The Herald (Harare)

11 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Juice, Much Ado About Nothing

opinion

The MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai recently launched its long-awaited economic blueprint.

Entitled Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Ecology (Juice), the blueprint was not worth the wait.

Juice was meant to square up with Zanu-PF's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Programme.

The timing of the launch obviously exposed the intention of the pseudo labour party. MDC-T was alert that Zanu-PF's appealing theme for its annual conference (indigenise, empower, develop and create employment) would send shock waves within the electorate, thus the policy had targeted to dilute and negate the inevitable fruits of such a revolutionary theme.

Elections are on the horizon amid a shambolic state of affairs within the MDC-T house.

Its support base is on the wane, as confirmed by the recent Freedom House and Afro Barometer surveys.

Juice is, therefore, a desperate election gimmick intended to lure gullible voters. However, a perusal of this document shows that the MDC-T did not invent any wheel, as most of the proposed intervention measures were stolen from Zanu-PF's policies.

Nevertheless, no umbrage is taken at MDC-T, as its leader has since admitted that for the last four years, they "were in transition-being shown keys, being made apprentices, being taught how to run government."

Indeed, the MDC-T is on apprenticeship, but some of the concepts in their Juice are out of the syllabus of their four-year apprenticeship. The MDC-T failed to grasp the concept that its high time Africans should be masters of their economy rather than being perpetual employees. When the Europeans said that blacks are incapable of self-rule, they had people like those who crafted Juice in mind.

If partisan mindset was to be put aside, any sane citizen would prefer to be empowered to being employed. The ballot box will determine which option prevails, come March 2013. I wonder if Tendai Biti and Jacqueline Zwambila, Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia, were supportive of the document, for they once strongly supported indigenisation. The two defended indigenisation saying it had been deliberately misunderstood.

"The policy (indigenisation and empowerment) is designed to empower the ordinary people of Zimbabwe over their country's natural resources through equity sharing with investors," Zwambila said in October 2012.

Despite her wayward behaviour of stripping naked in front embassy staff and attending ex-Rhodesian functions, she had a point which she must impress upon the crafters of Juice.

MDC-T wants to create one million jobs between 2013 and 2017. As a party that emerged from labour movement, the MDC-T still has the mentality that Zimbabweans must be eternal labourers.

MDC-T does not want to talk about indigenisation and empowerment for fear of hating the sensibilities and interests of their political shepherds, who still harbour the dreams of coming back as farmers. The emphasis on job creation exposes MDC-T's future intention of handing over the economic destiny of this country to our erstwhile colonisers.

The MDC-T should visit the small-scale enterprises in Harare if it wants to have an honest opinion on its job creation drive. The young people in this sector, who are having daily takings that exceed that of a degreed civil servant, cannot imagine being on the pay sheet again.

Some of the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora that this writer spoke with over this job creation promise said they wanted to come back home as entrepreneurs. They argued that they had slaved themselves for too long in foreign lands, and would not want to come back and slave themselves again in their motherland.

The MDC-T fails to explain where those jobs will come from considering that the industry has collapsed due to the illegal sanctions that they called for. For the MDC-T to claim that it wants to undo the spell brought about by Zanu-PF is akin to a man, as Abrahim Lincoln would say, who murdered his parents and pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he is an orphan. The MDC-T made the spider web that we are caught up in today.

In 2000, when Zanu-PF Government was in absolute control and when the illegal sanctions were not in existence, Bulawayo for instance, had 350 manufacturing enterprises employing 100 000 workers.

When the MDCs joined Government, things became even worse with 100 companies closing shop in Bulawayo alone, sending over 20 000 workers onto the streets. With such a scenario, everybody is itching to see the miracle that will enable MDC-T to create one million jobs in four years.

The MDCs control the ministries that should allow them to create the one million jobs now.

What is stopping them or what stopped them from creating the one million jobs in the last four years is anyone's guess. They have failed to access lines of credit in the past four years.

If the rate at which they created jobs in the last four years is anything to go by, then the pledge of one million jobs will remain a pipeline dream, only serving as an election gimmick.

MDC-T's policies should never be taken seriously. Some juices are, of course juicy but poisonous.

The civil servants are well placed to comment on the promises of MDC-T. Before it joined Government, MDC-T promised civil servants some hefty salaries. Today, the MDC-T minister in charge of the national purse has refused to increase civil servants' salaries for an historic one year.

His counterpart in the Ministry of Public Service arrogantly refused to, at least, meet the civil servants that they promised hefty salaries.

You really do not need to be clever to see through the hoax packaged as an economic blueprint.

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