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Zim leading in re-shaping colonial economies

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EDITOR — WHEN our critics write about Zimbabwe as having been the breadbasket of Southern Africa during the 1980s and early 1990s, they are obviously conflating the achievements scored in health and education sectors together with some achievements in agriculture whose benefits were predominantly reserved for whites by virtue of the racist land ownership structure of the country then. 

In other words, the myth about the Zimbabwe of the 1980s and 1990s as having been the breadbasket of Southern Africa was carefully sired and nurtured by those who sought to convince all of us that Zimbabwe did not need to introduce radical economic policies in order to accommodate the black population. 

Instea, Zimbabwe was forced to introduce neo-liberal economic policies(ESAP) which not only undermined the gains recorded in education and health sectors of Zimbabwe, but also severely weakened the already perilous economic status of all blacks in the country. 

By the year 2000, it had become clear to anyone who cared to assess the economic situation that Zimbabwe would not go far or achieve much by way of empowering its people unless it addressed the land question. 

The Rhodesians who adamantly refused either to share the land with blacks or to sell the same land to the Government in order for it to resettle blacks had become a major obstacle in everyone’s way. 

This is the inescapable interpretation which any fair-minded critic will arrive at, especially when peasants in Svosve and other areas began to resettle themselves on their own accord on the so-called white farms. 

It is critical that our writers, especially those in the communication sector, do not mislead us into believing that Zimbabwe was a paradise until the land reform programme of 2002. 

We all need to assess our situation on the basis of a meaningful understanding and interpretation of our past. The danger of not doing so is that we may end up glorifying a racist colonial economy, which intrinsically excluded us from any meaningful participation, as having been better when in fact such an economy simply confined us to menial jobs and roles and could never accommodate Africans as owners of the same economy. 

The overall picture emerging from the foregoing is that Zimbabwe is in fact leading the way in re-shaping and re-aligning racist colonial economies in Southern Africa so that they accommodate the aspirations and needs of the majority. 

Put differently, Zimbabwe is already miles ahead in democratising economic opportunities for the majority of its people. 

Political democracy which the West preaches about, but never practised in Africa and which excludes economic democracy, is bound to remain meaningless to all those Africans who have borne the burden of social and economic discrimination in Southern Africa for a long time.

Manhambara, 

Harare. 

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