Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Saturday, 14 April 2012 21:14
Deputy News Editor
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with former British leader Gordon Brown. Political analysts are questioning why a local political party which claims not to be a front of the West should go against the emancipation of the previously marginalised black majority.
The MDC-T has called for the immediate halting of the hugely popular indigenisation and empowerment programme, labelling the drive, which is aimed at addressing colonial injustices by empowering the black majority, an “asset-stripping” exercise.
Political analysts immediately castigated the MDC-T national council resolutions passed at a meeting held at Harvest House on Thursday, questioning why a local political party which claims not to be a front of the West should go against the emancipation of the previously marginalised.
As did Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere in a letter to members of the Zanu-PF Youth League last week, the analysts accused the party of trying to protect white capital at the expense of their kith and kin.
Despite thousands of people having already benefited through several community share ownership trusts as well as worker empowerment programmes, the MDC-T’s top decision-making body resolved not to support efforts to empower the black majority, arguing that “it is not driven by demand”.
It suggests that instead of owning equity in multi-national companies, the majority of Zimbabweans would rather have jobs for their upliftment.
Despite backing the passing of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act in Parliament, the MDC-T makes a sensational flip-flop and seeks to disassociate itself from the process, which it describes as a Zanu-PF initiative aimed at haemorrhaging the country’s economy.
“Aware of Zanu-PF machinations of asset stripping, looting, patronage, clientelism, corruption and self-aggrandisement euphemistically referred to as indigenisation and empowerment;
“Aware of Zanu-PF’s enthusiasm for destruction and its manoeuvres to destroy the Zimbabwe economy through this programme of indigenisation and empowerment; “Disgusted by the Minister of Youth (Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment), Saviour Kasukuwere’s proclamation in the public Press on Thursday April 5, 2012 in which he announced that with immediate effect, 51 percent of all shareholding in mining companies was now vested with the State.
“The party boldly restates that Zanu-PF’s programme does not comply with its own laws and is based on patronage and clientelism, is not demand driven and, in any event, is based on a narrow model of transferring shares to a few black elite that can afford them and does not amount to genuine wealth creation and distribution to the poor people of Zimbabwe.
“Furthermore, the MDC restates that Kasukuwere’s proclamation is null and void and in total breach of the Constitution and that Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans need jobs, investment and upliftment. The Party, therefore, calls for the starting afresh of the whole programme and the development of a genuine broad-based upliftment programme, which balances the need to attract investment, grow the economy and create jobs,” reads a section of the MDC-T national council resolutions on indigenisation and empowerment.
However, in separate interviews yesterday, political analysts and empowerment lobby groups roundly condemned the party for going against the wishes of the majority.
Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Science at the National University of Science and Technology Dr Lawton Hikwa criticised the MDC-T for shooting down the empowerment drive without proffering solutions.
“Criticising a policy without offering solutions to the deemed demerits of it is an exercise in futility,” he said.
“It is not surprising that the MDC-T is shooting down the empowerment drive because this is a programme promulgated by Zanu-PF and, naturally, any opposition party is bound to disagree with it.
“It must also be noted that there is a huge ideological difference between the two parties. Zanu-PF is revolutionary while the MDC-T is what some people term ‘a modern day party that has no revolutionary roots to talk of.’”
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) president Mr Keith Guzha accused MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his party of trying to get the empowerment drive off the rails.
“Whilst it is common knowledge that the MDC is known for grandstanding so as to remain relevant to their foreign masters, this should not come at the expense of the ordinary man in the street who sees this Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act as an instrument which was designed by Government to alleviate poverty.
“The AAG is dismayed by the characterisation of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act as a tool used by Zanu-PF to self-enrich its supporters. While the AAG stands for transparency and equitable distribution of resources, the schoolboy tactics of trying to delay the implementation of this Act will not be acceptable to us because we have a mandate from our members to pursue and pressure Government to fulfil this empowerment obligation to its people.”
At the beginning of the year, Government indicated that it intends to set up 45 community share ownership trusts as well as 75 employee and 35 management schemes as part of measures aimed at adding impetus to the empowerment drive. The initiative is expected to economically empower hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans. The employee scheme has already seen workers at companies such as Zimplats and Schweppes getting some shareholding.