Indigenisation, land reform rapped

Liberation war hero and Zimbabwe Liberators Platform founder, Wilfred Mhanda, has poured cold water on the much vaunted land reform and indigenisation programs, describing them as “knee jerk reactions”.

Wilfred Mhanda
Wilfred Mhanda

Speaking at a recent MDC-T lecture, Mhanda said the two programmes were an admission by President Robert Mugabe of the lack of an effective vision to empower the people.

“It is a stark admission of the failure by our leaders of the absence of a proper socio-economic transformative agenda that was supposed to benefit our people.

“Had there been a sound black economic empowerment initiative at independence and a proper land redistribution program, we would not have embarked on these very destructive programs that have not benefited anyone.

They have become prescriptive remedies worse than the maladies they are supposed to correct,” said Mhanda.

President Mugabe’s government embarked on a fast track land redistribution programme from 2000 shortly after the majority voted ‘‘No’’ during a constitutional referendum, purportedly to resettle thousands of landless blacks.

The programme has been dismissed by critics as a populist strategy meant to regain the hearts of Zimbabweans at a time the MDC had just emerged as a serious challenger to Zanu (PF).

President Mugabe’s party has also been pressing ahead with an indigenisation programme that entails seizing a 51 percent stake from foreign owned businesses to give to locals.

Mhanda said the widespread poverty burdening the country showed government’s lack of an effective social agenda.

“This (poverty) is a telling indictment of the liberation struggle and people question why they took up arms and supported those who participated in the (war to liberate the country from colonial rule,” said Mhanda, adding that democratic forces in Zimbabwe should come together to remove President Mugabe from power.

“As long as we work together, there is nothing impossible and we urge the MDC to teach its supporters that freedom…does not come cheap.

There is speculation that ZLP is seeking stronger ties with the MDC-T to weaken the Zanu (PF) aligned war veterans movement.

Meanwhile, over three million Zimbabweans have lost jobs due to the controversial land redistribution programme that President Robert Mugabe’s government adopted in 2000 and unpopular policies driving away investors, an economist told The Zimbabwean.

Harare based economic consultant, John Robertson said the chaotic land reform programme that was introduced by Zanu PF government in 2000 accelerated the unemployment rate in the country, which is estimated to be over 80 percent and one of the worst in the world.

“The loss of jobs is on the long list of casualties caused by land reform policies.

The policy not only forced the shrinkage of every business sector in our economy and the loss of hundreds of thousands of existing jobs; it also led to the collapse of new employment possibilities for those who had studied hard at schools and universities to qualify for the consideration of employers,” said Robertson.

He added: “Zimbabwe has an urgent and pressing need of policies that will encourage the creation of employment.

“But because employment arises from investment and investment depends upon investor confidence, Zimbabwe’s more urgent and more pressing need is to encourage and support investors,” he said.

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