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Zimbabwe post Freedom House report - Open letter to Prime Minister
Unemployed People's Association (ZUPA)
August 26, 2012
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon Morgan Tsvangirai
Ministries of Finance and Empowerment, MDC-T
The Freedom House Report Needs Sober Reflection
ZUPA which represents the interests of millions of economically
disadvantaged people has seen and analysed the Freedom House report
on opinion polls in Zimbabwe that show a fall in the number of Zimbabweans
who still believe the Prime Minister's side of Government
retains the ability to take the country forward.
We seek not
to contest the contents of the report or to concern ourselves with
the position your party or those opposed to your party may take.
In this communication, we have revisited previous communication
on economic policy and give recommendations on the way forward,
all in good faith.
Minister, we would like to remind you of our previous communication
when we warned that your party's April 2012 resolution and
position on the indigenous and empowerment policy when you called
it "repugnant" was at variance with both the needs and
expectations of the ordinary Zimbabweans.
At the time,
we cautioned against taking a popular policy and attributing it
to one side of Government when the people of the ground considered
it to be a GNU policy with cross party support.
As ZUPA we have
closely followed events leading to economic crises in Europe and
elsewhere. We believe that Zimbabwe can only have sustainable recovery
if the ordinary people are economically empowered and the country
does not depend on donors or foreign investors.
We further believe
that the nation needs a wealth fund as protection against future
shocks and fluctuations in commodity prices and trade challenges.
In April 2012,
we advised that the overwhelming feedback we have from the grassroots
is that any party that opposes indigenisation and economic empowerment
risks losing votes in future elections.
We have taken
the position that there comes a time when the national interest
needs to be above party politics. Zimbabwean leaders can only be
relevant if they can rise above party differences in pursuit of
what is right for the citizens.
We have also
appealed to all political parties in Government and beyond that
rather than shredding the empowerment programme or attributing it
to one political party, all parties should work together to ensure
that those areas that need improvement are improved in the national
as ZUPA in the empowerment programme was based on the fact that
the Indigenous and Empowerment law was passed as a bill by all the
parties in the GNU acting together in 2007. We took it as national
duty therefore to formulate the proposal where local communities
throughout the country would get 10% shares in resource based operations
in their areas. ZUPA was at the centre of negotiations with miners
on behalf of villagers and local communities. It was surprising
and disappointing when your party turned around and called the programme
that was empowering the poor ordinary people and was understood
by the investors to give them security of investment as "asset
stripping, looting, patronage, clientelism, corruption and self-aggrandisement."
You added that the empowerment programme was "not driven by
your Government and your party should have realised that giving
shares to local communities and ordinary Zimbabweans who have been
economically disadvantaged since the colonial land Act was demand
driven. You will also agree that 10% shares to all citizens who
fall under a chief is not clientism or patronage or self-aggrandisement.
No Zimbabwean is excluded from the 10% shares that are donated to
the communities. It goes without saying that because the miners
were agreeing to donate the shares to local communities as long
as politicians were not involved but chiefs can not be described
as looting or asset stripping.
The miners and
investors understand that if what has happened in Marikana in South
Africa with Lonmin (formerly London Rhodesia or Lonrho) is to be
avoided, then local communities should have a vested share in the
operations and benefit directly from the resources in their countries
as in Canada, Australia and in Europe.
House findings should therefore not have surprised your party but
inspired a reflection on whether you still are in touch with the
aspirations of the grassroots that for so long, you have been perceived
as the mouthpiece. History is littered with examples of great leaders
who closed their eyes and ears to the loud voices of the grassroots,
only to pay for it in elections.
We now appeal
to your side of the GNU to reconsider the April 2012 resolution
on the indigenisation policy. This is a policy that may secure Zimbabwe's
future as a great country. Failure to implement this policy consistently
and efficiently can only lead to continued poverty for the ordinary
It is not the
empowerment and indigenisation programme that is chasing investors.
Instead, it is the lack of unity and clarity and lack of political
confidence in implementing the policy that is discouraging investors.
We further warn
that your party's reputation, consistency and judgement in
particular, are being called into question following concessions
in the draft constitution on issues of the Diaspora vote and appropriation
of land without compensation and devolution. There is a growing
observation that your party says one thing in public and international
corridors only to sign and do the opposite when at the same table
as those who have failed the country. Efforts to justify a constitution
draft that falls short of what Zimbabweans said they wanted is not
helpful as is the dismissal of the Freedom House report.
jobs and your soon to be launched JUICE programme, you will recall
that as ZUPA, we have communicated with the GNU about our National
Employability Scheme (NES) to revamp the human capital and sustain
the recovery of industry. Under this scheme, all companies should
take unemployed youths for year long internships. This way a massive
national database of skilled youths would be created. The companies
that are currently distressed and struggling save on wages for the
time of the internship, aiding their recovery. Your office has our
It would appear
that the GNU and your party are not learning anything from the economic
crisis in Europe where Greece, Portugal, Spain and France are facing
huge challenges. Britain too is in recession. The economic recovery
programmes that these countries are suggesting and working on show
that jobs and employment creation cannot be separated from indigenisation
and economic empowerment. It is clear that in times of crisis, nationals
rise in defence of their national interest. That is why we see the
empowerment programme as the one that can guarantee job creation
in this country. The Marikana incident in South Africa demonstrates
the challenge that investors have in delivering economic justice
to local people. There is no evidence that your suggested model
of linking FDI to jobs leads to poverty reduction. The tendency
has been for foreign investors to bring their own foreign nationals
to work on the projects they fund. The conditions may also require
equipment and technology to be secured from the investor nations
curtailing any domestic growth in supply chain industry, job creation
and consequently taxes.
urge a rethink of your JUICE policy as it falls short of addressing
a sustainable way forward. We believe that any policy that is not
based on empowering the Zimbabwean but on foreigners will clash
with the national interest. This has been proved time and time again
and is the main reason why many countries in post colonial Africa
have remained poor despite having enough resources and manpower.
The idea that every child must be developed into a worker and your
position that Zimbabweans prefer jobs to owning shares is surprising,
especially as it is a colonial model that was crafted to guarantee
colonial masters cheep and coercive labour in mines, farms and industry.
For the record,
a community in Marange owning 10% shares in the Diamond
mines in Chiadzwa could earn millions per year while a job for
them will only earn them a minimum wage leavening them in poverty.
It is reasonable to expect any political leader who denies Zimbabweans
access to wealth by condemning them to poverty to be looked at differently
the next time they claim to have the interests of the poor at heart.
your Government to consider our NES proposal and facilitate urgent
implementation as this would assist skills development and recovery
of industries country wide. A copy as deposited with the Ministry
of Employment is attached.
your party side of Government to reconsider your position on the
Indigenisation and empowerment programme as this is a programme
that can secure a sustainable future for Zimbabwe.
the Government to re-evaluate the policies that are based on the
mistaken belief that foreigners and foreign direct investment are
the solution to Zimbabwe's long term problems. We take the
position, with evidence that the only sustainable way forward is
to empower the citizens and generate capacity for home grown solutions.
That is how the Asian tigers and China have developed their economies.
We need to live within our means and develop at our own pace. What
is the rush?
De Beers, Rio
Tinto, BHP Billiton and other mining giants started at village level
and grew to be global giants they are today. Roman Abramovich (45)
who is now thought to be worth some US$12 Billion started off with
just US$2,000 when he was 22 years old. His wealth can be attributed
in great part to the Perestroika opening opportunities for locals
in Soviet Union in 1988. We have cited Abramovich here in the full
knowledge that his case is a reflection of what anyone can achieve
if they have the support of the right indigenous policy. Abramovich
grew up an orphan and did not have the best of education. Despite
that, he is today one of the world's richest people and the
owner of Chelsea FC, an investment in Britain. It is our view that
if the young people of Manicaland are given the opportunity, they
too can be the Abramoviches of tomorrow. Indigenisation and empowerment
is the only policy to do that.
international relations should be based on trade and equality, not
on aid and dependency on nations that are themselves in recession
and in debt. How do we justify begging for donor funds from countries
who themselves have sovereign debts 10 times the size of Zimbabwe's.
Some of the countries we bombard with appeals for help do not have
the resources and the wealth we have.
What we need
is to appeal for market opportunities and take time to generate
our own capacity. We have already wasted a decade following the
belief that change will come tomorrow morning. 13 years later, we
are back to where we were in 2000 discussing a national constitution
and facing elections. The political, social and economic challenges
remain the same. In our ZUPA eyes, this is a decade wasted. Long
term solutions for Zimbabwe should not be postponed anymore or give
way to short term political scores against one another.
We appeal to
the GNU to facilitate a process that would ensure that every district
in the country has a community share ownership trust headed by the
chiefs who should hold the shares in trust for the ordinary citizens
who fall under their chiefdoms. It is better for the world to respect
us for standing firm in defence of our national interest. Countries
in Europe and North America offer no compromise in promoting their
national interest. For this, we respect them. Our leaders should
not blame the West if they look down upon us if we present ourselves
as incompetent and unable to look after our own affairs, our people
and wealth without them.
We also urge
that in line with devolution of power, five regional empowerment
funds should be set up for Manicaland, Mashonaland, Matabeleland,
Masvingo and Midlands for future generations and consisting of 10%
each from the fund held by the Indigenisation and Empowerment Ministry.
The fund should be managed by the Ministry of Finance.
encourage sober leadership in this critical period where the GNU
should focus on the national interest. What legacy would the current
leadership want to leave for future generations? It is important
to realise that all decisions you take in Government will one day,
like the Wiki leaks, be subjected to scrutiny by future generations.
An opportunity is presenting itself now for those in power to do
what is right. We do not anticipate that the leadership will let
this slip by only to regret.
We have written
to you in good faith as the organisation that represents the interests
of millions of economically disadvantaged citizens. We trust that
no political mileage will be claimed from our communication. All
we ask from our Government of whatever colour, shape or form, is
what is in the best long term interests of Zimbabwe. Those on the
side of the ordinary people will one day be vindicated at the ballot
box. Those that choose not to listen to the voices of the majority
could find themselves missing the train to a democratic and prosperous
It would be
a sad day if in 6 years time; you have an opportunity to revisit
this communication and say: "If only I had known."
Innocent Ndibali (President)
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