The Kadoma Declaration and what it says


It was a homegrown solution aimed at providing a quick fix to the country’s economic crisis. Inflation, the country’s worst enemy was still only at 76.1 percent, but the technical team on Zimbabwe’s Country Risk of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) representing government, business and labour was already worried.

Inflation, which had steadily declined to a low of 18.8 percent by 1997 when the slide began, had shot up to an average of 58.5 percent two years later. Though it dipped to 55.9 percent in 2000, it was on the rise again reaching 76.1 percent in August 2001 when the team came up with a document for the way forward which was subsequently known as the Kadoma Declaration.

The team had agreed that politics rather than the economy was the main problem. The government had to take the lead in addressing the country’s problems, including the country risk factor – the way people looked at Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe was already being viewed as a country where there was no rule of law, where the press was being muzzled and journalists were arrested and tortured. It had become unsafe to invest in or even to visit.

The team noted that there was likely to be prolonged economic depression if the country risk factor was not addressed. There was also likely to be capital flight, a reduction in foreign direct investment and donor support. Credit lines would dry up and there would be massive de-industrialisation as well as a reduction in capacity utilisation.

It also said there was going to be a huge brain drain, high unemployment and underemployment.

When the document was tabled for discussion and signing in January 2003, the government balked. It refused to sign the document. Five years down the line, all the technical team’s predictions have come true but the government is still prevaricating. A meeting scheduled for February 3 to discuss the document was postponed indefinitely.

It is not clear why the government has been dillydallying because the document offers a simple ten-point plan to solve the country’s problems. And it does not only ask for reform from government, but from the other partners, business and labour, and even touches on civil society.

The eight-page document says the government should ensure the rule of law and should not politicise institutions of government. There should be no selling of political cards in government offices or by government officers. Civil servants should not wear party regalia at work places and there should be no collection of money for political parties at work.

The same applies to employers and workers. They should depoliticise workplaces and should not sell party cards at work or wear party regalia. They should also not collect money for political parties at their workplaces.

The government must commit itself to implementing its own policies and any other agreed policies. Business and labour should also support implementation of agreed national policies.

The government should democratise the economic landscape through deliberate policies that ensure social equity and empowerment in a legal, transparent and systematic way. Business should also facilitate economic empowerment while labour should identify empowerment opportunities for workers and promote their empowerment.

Employers and workers should ensure good industrial relations and desist from any action that might lead to violence and to solve any disputes timeously and through the appropriate legal channels.

Government on the other hand should ensure that civil society and pressure groups do not usurp the powers of constitutional and statutory institutions of governance. It also had to be tolerant and apply the law equally on those who incited and perpetrated violence.

It had to ensure that elections were free and fair and urge political leaders to speak against violence and not to demonise each other. Business and labour also had to promote political tolerance and depoliticise workplaces.

The team also tackled the country’s worst enemy, corruption. It said the government should prevent and fight corruption. It should make the civil service professional and pay civil servants better salaries.

The government also had to blacklist all givers and receivers of bribes in a clear database and make sure that those convicted of corruption were punished severely. Business and labour were called upon to collaborate in preventing and fighting corruption and report any cases to relevant authorities.

The team noted that corruption was not only confined to government but included such activities as transfer pricing, the black market activities, awarding of tenders, issuing of licences, allocation of public resources, immigration, police, privatisation, tourism, education and price monitoring.

It also called on the government to enunciate clear consistent policies and apply them uniformly. The government had to speak with one voice and avoid contradictory statements that would clash with those of the other social partners, especially on matters of national importance.

Workers and employers had to support agreed macroeconomic stabilisation programmes but the government should take the lead by complying with budgetary limits and implementing agreed programmes to address issues like hyperinflation, poor export performance, exchange rate distortions, increasing poverty and balance of payments.

Above all, each of the partners had to ensure good governance to improve the image of the country.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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