Let's be practical

HARARE - Principles and ideologies can be outwitted by reality.

Most of the decisions Zimbabwean policy makers tend to make are largely theoretical and somewhat ideological, they cannot be implemented.

This means that populist propaganda which wins the hearts and minds of the hoipolloi is always too good to be true.

Take for instance, the fact that several political parties promised to change the country’s decaying economic fabric within only a 100 days. Politicians are charismatic speakers who can promise you heaven on earth when they don’t even know the way to Mana Pools.

I know that they have to be eloquent and persuasive to earn their way into public office but I have a suggestion that can transform this country’s political landscape.

Political parties should reward merit and distinctive ability. This applies to all sectors of their dealings in the public office. On the allocation of farmland for example, people with degrees in agriculture or known experience in the sector should be considered first.

The idea is not of owning large sums of land but rather being able to sustainably utilise it. The country has so many learning institutions specialising in training and equipping people with valuable information and skills in agriculture.

Such people should be allowed to put that knowledge to good use. Government needs to focus on them to the extent of financing and monitoring their projects.

This means that our land would be in the hands of capable and ambitious people. Consider that the United States allocated a budget of approximately $4,9 billion for cancer research.

Whenever a breakthrough is made through such research, whatever drug they manufacture, still recoups the amounts invested in it. We have so many trained experts who travel overseas to regional and international destinations to develop foreign economies with the knowledge they gained from us.

To this end, I must compliment the ministry of mines for showing a good amount of attention on the subject of diamond beneficiation.

We should train locals in this area to the point where they can contribute to the growth of the economy. I believe that everyone has something to offer when it comes to nation building, however, not everyone is given a fair opportunity to contribute whatever it is they have.

The country’s troubles will subsequently evanescent the moment policy makers focus on utilising our intellectual resources. What is the point educating and training people we do not want to use?

It pains me greatly when we require the services of foreign experts (not that we should never) for a task that can be performed by our own people.

Zimbabwe has looked West and East but at this point in time we should look inside. The indigenisation policy will yield maximum results when the country invests in capable entrepreneurs within the country, and not party loyalists or supporters.

There should be a way of taking care of such people that does not involve the misuse of our resources. Anything that belongs to the State or has the potential of benefitting the masses should never be given to a person who cannot fully utilise it for such purposes.

If one cannot match the level of output a farm, mine or building was contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before it was given to them, such a person does not deserve it.

Being black or loyal to a party or even political ideology is not a trustworthy aesthetic to warrant ownership of State resources.

Our legacy should hinge on identifying and rewarding ability on the grounds of merit. I was shocked when I heard that in the United States, land is given only to those who have a masters in agriculture.

We all deserve land — it’s our heritage — but the amount given to one should be commensurate with one’s ability to effectively utilise it for the benefit of the whole nation.

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