EDITORIAL COMMENT: Zanu PF out of touch with reality

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HARARE –  A few days ago, the former ruling party Zanu PF unveiled its 2013 election manifesto.

The dossier, pointing out the party’s plans or intentions on driving forward Zimbabwe’s economy, starkly shows Zanu PF’s fallacy.

It exposes how the President Robert Mugabe-led party is so detached from the realities on the ground.

The manifesto, themed: Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment, shows how Zanu PF is bent on continuing with its policies, having spent 33 years destroying the economy.

It outlines the party’s 22 goals, key among them indigenisation, job creation, housing and unlocking of minerals value.

There seems nothing new in this.

Over the 33 years Zanu PF has been in power, it has done nothing but bring down the country — once the bread basket of Africa and the continent’s promising economy.

It does not need a rocket scientist to note that Zanu PF policies have failed and rather, led to the country’s economic demise.

While empowerment is a noble idea, it should be done or implemented in an orderly way, taking into account the consequences and timing, which Zanu PF has failed.

It all started with the land reform in the late 1990s.

The chaotic repossession of land by black locals led to the total collapse of the country’s agricultural sector.

As if that was not enough, Zanu PF — in the name of empowerment — again introduced the indigenisation policy, compelling all foreign-owned firms to cede at least 51 percent shareholding to black locals.

It has been disastrous again. At a time Zimbabwe’s economy — still suffering a hangover from a decade-long economic decline — desperately needs foreign investment, the Indigenisation Act scared away investors.

There is lack of coherence in Zanu PF’s policies. In this manifesto, the party targets to create 2, 2 million jobs in the next five years.

How is this going to happen when you are scaring away investors?

The manufacturing sector and industry at large is struggling, operating at below 50 percent capacity.

Why? Because of lack of investor participation and limited lines of credit, particularly offshore, among other challenges.

In its latest manifesto, Zanu PF is not giving up on these economy-damaging policies.

“The essence of the policy is to take back the economy by indigenising at least 51 percent of the shareholding of at least 1 138 foreign-owned companies and unlocking empowerment value from idle assets of proven mineral claims and others in the hands of parastatals and local authorities to enable indigenous Zimbabweans to own 100 percent of business enterprises across the economy,” the manifesto has been quoted as saying.

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