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What sin has Zim committed?

By Albert Nhamoyebonde
IF a country fights for the rights of its black citizens, it is regarded as not deserving to be respected by some nations that see themselves as the guardians of human kind. They think blacks everywhere in the world have no memory of being brutally subjected to inhuman treatment. What we Zimbabweans are faced with in the harmonised elections is, to state, categorically, that we are masters of our destiny in this cruel world. If one may ponder the reasons for being characterised as an undemocratic state, it is not difficult to see where it all started.

One former British ambassador said that Zimbabwe did not respect property rights. When I inquired as to what property rights he was referring to, he turned around and stated that he meant land rights. In short, he meant land rights for whites. I then asked him about land rights for blacks? He could not say anything. Did blacks have any land rights under the British colonial system?

This is the crux of the whole political issue which has made some countries behave as though they have the interests of the black people at heart. What is disturbing is that some of our neighbours think that their economic distress is linked to our land question.

This is further from the truth but that the delay in sorting out the land rights for blacks will erupt in a revolution they have never seen before. Today, we have no demonstrations in the streets like those so-called democratic countries because the blacks are being empowered to decide their destiny. Those among us who think that a saviour may come from this region or beyond, are just whistling in the dark.

A prominent woman politician in South Africa was asked on the BBC Hard Talk programme what her opposition party views on the land policy were. She stated that her party believed that workers on the farms, currently owned by whites, should be offered shares of the farms. Did she mean that the farms should be subdivided?

No, she replied, but that workers should share the profits of the farming operations but not own the farms themselves. In other words, land shall remain the property of the whites but workers could work hard and share the profits. What this woman said is no different from what the opposition parties in Zimbabwe are advocating by the policy of attracting foreign investment where the Zimbabweans will only benefit from the sweat of their labour while the companies are owned by foreigners.

What is surprising is that there is money circulating in the hands of our people without that money being used to set up viable companies. For whatever injustice the people of this country suffered, there is one thing the white farmers perfected. It was ownership of the farms and the factories which depended on their primary produce to manufacture finished products for sale in supermarkets and even for export.

The present black owners of the farms need to be educated to accept the same principle that they must also own the factories to which they send their produce. It is not good enough to sell the produce to factories if the farmers do not own any shares in those manufacturing companies.

Tobacco producing farmers must have shares in tobacco processing companies. This will lead to the actual implementation of a viable indigenisation policy. The problem is that the farmers get their cash for their produce and go on a buying spree of houses, cars or other luxuries forgetting that they need to own shares in the manufacturing industry. A sense of ownership should go all the way from farming to manufacturing.

Zimbabweans must learn to shut their ears from all the negative rumblings coming from our detractors. A nation cannot be built by hand-holding by other countries. It can only be built by forging viable policies that benefit our own people. That is how those countries that train their eyes on Zimbabwe, beating drums of fighting for the rights of the people while at the backs of their minds actually have the interests of their citizens at heart.

It does not mean that our economic policies should ignore the realities of the world economic order but we must jealously safeguard our nation from those countries that preach democracy abroad while there is oppression of the blacks in their back yards.

As the harmonised elections approach, the political candidates must articulate policies that will define what we are as a country. The policies must not pander to outside interests but enhance our democratic heritage of being masters of our destiny.

The electorate, after 33 years of independence, is highly educated and wise. Gone are the days when empty slogans can sway their votes.

If the proliferation of cars and other possessions can be used as an example, the people have come a long way to empower themselves by creating their means of sustaining a living. What is left is to reinforce the belief that, with hard work, there is a future for this country coming from Zimbabweans themselves.

The wealth we are creating should find its way into the formal banking system and ploughed into buying shares in factories or other economic sectors. The pursuance of life of luxuries without owning the economic resources of our country will not give us any inheritance which we can leave for future generations.

All this can be decided in the forthcoming harmonised election.


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