Indigenisation a euphemism for asset-stripping

Indigenization Policy a Euphemism for National Asset-Stripping

Indigenization of at least 51% of ownership of businesses has, through General Notice 280 of 2012 been extended to cover all important sectors beyond mining to include finance, tourism, entertainment, energy services, transport, communications and education.

12 July 2012

Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

This euphemism for national asset-grabbing driven by Zanu PF minister Saviour Kasukuwere is designed to enrich a few in a way that will trigger the collapse of the economy. This policy has been fiercely resisted not only by the pro-democracy movement, but, interestingly enough, by staunch Zanu PF allies including Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono.

Referring to the banking sector, Gono recently accused Kasukuwere of seeking to interfere with the sector when he had presided over bank that collapsed due to mismanagement. There is a sense, perhaps justified, among certain elements within Zanu PF engaged in sunset politics that a change of government is imminent, and as such, there should be a looting spree now, before change comes. The next government will inherit a shell of a country.

A similar approach was used regarding to so-called land reform program the led to a collapse of the agriculture industry when the political elite grabbed for themselves multiple farms which were not properly utilized. Despite the SADC-brokered Global Political Agreement directing that there be a comprehensive land audit to expose these multiple farm owners, such moves have been fiercely resisted. It a scorched earth policy – where those in power now want to loot everything and leave nothing behind. For the sake of posterity this must be resisted in this transitional period.

As a colleague recently explained, it is not that Zanu PF is so strong that it is able to get away with such damaging policies, but the pro-democracy movement is weak. And, as another colleague pointed out, this transition will be as strong as the pro-democracy movement. There is need now to raise the stakes to challenge the loot and plunder approach that is taking place in the name of the people of Zimbabwe.

A number of individuals in Zanu PF are opposed to loot and plunder approach, just as the bulk of the army is opposed to a partisan and politicized military leadership. It is crucial that this observation be publicized, so that the world knows that it is not a formidable, united force that we are fighting, but a disjointed, fractured force driven largely by greed and kleptomania.

To illustrate the depth of fault lines among Zanu PF allies, a representative of the Affirmative Action Group, Keith Guzha, recently condemned the indigenization policy and pointed out that in was not benefiting ordinary Zimbabweans. It would be interesting to establish the identity of those individuals benefiting from the indigenization policy. A quick look at the diamond industry reveals that diamonds are for those closely connected to the military and to Zanu PF, and not ordinary citizens. Repeatedly, finance minister Tendai Biti has complained that there is absolutely no accountability for diamond revenue which is not getting to treasury.

Perhaps it is high time the pro-democracy movement gets its act together and rallies around a common call for accountability in the interests of current and future generations. A national, peaceful march in protest against the loot and plunder of national resources would be a good starting point to pressure the political elite to act in the genuine interest of all Zimbabweans.

Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition