HARARE – The current economic empowerment and indigenisation drive has generated a lot of interest among many Zimbabweans’ albeit from very divergent perspectives.
While it is a norm that in any country, the natives of that particular land should have a big say in the running and ownership of that economy, can there be just a single way to do it?
It seems there are many ways in which people can have a say which is not limited only to owning the means of production.
While it is a noble thing that most of the strategic economic sectors are controlled by locals, it surely does not follow that everyone should become their own boss.
The empowerment gospel has raised self-confidence and self-esteem among the locals which is an invaluable attribute in its own right.
But it risks creating a nation of lazy people who have contempt for work and think that they are wasting time if ever they are employees of someone else.
This breeds a culture of a get-rich-quick mentality which has seen many people aiming for tenderprenueship and creating personal wealth instead of becoming organic capitalists.
Even in developed countries where the locals are in charge, it’s development rests upon hardworking workers who in turn enjoy the proceeds of economic growth through the improved wages and general standard of living.
In some of these countries workers were paid pittances in return for guaranteed general improvement of their countries thus laying the foundation of future prosperity.
Work or being workers gives them discipline and builds loyalty in that they will value and seek to preserve their economies as they form the bedrock of that economic progress.
It is actually surprising that while the powers that be seem to fail to find sleep and twist and turn in their beds to make sure they empower the people, the people actually want to work.
It seems the common man knows his priorities very well. They really understand that life is a struggle and when things come easy they will go easily. Why would the rich come and say “I want you to be rich” Even the Manna, Israelites had to ask for it.
Even youths seem to understand there is little they can do even if they were to get the funds to start projects. If recent media reports are something to go by then authorities have to redefine their definition of empowerment. Can empowerment be something that development planners and authorities foist on people?
It seems this is not the way to go as a significant number of youths were reported to be using dubious project proposals to get the funding and then use the money to marry their wives or buy luxuries.
The Zimbabwe Youth Council said they are no longer accepting project proposals that have something to do with chicken rearing which had become a common trend.
In some provinces like Matabeleland, the Empowerment ministry was concerned that not many were coming with bankable projects to get the funds allocated to the province.
What bankable projects can a youth come up with when most of the potential customers are base of stock?
Of course, youths might have their limitations but would they dare come up with viable projects in an economy where big parastatals like Air Zimbabwe and Zupco have failed despite having almost a captive market.
I asked a young man who have been loitering in the high-density suburbs for close to a decade on what he would want to do, “I want to be empowered to go to a vocational training institution and then work in the country’s industrial sectors, I want to work and provide for my family and contribute to the development of my country.”
To those who have been empowered to run these industries, built do not destroy. Workers are ready for work. – Wellington Gadzikwa