to intervene but believes that the matter is a private matter between minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and me.  

He also pointed out that this matter is complicated because it involves Edwin Manikai whose former links to me are well established and that he has dedicated his time to prosecuting me.  

I reminded him that George Charamba, who is close to him, has labelled me a deserter and yet a record exists of my collaboration with Kasukuwere on the indigenisation programme and the least I expected was for the minister to tell the public the truth.

I also informed him that the minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa has said in Parliament that vendor financing that was used in the case of SMM violated the provisions of the Companies Act and yet the deals concluded so far have used the same method of financing.  

If vendor financing was illegal for SMM, how could it be legal for Zimplats?  

This is the question I posed to the minister.

Notwithstanding, the minister was at pains to tell me that I should keep my mouth shut.  

He said that he had considered me to be his personal friend and, therefore, the critique of the Zimplats deal had taken him by surprise.  

I told him that I do not regard the critique as personal but he also must appreciate that I am entitled to my views and the last 8 years of the SMM saga has convinced me that people in government can be chameleons.

The discussion with Kasukuwere led me to lean backwards to August 1997.  I provide below an extract of a press release that was addressed to the editor of Parade Magazine whose contents are self-explanatory.

In paragraph 1.1 above, a company that I established in 1995 while still working in the USA is described as an idea that the Midlands Province hatched.  

It is obvious that the information provided to the party was meant to suggest that the idea of acquiring SMM Holdings Private Limited (SMM) was authored by the province whose leadership included Mnangagwa.  

This is the version that people have relied upon to make allegations that I was an agent of the party and, therefore, the credit for the SMM transaction like the Zimplats transaction should be reserved for the party.  

It is ironic that I do not have any roots in the Midlands and yet the context in which the matter is set out would suggest otherwise.  The task force referred to had nothing to do with the SMM transaction as it had already taken place and yet a causal connection is created for political expediency.

The words used above clearly expose a mischief that is not supported by any evidence.  This is what the deputy chairperson of T & N said about the transaction.

The attempt to politicise commercial deals is not unique to Zimbabwe.  

The theft of ideas in the interest of political survival did not start with the Zimplats transaction.  

Well before the birth of the Indigenisation ministry, it would appear that the arms-length commercial transaction had found its way to the politburo of Zanu PF without my knowledge and consent.

The allegations that SMM was a political one are not far-fetched given the attempt to hijack the transaction fully knowing that there was no political involvement in the deal.  

Given this kind of duplicity and hypocrisy, it is difficult to engage in any meaningful discussion on strategies to lift the country up without people looking for glory or trophies.

The beneficiaries of the indigenisation transactions have to be wary of the politicisation of the deals for it is very likely that they will be victimised by the same people who want to claim credit for transactions that can happen in any event without political meddling.  

The mere fact that Zimplats is the vendor in a politicised transaction should be of concern.
 
The credit that the Midlands leadership of Zanu PF got from misrepresenting the SMM acquisition transaction has created its own distortions.  

Kasukuwere said he cannot intervene in the SMM transaction even in the context of correcting the factual and legal record because heavy weights in the party are involved.  

What will happen if the same forces took control of the State, what will happen to the so-called beneficiaries of indigenisation when they choose to stand their own ground?

Is it not ironic that the transaction that I originated was described by Zanu PF as a consequence of the “noble” thinking of the Acquisition Committee?

We all have now learned that Brainworks was at work in the Zimplats deal and will stand to be paid some money when the deal is done.  

I informed Kasukuwere that after using my brains in conceptualising the strategy on indigenisation and helping set up the framework for community ownership schemes, he saw it fit not to remunerate my efforts.

This is not different from the approach of the Zanu PF Acquisition Committee when it came to the services that I rendered on several transactions.

I am the only fool who was appointed advisor without being compensated.  

This kind selective approach to advisory services and remuneration has to form a key part of any review of the transaction.  

The ministry of Indigenisation has no budget to implement the programme and its reliance on so-called vendors must worry any revolutionary worth his salt. -
Mutumwa Mawere

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