9 July 2013

Zimbabwe: Why Be Workers When We Can Own It All?


Historically the study of geography was for different reasons for different races in this country. The colonisers came into the country as explorers and they traversed the length and breadth of the country seeking minerals, largely gold, so that they could improve their lot back home.

These explorers needed a good grasp of geography so that they would not get lost or even stray into other lands to which they had no claim.

In turn, the native was given limited geography lessons to ensure that he did not think his village was the world but go out and look for a job around the country.

However, the African had to be content with working for the European coloniser and extracting minerals for the owners of the mines and also working on the farms for the white farmers who had displaced the black communities to barren lands.

Memories of the skewed ownership patterns that have existed in this country for ages still linger on and they become even more vivid when political parties get on the campaign trail as is the case now.

On one hand there is a call for indigenisation, 100 percent ownership of resources and on the other there is a call for foreign investment and job creation for the Zimbabwean citizen.

There is nothing new in foreign investment and job creation since our forefathers worked in the mines, on the farms owned by foreign investors and many of them died without even a bicycle to their name.

It is against this background that we feel our appreciation of the Zimbabwean map should be anchored on what lies above its land and below the surface in terms of resources that our people should own and improve their standard of living.

In his foreword to the party's 2013 election manifesto launched in Harare at the weekend, President Mugabe said although the empowerment laws in this country state that indigenous Zimbabweans should take control of 51 percent shareholding of all foreign-owned companies, it was Zanu-PF's wish that Zimbabweans take control of all sectors of the economy.

"Over and above this, the policy is to empower indigenous entities to hold 100 percent of equity to start up or take over strategic enterprises across the economy, especially in key sectors such as mining, tourism and agriculture," he said.

We applaud the President and Zanu-PF for such a policy thrust and urge for a roll-out of the indigenisation programme that is transparent and equitable to stop critics right in their tracks. What is becoming apparent is that some of the parties do not have much in terms of programmes to offer to the electorate and hence their pre-occupation with condemning what Zanu-PF has put on the table.

Some of the parties are so apologetic they cannot tell foreigners that when they come into the country they have to conduct business according to our terms.

MDC-T has even gone as far as making promises that it would amend some of our laws meant to empower the majority to please foreigners waiting on the sidelines to pounce on our resources and reverse the gains of our independence struggle.

With or without elections, indigenisation is a sound policy that is geared towards improving the standards of living of our people, who have for generations seen their natural resources being shipped off to foreign lands.

The President has promised that his party would ensure that implementation of indigenisation would be transparent, accountable, tangible and measurable.

This is very key since, detractors have sought to rubbish the whole programme on the accusation that it was not transparent and that it benefited only the elite.

Zimbabweans went to war so that they could have unfettered access to their resources.

Empty slogans and promises of foreign messiahs for the people of Zimbabwe is not what our people need at this juncture after gaining political independence.

Zimbabweans need enabling policies so that they can be economically empowered and be able to create jobs through full exploitation of their resources.

The days of being mere workers for large conglomerates are gone and we should be masters of our own destiny by seeking partnerships with investors who are willing to partner us with us as minority shareholders.

Without total ownership of our resources, our gallant sons and daughters would have died in vain in the liberation war of this country.

The Americans and Europeans oppose any policy that does not serve their interests and it should be a source of worry if you see them embracing a policy that is meant to benefit indigenous people.

The sanctions were meant to be a stumbling block for Zimbabwe as it bids to reclaim its resources but we should not lose focus but exploit our diamonds, platinum and all other resources for the benefit of Zimbabweans.

Yesteryear Geography lessons that do not go beyond naming our natural resources, among them many minerals, add no value to us as a people, hence we advocate a new thrust of identifying the resources for ourselves not for foreign masters.

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