The politburo of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is meeting today to discuss, among other things, the country’s indigenisation policy. Reports say the politburo might also discuss the coming party congress. There has been no mention of corruption.
There has been confusion in the last few weeks about whether the government has made a major climb-down over its policy, which regulated that all foreign-owned business worth over US$500 000 must cede 51 percent of their shareholding to locals, or not.
The government seems to be focussing on total control of the country’s natural resources, relaxing the law on other sectors. But even on natural resources, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said people must not confuse control and ownership. This implied that foreign investors could own stakes in these “natural resources” as long as they made meaningful contribution to the national treasury.
ZANU-PF has to come up with a clear policy on the way forward and quickly. What is important is to make sure that the country gets investment, but, at the same time, it must have control of the country’s natural resources.
Whatever the politburo decides, it must make sure that Zimbabwe will get maximum benefit from its resources. But most importantly, it must make any investments transparent so that people know who is coming in, with what and under what terms. This way, it will be easier to monitor these investors.
Though colonialism ended more than 50 years ago in most of Africa, one writer wrote six months ago that Africans must stop listening to the colonial voices in their heads because it seems that people have been so indoctrinated that colonialists do not have to do the talking. They have their lapdogs doing the work for them in the name of modernisation, democracy and globalisation.
China is now the second largest economy in the world and is growing, but most Africans still view it with a lot of suspicion. They are not even looking at its economic model which has propelled it to beat industrial giants like Japan, Britain and Germany.
They are not looking at the fact that China is not a capitalist country but it has managed to raise the living standards of its people creating a middle class now bigger than the entire population of the United States.
The State in China is in control of the economy but at the same time it declared war on corruption arguing that stealing from the State is mass murder because you are killing the entire nation.
The way things are in Zimbabwe, it is pointless fighting for control of the country’s resources without addressing corruption at the same time. Just like indigenisation, talk about curbing corruption has just been that- talk.
The country will not get anywhere unless it tackles corruption head-on. Heads have to roll. But these must be heads of the big fish, not the small fish that are being sacrificed at the moment.