20 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Vows to Undo Indigenisation

Photo: MDC
MDC-T supporters at a recent rally in Harare.

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has vowed to reverse Zanu-PF's indigenisation and economic empowerment drive if he assumes power, saying most farmers who benefited from land reform will be brought back to urban centres to work in the industries.

He made the revelations while addressing an MDC-T star rally at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare, yesterday.

The MDC-T leader, whose party has been struggling to come up with a manifesto ahead of the harmonised elections, said a reversal of land reform and the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive were some of the policies his party's policy conference adopted on Saturday, as he gave his strongest indication that his party still held a brief for white commercial farmers and foreign capital ahead of elections.

The land reform programme, which benefited over 300 000 black families from farms that were monopolised by 6 000 white farmers, has been hailed as a success by African and Western scholars with several Western journalists recently joining the bandwagon while the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive has spawned 59 community share ownership schemes and several employee ownership trusts countrywide.

"We can't build an economy that survives on peasants. Having everyone going into farming is not sustainable. We have to remove people from the farms to the industries than removing people from the industries to the farms because I don't see that working.

"In order to develop an economy, there is a need to have most people employed while a few who want to get into farming can go there.

"We can't talk of indigenisation without empowerment, indigenisation without empowering the broad majority is selfish and only meant for a few. I want to assure you we will review that indigenisation law so that we create an empowerment law for the majority of the people of Zimbabwe."

Mr Tsvangirai said his party did not believe in indigenising existing businesses because the cake "was too small" adding that his Government would be preoccupied with creating employment.

The indigenisation and economic empowerment programme is, however, geared at creating jobs on the back of a genuine, wealth-creating black middle class owning majority shareholding in all foreign-owned firms.

In his address, Youth Assembly chairperson Mr Solomon Madzore, said the harmonised elections would be a litmus test for the MDC-T.

"This election has nothing to do with the MPs or councillors. If we fail to take this man (Mr Tsvangirai) to the State House then we are finished. This is our last chance," Mr Madzore said.

Opinion polls done by a number of organisations, most of which have traditionally backed MDC-T, indicate the party will lose the elections due to its failure to articulate practical policies to shape a government, while rampant corruption in its rank and file has also alienated the party from voters.

Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai who is also Prime Minister in the inclusive Government said massive voter registration would be conducted for the whole month after President Mugabe signs the Constitutional Bill into law.

He said Government agreed that all schools would be turned into voter registration centres because most people had failed to register during the blitz that ended last night.

Mr Tsvangirai said after the one-month registration exercise there would be another one month for voter inspection.

He reiterated his party's stance that there was a myriad of reforms that needed to be done before elections, among them security sector and media reforms.

Mr Tsvangirai who claims to be a proponent of democracy and freedom of the Press, however, threatened the State media with unspecified action for allegedly covering him negatively.

He also claimed that Sadc, the African Union and the international community were behind his party's calls for the so-called reforms before the polls.

Mr Tsvangirai also bought into plans to transform Jomic into a fully-fledged election monitoring body, a plan that drew the ire of parties outside Government that say Jomic's life ends with the dissolution of the inclusive Government on the eve of the harmonised elections.

Sources close to developments say some Western countries, among them Britain, the US and the EU have pumped undisclosed sums of money into Jomic to finance the acquisition of material and human resources ahead of the elections.

This, observers say, appeared designed to give these countries that Government says will be barred from observing elections on account of the sanctions they imposed, a chance to monitor the elections by proxy.

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