28 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Juice and the Million Jobs Deception

MDC-T's Minister Elton Mangoma, in The Saturday Herald of January 5 2013, tells us that the MDC-T "agrees" with indigenisation, but "it is the how part" his party is at odds with. So the MDC-T has given us their alternative, their "how", in the form of Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment.

Juice is at odds with indigenisation's "how", its endeavor to ensure that ownership and control of Zimbabwe's natural resources lies with majority indigenous Zimbabweans.

The alternative being offered by Juice is jobs, a million of them. No wonder the official launch of Juice took so long; the MDC-T was painstakingly counting through the air, auditing the mirage of the one million jobs it now promises us.

Why then does MDC-T "agree" with indigenisation, secretly so? It must be their knowing it is a vehicle for socio-economic transformation in Zimbabwe.

They have a problem with its methodology only because they know it is a potent idea in pursuit of shaping this nation into prosperous greatness.

They were beaten to it, and envy its mobilising force among an increasingly empowered indigenous majority.

Juice is an attempted plagiarism of indigenisation. Like all plagiarism it attempts at being better. Where indigenisation asserts "broad based economic empowerment", Juice now claims "Broad Based Economic (BBE) Upliftment".

The glaring difference is Juice replaces indigenisation's foundation of indigenous ownership of natural resources with its pillars of jobs, foreign investment and capital.

There is in Juice a reflection of the MDC-T psyche, its misplaced hope and trust in things foreign.

It is naivety that reminds of a song by one of Zimbabwe's greats, John Chibadura, about those men who charm women in borrowed suits, a deception realised when the poor woman is bound in matrimony.

Juice is a deceiving suitor, endeavoring to win the electorate's hand upon misrepresentations?

And so Chibadura still warns from the grave; of the MDC-T's juicy proposition, courting us while endowed in the glitter of investment and capital that is not theirs to pamper us with.

It is borrowed foreign attire that can be disgracefully stripped off to public shame. And the MDC-T should know better.

They were denied foreign capital in 2009 when they thought themselves closest to the West's bosom, close enough for our economy to suckle itself back to chubby health.

After three weeks cajoling in Western capitals our MDC-T Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai returned home with less than a third of the US$1 billion promised by an MDC-T surely high on sniffing the air of power upon entering the inclusive Government.

But it has worn off now, the high, and reality bites. Our MDC-T Finance Minister Tendai Biti now declares us hunters and gatherers who must eat what we kill.

If only he knew we already have plenty in local resources to gather and stay off economic starvation.

The problem was and remains that the MDC-T makes promises on foreign resources, both investment and capital, it does not and can never control.

Zanu-PF is a suitor seeking the people's hand while endowed in the wealth of resources from our local backyard, resources within our reach.

It offers the ring of indigenisation knowing that when in government it is capable to laying the wealth and prosperity at our indigenous feet.

Zanu-PF does not propose to restore our economy with foreign capital and investment beyond our control; it will deliver on the back of our natural resources. Theirs is a hard, yet welcome, lesson learned from sanctions.

Now, these juicy million jobs, what will they be mortgaged upon. Surely not the same Western friends of the MDC-T whose foreign capital was denied a desperate Prime Minister after his party had made grand promise of economic salvation to a hungry nation.

The MDC-T must not think us to be the naïve girl wooed by an economic blue print whose glitter is from borrowed luxuries, borrowed juice money.

We must be weary when Minister Mangoma tells us that Juice's "how" is that it will "start with capital injection into the economy so that you grow the cake, so that when the cake is grown you begin to do the things to empower the people in terms of ownership."

But Mangoma fails to educate us further on where this capital will best be derived.

Will Prime Minister Tsvangirai confidently return West, thinking their first denial was because Zanu-PF remained in Government?

Far from it honorable Prime Minister; you were denied foreign capital because of Zimbabwe's decade of economic emancipation policies that have guided its indigenous people to reclaim their land and natural resources from foreign monopoly.

Shall Prime Minister Tsvangirai, should he ever become head of State, be prepared to surrender our gains in restoring ownership of our land and natural resources, return monopoly to foreign investors? All for the sake of foreign capital given only to create labour to facilitate maximum exploitation of our natural resources.

A million jobs without guarantee after foreign investors exhaust our finite natural resources.

Juice fails to inform us on where an MDC-T government implementing Juice would get capital to inject into the Zimbabwean economy, if not from the foreign capital denied Tsvangirai in 2009.

The only other sources of capital surely is our vast natural resources, among the world's largest deposits. But will an MDC-T government be bold enough to exploit our natural resources it prefers to have retained by foreign investors in the name of property rights gotten upon a colonial legacy?

While Juice aspires to "help people gain control over their own lives . . . " it is ignorant to the realities of power; that power lies in the people's control of resources.

It is only wealth generated from our natural resources that shall facilitate social transformation and bestow power upon our historically deprived and economically dehumanised indigenous majority.

The problem with the MDC-T, reflected within Juice, is that it sees indigenisation only within the frame of its fear and hate for Zanu-PF, never within the national cause and interest.

The Democrats should have advised our Prime Minister that what comes first is the national interest, exemplified by a newly elected Obama's nomination of a Republican to head the world's most destructive army.

The MDC-T has again sought to belittle a significant matter of national interest. Its spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, soon after Zimplats agreed to vend over 51 percent shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans, was quick to maliciously allege that Zanu-PF would use the shares to raise money for perpetrating violence, see The Standard, 13-19 January 2013. Learned colleague, honestly?

Gross lies at it again. Surely learned colleague, you must know as the agreement speaks, it is not Zanu-PF that will acquire the Zimplats shares but a broad base of Zimbabwe's indigenous majority who include the at least 4 000 Zimplats employees (10 percent), community trusts (10 percent) and NIEEF (31 percent).

How then shall these shares be at the disposal of Zanu-PF?

Another misrepresentation by the MDC-T spokesperson is that the Zimplats deal amounted to asset grabbing.

Did he not hear Kasukuwere state that the shares are being acquired for value? Better still was the Implats' CEO not more convincing, that he was glad about the "certainty" now guaranteed Zimplats operations.

The MDC-T's spokesperson fails to acknowledge the economic coup in US$971 million worth of shares in the world's second largest platinum miner now being guaranteed indigenous Zimbabweans.

But then Mwonzora goes on to contradict his disapproval of a Zanu-PF policy facilitating the Zimplats victory.

He says he wishes the Zimplats shares should have been placed under an MDC-T led Ministry of Finance and not NIEEEF.

Has he not made us believe the shares acquired due to Zanu-PF's indigenisation policy to be a curse surely to tarnish the Finance Minister's purse and the MDC-T's Juice principles.

Now that the rabbit has been caught the MDC-T wants it placed in its pot, after having starved the dogs that caught the damn rabbit.

The truth about Mangoma, Mwonzora and the MDC-T being at odds with indigenisation's "how" is that of envy, envy flamed by the MDC-T Prime Minister and Finance Minister's failure to raise foreign capital from perceived western friends during their four years in Government.

The MDC-T dreads accounting to the Zimbabwean majority on the eve of elections, and now seek to appease our hunger with a million futuristic jobs.

Juice falsely alleges that Zanu-PF's indigenisation is about replacing foreign capitalists with African capitalists connected to power with no difference to accumulation and consumption. Yet the reality on the ground is broad based economic empowerment.

Zanu-PF's indigenisation policy has already begun to raise significant capital, securing wealth for the indigenous majority through the NIEEF, employee schemes and local community trusts, all vehicles guaranteeing economic emancipation and prosperity to our indigenous majority.

Already, almost US$4 billion worth of shares have been secured for our indigenous majority.

Another US$115 000 000 has already begun to flow directly into the local accounts of community share ownership trusts for facilitating economic and enterprise development in rural communities.

This is capital coming from the indigenous share being secured in our natural resources. We can comfortably declare then, that on the "how" of injecting capital into the Zimbabwean economy it is currently Indigenisation One - Juice Nil.

Now, let's us turn to the next critical arena, that of Jobs. Which policy presents the best guarantee of sustainable job, jobs guaranteeing our dignity and socio-economic welfare.

The MDC-T has already declared itself rainmaker, showering us with a million jobs. But their "Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born" not a single one among the million.

Let us, we the people, adjudicate on "how" Juice will deliver us our million jobs. Let's meet, "PaDare reEmpowerment" then, in Part Two.

Rangu Nyamurundira is a lawyer and indigenisation/empowerment consultant based in Harare.

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