HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZanu PF must stop senseless Kwekwe mine grab

Zanu PF must stop senseless Kwekwe mine grab

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The issue of correcting historical imbalances brought about by colonialism is a matter as noble as it sounds. Zimbabwe was quite right in pushing this agenda, until the idea was hijacked by greedy individuals who transformed a good national project into theft, plunder and indignity.

President Robert Mugabe, the pioneer and vicious proponent of indigenisation has seen and acknowledged this prostitution of his idea, but other than condemning and threatening to take action, he is yet to be seen to do anything about the people that have soiled his name — stolen his legacy.

It began with the farms where Zanu PF chefs fell over each other to grab as many of the biggest and richest farms as they could lay their hands on. We ended up having a handful of Zimbabweans owning several huge farms each, where they seized expensive equipment — without paying a cent — even though the issue was about taking land and not stealing personal property.

Towards the end of the last decade, when the farm seizures had been “successfully” completed and huge tracts of once productive farming land had been reduced to wasteland, turning Zimbabwe from “breadbasket” to “basket case”, the same individuals from the same political party who benefited from the land grab and massive looting of agricultural inputs started looking around asking: “What do we do now that the farms have run out?”
This was quite a big question for Zanu PF and quite understandably too, given the party needed to urgently find something else to buy loyalty and support — even from known thieves and plunderers within its ranks, because they have the masses under their grip — in the manner demonstrated through the blood of 2008.

Even as Mugabe publicly condemns it, legitimising theft has become Zanu PF’s key survival strategy and the orgy of greed — as has been displayed in the mine grabs in places like Chiadzwa and Kwekwe — has reached utterly disgraceful proportions.

What has happened at the Chiadzwa diamond fields — including ongoing court cases where top government ministers are heavily implicated in court cases involving millions of dollars in bribery — is now public knowledge, just as the colossal pillage of the precious stones has become commonplace.

I was in Kwekwe recently where a typical case of “indigenisation by expropriation” is unfolding. At stake is a gold producing company which several Zanu PF vultures have descended on. The company has already complied with the government’s 51% indigenisation policy and there are black Zimbabweans, including workers, who already own majority shares in that company.

But, for some reason, some Zanu PF chefs appear to believe they are more Zimbabwean and more black than those that have been with the mine for over a decade.

Some of them come from as far as Manicaland and have enlisted the help of local self-proclaimed war veterans — some of them aged 35 and therefore could only have been mere five-year-old toddlers at independence.

Given the business track record of some of the people seeking to take away the company, including its gold claims and multi-million-dollar plant, the future of this investment and the lives of hundreds of Kwekwe families appear doomed.

It is such kind of greed which Zanu PF has displayed that threatens its very existence. There are powerful party leaders in the Midlands who have everything in their power to stop this unbridled theft. Why should people from regions outside the Midlands seek to claim natural resources in that part of the country in the name of the party, as if everyone else in that province were less black or less patriotic? Zanu PF does not need to taint itself any worse than it already is.

Our country should not turn into a nation where we have another category of Zimbabwean citizenship denied wholesale access to human rights. White former owners of business in Zimbabwe who have complied with the country’s laws of indigenisation should not be stripped of their share of the businesses that they have invested so much resources and expertise into.

Mugabe’s indigenisation programme, draped as it is in language about historical imbalances, may have seduced a lot of good people around the world into accepting the “morality” of the agenda, but given incidents such as the Kwekwe mine grab, the whole process appears to have been turned into a glut-fest among Zanu PF-elite loyalists.

The mantra, it would appear from actions by some Zanu PF chefs, is: “After land, it is time to redistribute mines to mine-less peasants” and it moves on to banking, manufacturing etc, until like the farms, Zimbabwe is brought to a grinding halt — and grinding poverty.

Feedback: tchipangura@newsday.co.zw

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