We need shared vision, values

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last Thursday raised two pertinent issues — the lack of a shared vision and shared values in the wobbly inclusive government — that are retarding economic and social development.

Speaking at a Zimbabwe Investment and Trade conference in Gauteng, South Africa, Tsvangirai said the lack of a shared vision and values was largely demonstrated by the implementation of the controversial indigenisation and empowerment programme.

Parties in the Government of National Unity (GNU) are divided over how the drive should be accomplished.

The Zanu PF component of the government, which has structural power in the GNU, has since last year written to mining firms compelling them to come up with indigenisation proposals that would see them sell 51% of their equity to indigenous folk in line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. Several mining companies have complied with the directives, while those yet to do so have been threatened with withdrawal of operating licences.

On the other hand, the MDC formations argue that the indigenisation drive is opaque and discourages foreign direct investment — desperately needed for economic recovery and job creation.

The formations say the indigenisation programme is nothing but Zanu PF’s last election trump card; without it the party will be dead.

“I know this has caused a lot of consternation, but this is a price that we are paying as a coalition government which has no shared vision and no shared values,” Tsvangirai said last Thursday.

“Wild political jingoism and unmitigated cowboy attitudes have never been a proper substitute for a true investment and empowerment plan for the people. We have to strike a delicate balance between investment promotion and the need to empower people.”

We agree absolutely that equitable distribution of resources is needed to address the historical imbalances, but we can never support property-grabbing. The callousness and impunity with which the land-grabs were implemented — after the Zanu PF government lost the February 2000 constitutional referendum — should never be repeated. The end result was the decimation of the agricultural sector, the backbone of the economy.
We need a shared vision and shared values if we are to come up with a proper and acceptable empowerment programme. Sharing vision is not just agreeing with a good idea; it is a particular mental image of what is important to the country.

It is not only in empowerment that the country requires a shared vision and shared values, but in all issues that can take the country forward. We need to make a start now.