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MDC-T youths dip into fund

News
SCORES of MDC-T youths have reportedly benefited from the National Youth Fund administered by Zanu PF secretary for indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere despite their party denouncing the scheme as a Zanu PF project.

SCORES of MDC-T youths have reportedly benefited from the National Youth Fund administered by Zanu PF secretary for indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere despite their party denouncing the scheme as a Zanu PF project, it has been learnt.

Report by Staff Reporter

The MDC-T has been discouraging its party faithful from participating in the apparently Zanu PF scheme, describing the project as motivated by electioneering.

Kasukuwere on Friday disclosed that he had instructed banks administering the NYF to approve loan applications by MDC-T activists after party national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa reportedly tried to “secretly” liaise with financial institutions to process the loans to appease the reportedly restive youths.

Until recently, only Zanu PF youths had benefited from soft loans disbursed under the NYF which forms part of Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy.

Kasukuwere claimed at a rally in Mt Darwin on Friday that the MDC-T leadership was under pressure from its youths who were allegedly demanding permission to access the funds to initiate their own various self-help projects.

“Chamisa called someone from a financial institution two weeks ago asking if MDC-T youths could access money from the youth fund. When the financial institution told me about it, I told them to go ahead and process the papers. The papers are (now) being processed,” Kasukuwere said.

Kasukuwere said Zanu PF youths throughout the country had started business ventures using NYF loans while their MDC-T counterparts remained “hamstrung by their party’s inflexible policy”.

But Chamisa, who is also ICT minister, yesterday described the fund as a national project which should not be politicised.

“It is a national fund in character and political considerations should not haveany play. It should not be about Chamisa or MDC, it’s about the youths who should benefit,” Chamisa said.

This is in contrast to the overall indigenisation policy which MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and party secretary-general Tendai Biti have described as “opaque”, equating it to expropriation.

The indigenisation policy compels foreign-owned firms to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals.

In November, the MDC-T launched its own economic blueprint, Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and the Environment (Juice), which it described as an alternative to Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy. The MDC policy is based on a bottom-up approach where the party envisages every Zimbabwean as an economic player.

“We start with the basic, which is a job and Juice therefore is aimed at creating a minimum of at least a million jobs by 2018. Everyone wants a job. A job is a form of psychological comfort apart from facilitating production for oneself,” Bit said during a recent public debate with Kasukuwere.

He added that the Indigenisation Act did not stipulate community share schemes.

“These came as an afterthought, as a veneer to give some kind of legitimacy to a legal process that was predatory and elitist. Community share trusts do not have legal existence vis-a-vis the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act.

“On what legal basis are companies being made to part with US$10 million or 15? There is nowhere in the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act that compels companies to donate money to a community share scheme or to any farm. What you are actually seeing is coercion as companies are being forced to part away with the money. Now, even assuming they are giving that voluntarily, to the extent that there is no company in Zimbabwe that I know of which has parted with 51% of its shareholding, actually we are having the anomalous situation where companies are bribing themselves out of compliance with the Act by paying a mere $10 million,” he said.

Biti said Juice was the only sustainable way of getting Zimbabwe back on its feet after decades of plunder and non-development.