Zimbabwe: Former minister admits “we have destroyed our nation”


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Full contribution

*HON. MARUMAHOKO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My focus is on developing our economy.  As the President said, we need to work hard and develop our economy.  The economy of Zimbabwe was based on chrome.  The Great Dyke area up to Zvishavane was rich in chrome.

Over a million jobs were created in the mines.  All of a sudden, it was announced that there would no longer be chrome exportation to other countries because of beneficiation.  Beneficiation does not come before we are prepared for it.  We were supposed to have built our furnaces. We are also supposed to have enough energy, then we can talk of beneficiation.  At that time, we did not have furnaces and energy for Zimbabwe.  Even up to now, we do not have the required power to power our industries to be resuscitated but we abandoned the export of chrome to engage in beneficiation.  How are we going to do that when we do not have furnaces and we do not have power?  Over a million jobs were lost because of that decision.

In Chiadzwa, the diamond companies are not bringing in any revenue and we decided to close the companies and amalgamate them into one.  We did not look at the reasons why revenue was not coming in.  We came up with a decision to say we need to amalgamate these companies.  A businessman does not invest his own money in a business but he uses loans that he borrows and is given about 25-50 years to pay back the loan.  In so doing, he sources contracts of where he can sell his products, where he can get a contract to supply for the next twenty years.  We wake up one morning and we decide we have closed the mines; for the person to pay back the loan he borrowed, he is not able. For the standing partnership to deliver the product, there is a gap.  Right now, there are no diamonds.

If you look at the history of America, for its economy to be as strong as it is, most of the money came from mining, especially alluvial mining.  California is one of the states that brought in alluvial  metals.  Here in Zimbabwe we started doing that. In a very short space of time, that was abandoned.  The Government is the one that had to do that.  Government is supposed to facilitate and not take over the businesses.  It should not be involved in businesses.  The environment that we are talking about that if we do alluvial mining, we will resuscitate our economy.  Those who are engaged in alluvial gold mining are there and they are experts.  We should look into that and resuscitate our economy.

If we are to say all companies should engage in such activities. The challenges we are facing in Zimbabwe will be a thing of the past.  There is so much wealth in alluvial gold mining.  We can get 10-30 tonnes in a week but we said we do not want that.  Government should only facilitate.

Government in 1980 took over all the mines in Zimbabwe through ZMDC.  Today there is not even one mine that is operating.  All the mines are no longer operating and we are no looking at where we are going, where we came from and what are we doing.  Our wealth is important.  This country has everything.  It has resources but we cannot manage the resources for our country to develop.

On land reform, the land reform is a process.  It cannot be done in one day.  A process means that it is supposed to be gradual and our children should also benefit.  It should be sustainable.  Right now, we are talking about farm sizes; have we looked at the issue of production because what we need to look at is production.  Are our farms producing?  What is it that is making our farms not to produce?

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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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