Correcting colonial injustices


ONE fact that has continued to elude critics of the country’s indigenisation and economic empowerment programme is that the initiative is about redressing colonial imbalances that Zimbabwe inherited when it attained independence on April 18 1980 and not about political parties or individuals seeking votes. As history shows, the imbalances that needed to be addressed were premised on the control of the country’s land and economy by the white minority. One issue that cannot be denied is that Zimbabweans deserve to own and control their land and their economy. This is why there was a liberation war. It was fought to ensure that Zimbabweans took charge of their land, their resources and economy. Indigenisation is not a programme driven for selfish interests by people who have no regard for the development of Zimbabwe. It seeks to address an anomally that has lived with us for over a century, during which innocent people were killed. Indigenisation is a national initiative designed to ensure that Zimbabweans have a fair share of their country’s economy. There is nothing wrong with anyone claiming what rightfully belongs to them. That was the objective of the liberation war. The criticism that has been levelled against the programme is based on a porous desire to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle by enemies of the country who are afraid to lose their ill-gotten wealth. Thus, it is imperative that the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme be explained in greater detail so that Zimbabweans and the rest of the world may have a better understanding of why the country is under siege from the West. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act provides for all companies operating in Zimbabwe to arrange for 51 percent of their shares or interests therein to be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans. On January 29, 2010, the Zimbabwe Government published regulations with respect to the Act that include the requirement for companies operating in Zimbabwe to provide specified information to the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, including an indigenisation implementation plan. That information, together with responses from all sectors of the Zimbabwe economy, will be used as a basis for determining what amount less than 51 percent shall apply to any sector or subsector and the maximum period for achieving indigenisation. In March 2010 the Government’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowermen t Act (IEEA) became a law, meaning that local people were entitled to own 51 percent of foreign firms in their country. Indigenisation of the economy should be understood as the deliberate economic empowerment of indigenous Zimbabweans through participation in their economy. It is through empowerment that their welfare can improve. Indigenising the economy eliminates the socio-economic development imbalances of the past, creates employment and wealth and eradicates poverty among the majority of the people. Indigenisation aims to bring economic justice between races, democratise the economic system and create favourable economic conditions for the promotion of basic human rights including the right to development, employment, the right to own property (productive and non-productive) and the right to a good standard of living. For such rights to be realised, Zimbabwean people must have equal opportunities and unhindered access to resources and skills. An enabling environment and a level playing field should therefore be created to pave the way for equal participation in economic development by all Zimbabweans. Economic injustice is one of the major factors, which brings about social and political conflicts. The potential for conflict will persist in the Zimbabwean society for as long as economic justice is not attained. Indigenisation in Zimbabwe is therefore a strategy for the development of a democratic socioeconomic system, nation building and poverty eradication. The master key to indigenisation of the economy includes an increase of indigenous productive investment in the economy, industrialisation, skills development, land redistribution and mobilisation of financial resources. Critics of the programme lie when they tell the world that demanding a fair share of what belongs to the country and its people destroys the economy and scares away investors. Let it be known that the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme is meant to develop Zimbabwe because it is for all Zimbabweans.


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