Indigenization-The ZAPU way

zapuAcres of space have been devoted in recent days on the topical subject of indigenization. Proponents of the indigenization law have taken some sophisticated as well as some unorthodox initiatives in an effort to win the hearts and souls of the would-be beneficiaries-the masses. (Pictured: Dumiso Dabengwa)

Seminars have been conducted at strategic locations in order to test the reaction of a particular group of people towards this indigenization crusade. First to play host to the sophisticated ones among us was none other than the City of Kings (and Queens) where the inaugural public discussion was held. Most among us thought then that the choice of Bulawayo was a welcome development until the indigenization brigade met the white-only business community. Although the Bulawayo meeting only managed to provoke small murmurs of disapproval, the white community released tremors that not even Mr. Tyson could handle, forcing him to walk out in protest. Talking of walk outs, anyone ever noticed the consistency with which the once mighty members of a once Mighty ZANU (PF) are doing these days? One lesson can be drawn from these two meetings, that to those that govern us, we are still compartmentalized as particular groups. Each measured by its resistance, real or imagined, to government policy (read ZANU (PF)), especially the most controversial ones. So, just like when someone tests the depth of water in a river, you start with the deeper end of the river and if you conquer that part, the rest is mutserendende (easy going).The AmaNdebele and the whites became the best thermometer. There lies their sophistication.

The most recent, and breathtaking stunt by the movers of the indigenization motion was the invitation of the controversial ANC Youth League President, one Julius Malema to come to buttress this controversial law. Equally breathtaking was the coincidence with which his arrival in Zimbabwe soon after causing a storm in his homeland for saying, through song, that whites, and in particular farmers, must be shot and killed, this soon after Zimbabwe whites caused Mr. Tyson and his AAG friends to flee a public debate over the same law. Is it surprising therefore that his (Malema) arrival was greeted by the same song soon after landing at the Harare International airport? There is no price for guessing who this Ballard was directed at, the same bhunus who humiliated our saviors at a public meeting in Harare. The mystery of all this is how on earth did Zimbabwean fellows, some of them whole ministers, learn and master the lyrics of this Zulu song when they cant sing, let alone sing-along in any one of Lovemore Majaivana or Solomon Skhuzas simple Ndebele songs (assuming they even know who Solomon Skhuza is).Equally shocking is the treatment Julius Malema was given by our generous hosts. His treatment was just short of that accorded to a Heads of State. The question that begs an answer therefore is what value did this 29 year old Comrade bring in marketing this controversial bill. One can be forgiven to conclude that the controversial law, designed, packaged and delivered by a controversial group of people, is more appealing to the equally controversial Malema because his actual value to all associated with him is just that- Controversy. There lies their lack of sophistication.

While this debate about this law is healthy, and the diverse views peddled around good for our democracy, there is no doubt on the necessity of redressing the economic imbalances created by commission (by the colonial regime) and by omission (by the ZANU (PF) regime thirty years on. Most participants in this important debate differ on the methodology of implementing this law. Some even go further to question the timing of this project. While all this is well and good, very few are offering alternatives. Others are taking this opportunity to rebrand themselves as lone voices of reason inside one fractious party in order to position themselves for leadership positions when the right opportunity presents itself. These are known in that party as the young Turks. They are standing ready to remind us one day that they told everyone, and no one listened, and therefore although still ZANU (PF), they deserve a chance to lead this country. However, what is more worrying is that it could be a grand plan by the grand-master himself to create wolves and doves in his party so that we pour all sorts of scorn on his wolves while we warm up to his doves who would eventually succeed the grand-master with our blessings. Fellow Zimbabweans, beware of wolves in sheep skin. The picture of some fellows hugging each other at Donnington farm says it all. Same fanana!

ZAPU, formerly launched in 1961, and led by Comrade Joshua Nkomo, once offered practical solutions to one of the most emotive issues of our times-the Land question. Not only did ZAPU plan and offer solutions, the party actually acquired farms for both cooperatives and resettlement for its members and ex-combatants. Of major importance here is that during this acquisition process, not even a single human head was chopped off by a machete wielding mob. No blood was shed during this revolution, no wonder why it was never called Chimurenga this or that. It was well planned and well coordinated. That model is still available for those interested and it is still relevant even today. The tragedy is that not only did the government of that day spurn that plan, but they went on to forcibly seize the farms acquired by ZAPU and up to this day, those farms have not been returned to its rightful owners. As a consequence, that model, and many other economic policies espoused by ZAPU died a painful natural death.

ZAPU today, having formerly withdrawn from the Unity Accord with ZANU (PF) of 1987 in December 2008, and led by a living legend called Dumiso Dabengwa, is only too happy to offer our beautiful country a practical and sustainable solution to the indigenization matrix. Our solution has its foundations deeply rooted at the actual motive and need of indigenizing our economy. While others are doing this to extort sympathy from the voting public, ZAPU is motivated by the fact that Zimbabwe is probably the richest countries in the world, but home to the poorest people in the world, and that isnt cool at all. ZAPU is further saddened by the fact that Zimbabweans have gotten used to their poverty they now believe that its not possible to live a happy, fulfilling life as long as you are Zimbabwean. The solution, Dear reader is giving power back to the people. The tragedy of our times is that at independence, we were all made to believe that the slogan power to the people simply meant a black government. As a result, power was merely transferred from a white minority to a black minority. The tragedy of our recent times is that when movements promise change, and even identify themselves with change, they are actually telling us that they want to remove Mr. Mugabe and his cronies and replace him with another minority elite. Is that the change we want? The change, and as a result of that, the indigenization of the economy that we want is simply devolution of power to provinces. It is no secret that the marginalized ones are not found in the leafy suburbs of Borrowdale. They are found deep in the bushes of Nyanyadzi in Manicaland, Silobela in Midlands, Malipati, Checheche, Gwatemba, Slalatshani and Dombodzvuku. These are the dying people in the countryside who should benefit from resources in their locality. This is how.

Devolution of power to provinces means that each province will have its elected parliament which shall identify all commodities of economic value and ensure that those commodities are exploited to their full potential. This parliament shall also pass legislation on how those exploiting these commodities plough back part of their earnings to the community. Proceeds of which shall be channeled to infrastructure development like schools, clinics, roads etc. That way, everyone becomes a stakeholder in the preservation of resources and development of their own province. Can you imagine that people from Chiadzwa are not only among the poorest in the country, but do not have the basic of basic infrastructure despite the fact that God, and their ancestors blessed them with mineral wealth. This while people from another corner of the country are accumulating unbelievable wealth for themselves and their families. Mashonaland West province is blessed with platinum yet the exploitation of that resource benefits not just a few, but mostly foreigners who export platinum ore only to be processed outside our borders where no one can account for the actual yield of pure platinum, nor its other by products. All this is as a result of at least bad governance or at worst people from other provinces charged with running a certain Ministry and are busy lining their pockets without worrying about the poor. A Mashonaland West provincial parliament would insist on Implats or is it Zimplats to build a processing plant right in their province to create jobs as well as put the right value of what is exported. A Manicaland provincial parliament would insist that Mbada and Canadile/ ACR build a diamond cutting and processing plant right in Manicaland to create employment and add value to their resource. All this cannot be done by someone from somewhere who is a National Minister, worse if he/she belongs to a certain political party. Imagine one guy from beautiful Mt. Darwin going all the way to Chegutu to claim 51% of all platinum found in Mashonaland West province. Are we then expected to celebrate because a black brother now owns over half of this mineral? How then does Ambuya Chatikobo benefit from that besides the fact that she stands by the roadside and admire a black capitalist driving the most expensive car in the world while she cannot afford a single meal? Meanwhile she is expected to walk 10 km to the nearest clinic only to find that there is no medicine while the Mwana wevhu that owns Zimplats proudly puts on a US$30,000 wrist watch. If this is the indigenization we all want, then the land reform was nothing compared to what is coming. Is this the indigenization we want when Hwange town, the proud producer of coal, goes for days without power when their coal is shipped to light up Harare factories and homes? Is it the indigenization we want when civil servants are paid peanuts when gold is extracted nearly all over the country but benefiting only a few individuals?

ZAPU is very grateful to those that started this debate, but wants to warn the proponents that this time they have touched a very raw nerve, one that knows no ethnicity. It is for that reason that ZAPU calls for an immediate revolution. A revolution against the greedy few who think that they and only they own this country. This is a revolution where every citizen should retreat, physically or spiritually, back to the provinces they come from and defend their resources tenaciously. This revolution requires no firearms, no does it require pangas and machetes, it simply calls on all Zimbabweans, irrespective of party affiliation, ethnicity or race, to campaign and vote for the devolution of power to provinces and the establishment of provincial governments which will have power to decide the best way manage the resources that are found in their areas of jurisdiction in order to benefit those that directly voted them.

Our sincere hope, as ZAPU, is that Zimbabweans this time will take our advice seriously, unlike in 1980. Evidence on the ground already shows that for other political parties, indigenization means empowering and enriching not even a whole ethnic group, but a small fraction of that ethnic who dont only think that they are superior to others but actually call themselves as such. What is even worse is that this group is now even inviting foreigners from as far as China to come and share the spoils. Do you think the Chinese give a damn if a local clinic works or not? After making a mint the Chinese will catch the first flight to Beijing or some such destination isu tichisara takangoti wundundu. ZAPU s plan, and proposal does not require the Malemas of this world to come and insult us by claiming that certain leaders of certain organizations distaste violence when on the 5th of April 1986, General Lookout Masuku died handcuffed to his sick bed when his only crime was liberating this country. We dont need Malema to tell us that these same leaders today have suddenly become saints when over 20,000 innocent lives were lost as well as over 200 more during the last elections. Mr. Malema (who one praise singer/imbongi, can describe him as ilema la Malema), surely knows who Minister Kasukuwere is, who Dr. Gono, who Absolom Skhosana is, but does he know a fellow called Tichaona Chiminya or Patrick Nabanyana? The recent visit by Malema and his subsequent utterances shall remain the worst insult to Zimbabweans by a South African only second to the xenophobic attacks suffered by Zimbabweans in South Africa

Mso Ndlovu is the Secretary for Administration for ZAPU (Northern Region)

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