Politics, its ultimate expression that is winning the will of the people to be governed, is after all a game of thrones. In this game the contenders must navigate between hope and fear, upon which the electorate will decide which contender’s policies and manifesto shall be placed in government.
On July 31, 2013 the question posed to millions of Zimbabweans standing before the ballot box was “Who?”, between Zanu-PF’s President Robert Mugabe or MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai, offered hope to their economic future and who caused them to fear for it.
July 31, 2013 has proved that it is Robert Gabriel Mugabe, whose mind the MDC-T called “old” and whose party’s experience it declared “tired”, in whom the people reposed hope for the future.
Zanu-PF has known, since their days in the liberation struggle, that the people’s aspirations have primarily been economic emancipation. At the heart of Zimbabwe’s struggles since the First Chimurenga to date has been our struggle to claim back and control our national economy.
Our indigenous majority was forced far from our stolen economic pot and cramped in the dark shadow of the economic fire, while in the brightly lit space closer to our simmering pot remained minority white and foreign gate crushers laying siege to the national economy. Within our economic struggle Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF aligned with our previously deprived indigenous majority, while Tsvangirai and his MDC-T where birthed to safeguard white minority and foreign economic appetites.
It is upon this reality that the electoral stage of July 31was laid out.
The prize for the political contenders was the mandate to constitute a new Government of Zimbabwe with control over Zimbabwe’s economic pot, from which the Zimbabwean people must be guaranteed an equitable share, with the ever lurking threat from foreign scavengers. In its nationalist wisdom, long before the political expression of July 31, Zanu-PF had pursued in government the economic empowerment of the previously discriminated and disadvantaged indigenous majority, to distribute equitably among us the sustenance within Zimbabwe’s economic pot.
From as early as 2000 a land reform programme was embarked on, which on the eve of Zimbabweans casting their vote on July31, 2013, had ensured that an estimated 245 000 of our previously dispossessed indigenous households had been restored their land.
Not surprising then that on July 31, 2013 these new land owners, the individual bread-winners holding offer letters, rallied their children now of voting age, their spouses, siblings, cousins and parents. They rallied this extended Zimbabwean family set-up to whom the benefits of land reform, including $598 million in tobaccos sales alone, have begun to trickle down to.
Land reform bore results in Nyanga, part of the Manicaland in which Dr. Ibbo Mandaza and Tsvangirai believed the MDC-T had a stronghold and cannot now understand how Zanu-PF swept to victory there. In Nyanga district a new breed of young potato farmers has emerged over the past five years, identifiable by the new 4×4 vehicles speeding down rugged dusty mountain terrain. Then comes indigenisation and economic empowerment.
Again, this policy has been founded upon broad-based economic empowerment despite the MDC-T empty rhetoric of elitism. While they were crying elitism, Zanu-PF was reaching out and filling the Zimbabwean majority’s economic stomachs.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe knew that if the MDC-T had used stomachs emptied by sanctions, screaming from hunger, to vote against him and his Zanu-PF party since 2002, surely the same stomachs well fed by indigenisation a decade later would quietly cast their vote for the hand that feeds.
By July 31, broad based empowerment had caused the establishment of 59 community share ownership trusts. Seventeen community trusts were already implementing socio-economic development programmes using the $ 27 209 000,00 of seed capital already paid from the $111 250 000 pledged.
In districts such as Zvishavane with a population of 70 047, Bindura with 124 160, Mhondoro-Ngezi with 104 061, Zvimba with 245 489, Chegutu with 149 025, Shurugwi with 77 460 the residents there were witnessing the building schools, dams, electrification, clinics, boreholes by their community trusts. Meanwhile the MDC-T’s Secretary General gave sermons alleging the illegality of such community trusts.
He was supported by his party leader, Tsvangirai, who was on record ridiculing rural folk as not being sophisticated enough to own shares in companies exploiting their local resources. Yet because of Zanu PF 116 357 of these rural folk in Gwanda district have secured 10 percent in Blanket Mine through their Gwanda Community Trust.
In March 2013 the Gwanda Trust earned a $400 000 in dividends from their 10 percent shares in Blanket Mine. It is in Gwanda, an MDC-T 2008 stronghold that Zanu PF was given by the rural folk a clean sweep in the House of Assembly. Yet still the MDC-T, echoed by Dr Mandaza, cries rigging.
Economic empowerment made significant inroads with the youth constituency, those between 18 – 35 years constituting an estimated 42 percent of the electorate. By July 31, the CABS fund alone had benefitted 3569 youth projects across so called MDC-T strongholds. A total of 547 projects worth $851 883 in Manicaland, 202 projects amounting to $206 975 in Masvingo with Harare getting $709 250 for 422 projects.
How much money did the MDC-T’s outgoing Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, ensure was availed to the youth? In fact the MDC-T emotionally barred its youth from applying for the youth empowerment funds, yet record will show those within the high ranks of its National Youth Assembly secretly applying for and receiving these loans for entrepreneurial projects.
- Rangu Nyamurundira is a lawyer and indigenisation/empowerment consultant based in Harare.
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