Monday, 23 February 2015

A Tribute to a Deserving President.

By Nick Mangwana

A visionary does not get old. He gets better. For when the physical vision begins to fail. When those eyes begin to give then the mind begins to see more. Because vision is the art to see the invisible. It is the gift to see what nobody else can see. The sense of perception is only  heightened when the distractions of the physical gets blinded.  Visions become focussed when we stop to look outside and begin to look inside.

The vision of an icon is drenched in the sweats of the roads trudged. In 91 years of toil for the African nationhood.  91 years of self-sacrifice for the common good.  But Gushungo a hero does not grow old, he only grows better.  The better the vision for a people, the higher the hope for same. Gushungo has a dream. We are the Team that makes the dream work.  Your vision shall transcends all generations.

The first part of your vision was that education is the transmission of progress, the epitome of empowerment. You empowered every Zimbabwean with that legacy. Now we speak eloquently and even grandiloquently against you in betrayal.  You have even educated those willing to learn positive lessons that black people should lift their heads high in dignity. That though the road is treacherous, the task onerous making the effort painstaking,  the labour of a black man working on his own land and for himself is uplifting.

You taught those that were willing to learn that, a man with the ideals of self-respect is a man that
will sacrifice anything on a point of principle. You taught us that we should not value privilege above principle. When we forget our values, principles and ideals that is the only measure of our failure.  When we abandon that which makes us a people, a Black Nation, that day we would have succumbed once again to slavery.  It is these types of teachings that make us realise that for all your Presidency you never abandoned the teaching profession. For you shall always be known as the Great Teacher.

You are the Apostle of Empowerment.  By empowering the landless and the downtrodden, you ignited a conscious revolution of restoration. The restoration of that which had been looted through conquest and plunder. Restoration of that which had also been fleeced by subterfuge.  And it all became very clear that this was the restoration of that sentiment again; dignity. Now South of the Limpopo they draw lessons. In the East of Africa they wonder if they missed an opportunity.  Ah, it only takes a visionary to be a pathfinder. It is for the rest to follow.

Now the small nation of Zimbabwe stands shoulder high. Above every other nation which is richer, mightier and prestigious. It is known as a nation led by the one who stubbornly sticks to his principles.

As you celebrate your birthday, those that sing, “We wish you many more” or “long live Mr President” are pronouncing oracles of a long life above the 91. May the gods listen to those chanting and grand you a long and healthy life. 

Happy Birthday Mr President.


Nick Mangwana is the Chairman of ZANU PF UK

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Taxing Show Offs

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairman: Nick Mangwana
Vladimir Lenin said that the only way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between taxation and inflation.  It is difficult to support inflation as a societal equaliser, but  when it comes to taxation, one cannot but agree that the old socialist philosopher put his finger right on the heartbeat of the issue. The statement from Lenin sounds like the jealousy ranting of a loser who could not make it in life and therefore wages a war on the more enterprising members of the community who have made it. In generic terms there is a ring of truth in this. After all the successful are a constant reminder  to their not-so successful contemporaries of their own deficiencies. 

Winston Churchill  said, " Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." How can a Zanu PF functionary quote this British guy and imply that he was right? After all the very preamble of the Party's constitution calls it a socialist Party. If socialism hates the rich then it is a failure's pastime. However if socialism asks the rich to play their party in uplifting the poor so that they could lose their indigence, then socialism becomes the conscience of the peasant and commoner.  

Through the agrarian reform one can see some hints of the social reform and socialism. Through Indigenisation one can pick a subtle allusion to expanding economic participation to everyone.   But the creation of oligarchs means that the ideals of socialism have probably taken a tangential trajectory.  The only way out of this ideological fix is to have a distributional taxation policy structure.  As has become habit with in this column a bit of candid policy introspection is on the menu.

The current tax policy in Zimbabwe appear to the public as if it contrived  by the elite to protect their interests. How else can one explain the level of wealth being flaunted around and yet the whole country only managed to collect revenues of $3.6 billion against a target of $3.82 billion for 2014? The frame of reference for this is the number of luxury cars, the superfluity of 30 bedroom houses in Harare to a couple with 2 children that have flown the nest, holidays in exotic places and all sorts of luxurious indulgences which run into millions. So how can a whole country fail to collect $3.82billion it expected?  Remember Nigeria's defence budget only is $4 billion. And Zimbabwe is a big country in stature to a level that  the United Kingdom has a full Unit to deal with its relationship with Zimbabwe and another unit to deal with the rest of the Commonwealth.  Is Zimbabwe punching above its weight or its distortionary tax regime needs reform?  The latter rings true.

 It is incongruous in a supposedly egalitarian society to have the powerful, rich and politically connected raise themselves above all nobility to a pretentious level of ostentatious   demigods. The basic approach should be, every time one flaunts their wealth ,they are asked for their tax return to verify whether money the money that paid was clean money and whether appropriate taxes were paid on it. The same should apply to anyone who builds a vulgar house. It happens in other countries.  You show off a lot of money, revenue compliance officers pay you a little visit to pry through your books. The reader can recall a lot of names of famous individuals who ended up in prison.  It reconciles society and most important at all, it brings governance and transparency. Even better the dry government coffers will be replenished. There is too much bitterness on social media from the poor in Zimbabwe. Part of the reason is that Zimbabwe has endured a very rich stratum of oligarchs whose primary pre-occupation has been the obnoxious flaunting of  their wealth in the faces of the impoverished who are selling trinkets. If truly Zanu PF is a socialist Party it should do away with all these glaring contradictions. Otherwise the ideological underpinnings should change.

The taxation of the super-rich problem is not a Zimbabwe only issue. The UK is going having elections in May 2015. Tax avoidance by the super-rich has become a central issue. The Conservatives are being accused of  having one rule for their super-rich cronies whose tax avoidance schemes are ignored and another for the rest of the people who bear the burden of society. The Labour leader David Miliband is calling the taxing of the super-rich some form of "social efficiency".  The conservatives are countering that by saying that during Labour's 13 year reign, they did not do anything about the tax avoidance schemes of this elite group as well. They also accuse the Labour leader of having dodged paying Inheritance Tax on his late father's estate.  In the last U.S. election Mitt Romney had to contend with the same accusation of being super rich as a tax dodger.  What is clear is that rich people do not want to pay taxes. 

Zimbabwe's problem is a developing world one which slightly different from the British and American one. There is a trend in the world of spreading the taxation burden by taxing the small and medium enterprises (SME). Zimbabwe recently joined this trend. Whilst this is welcome in as much as it brings the social obligation to everybody. This is just a moral position and not a revenue raising position. Taxing street hustlers and trinket sellers has very high compliance costs, very high administration costs and the tax yield itself is very low possibly giving a negative net revenue  benefit.  The only measurable advantage of taxing the informal sector is that it forces them to formalise and therefore put in some governance measures which arguably makes them grow the business. Zimbabwe has an abundance of these micro-enterprises which help the populace eke a living during these hard times.  Some hardly manage to feed their families from the day's takings and have something left to continue trading tomorrow. The taxation of those in this category becomes a big scourge on the conscience of society. What, with the people they hustle at traffic lights hardly paying any taxes at all! It makes a mockery of the system. But then it is the rich and powerful that make the rules that suit them

The distortional tax regime in the country means that a then sort of powerful Prime Minister who is a leader of an opposition party  paid hundreds thousands  of dollars in a domestic  dispute settlement and the revenue authorities did nothing about it. They did not ask for his Tax Return, they did not check whether any taxes had been paid on that income. They did not check whether the money was  even clean. If such a high profile event can happen without getting a professional attention from the revenue authorities then there is a big chance that Zimbabwe can easily turn into a haven of organised crime. Maybe the next instalment of this column should cover that. Anyway, back to this week's issue. How does the street hustler feel when they receive a visit from a revenue compliance officer who ignores the person who is driving a brand new imported car which in all probability has avoided paying duty?  Everybody should play their part according to their means with the rich paying more.

When a government increases its tax base, it should also increase its accountability and transparency, for surely the term public funds becomes all too applicable. Since it is not the government's money but public money, the government should be more accountable to the owners of the money.

Taxation is the only way which does not punish the rich, creative and imaginative for the sake of it. It helps uplift the poor for the sake of society.  But only focussing on the informal traders and SMEs without really clamping down on those clearly parading a lot wealth does not bring equality to society. How can there be, when scandals like the recent HSBC  accounts cache is alleged to have produced a few Zimbabwean names hiding their wealthy which never paid any taxes at all?

If skewed policies and disingenuous rhetoric  is not addressed the country will continue to engage in orgy of lies where those that prefer to tell the truth are lynched for not conforming. That is not serving the country. That is colluding with those sabotaging the economy. These people are in the same bracket with those that called for sanctions.  Another group that Zimbabwe cherishes but must look at are the multi-nationals. Evidence has proved that developing countries lose as much as  $160 billion a year to the tax dodging machinations of multi-nationals. They have sophisticated accountants and tax lawyers on retainer. The evidence is already clear in Zimbabwe with a lot of companies who reluctantly indigenised declaring losses or nominal profits. This is to ensure that the indigenous investor will never realise a worthy dividend. (Another topic for another day.)   

This is the same group including their Zimbabwean executives that love to complain about poor infrastructural rehabilitation.  But isn't it obvious that dodging taxes has an impact on fiscal spending? Paying taxes is a sacred responsibility of every citizen including the corporate. But the ability to pay should be part of the guiding principle.

The Robert Mugabe ideas that have no African boundaries

By Bernard Bwoni

AU and SADC Chairman: President R G Mugabe
The incoming African Union Chairman, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is an extraordinary socio-political and economic Engineer and just what the continent needs and deserves right now. He has shouldered and continues to shoulder the burden of the African case with unparalleled resolve to see the continent achieve total economic emancipation and political independence. Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe has posed a real and direct threat to an economic system which only functions smoothly when resource-abundant African countries remain confined to the edges and the lower ranks of any meaningful global economic activity. This is the same economic system that flourished on the back of cheap slave labour and free resources during slavery and colonialism respectively. Robert Mugabe represents what can accurately be described as the last outpost and final frontier for genuine African Renaissance. The childish excitement that gripped social media about his trip on a poorly laid carpet and the associated media mass hysteria is not an attack on Mugabe the man per se, but Mugabe the ideas which resonate well in Africans continent-wide. President Mugabe assuming the AU Chairmanship poses a present and direct threat to covert imperialism and the threat exist not necessarily from Mugabe the man but the big ideas that he has instilled and continue to sow in present and future African generations. The attacks on Mugabe the man are a reaction to the AU Chairmanship because the principles he stands for will now cascade signals continent wide that the historically biased socio-economic structure can be challenged and dismantled by a united Africa. He represents real hope for total economic independence that is meaningful for present and future generations. It is important to emphasise the word ‘meaningful’ here and not the misleading narrative of political independence that most if not all countries on the continent had to settle for whilst neglecting real economic freedom. However no amount of tampering with media headlines will change the fact that Robert Mugabe is a visionary. This legendary son of Africa commands African respect from Cape to Cairo and the people of Africa are well aware of who their real heroes are. The Mugabe vision is not going to be derailed by a trip on a poorly laid carpet. Here is visionary who is leading Africa out of the racist ICC kangaroo court and coming up with the African engineered idea of an African court to deal with African affairs manned by Africans themselves not some fresh-faced condescending newly qualified lawyers who have never set foot on the continent!

The assault on the Mugabe ideas is clandestine affair engineered miles away from the continent with some misguided African elements and local cheerleaders doing the footwork under the gullible banner of all the hollow high-sounding themes of ‘human rights’, ‘legitimacy’ and ‘rule of law’. It is no longer just about Mugabe the man, but the deeper meaning behind Robert Mugabe’s call to not just settle for political independence but total economic emancipation. These are the values and principles that resonate with indigenous population in Zimbabwe and continent-wide. It is that belief and lifelong commitment to liberating the black indigene and that resolve to place African resources back into the hands of their rightful owners that invite the profound and unwarranted hatred from the coalition of the erstwhile architects of the twin wrongs of slavery and colonialism and their local lapdogs we have come to call the opposition.
President Mugabe has remained guided by those principles that put Africa ahead of all else and the frenzy that is sweeping across the African continent is a prelude to Africa’s reorganisation and re-emergence as the force it definitely is and should have been centuries ago had its development not been dislocated by the evils of slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid and neo-colonialism. The African continent has to start serving divorce papers to the doomed marriage it continues to endure unnecessarily with her erstwhile colonisers and their allies. This marriage ended many years ago and in the case of Zimbabwe arms had to be used to get rid of this unfair and unfaithful partner. There is no point in sharing a bed with these strange bedfellows who you know for definite will easily knife you in your sleep for self-preservation and self-benefit at some point. This marriage is over and Africa is going to have to go it alone and those who seek to aid and assist will have to do so not to just exploit the continent’s abundant natural resources but to respect mutually beneficial engagement.

Robert Mugabe represents the unique brand of Pan-African cadres at the core of this conscious and principled pursuit of the African regeneration and renaissance. The African quest to seek divorce from the undignified one-sided and overly dependent union must not be viewed as pursuing an isolationist course but a positive move towards mutually favourable development partnerships. It would not be dishonest to suggest that partnerships with the West have been exclusively disastrous, their presence unfortunately has historically brought about conflict and chaos to the inhabitants of the continent and that cannot be an accident but carefully calculated to enable unrestrained exploitation of the continent’s abundant natural resources. There is nothing called charity in this world and my beautiful sister Dambisa Moyo put it aptly in her book ‘Dead Aid’.

The quest for genuine economic freedom for the continent will remain ingrained in this generation and many generations to come unless these historically and racially skewed constructs which continue to relegate black Africans to the bottom of the economic core are dismantled completely. The illusion that once people have ‘food on the table’ then the agitation will stop is just but what it is - an illusion. The very reason why President Mugabe’s name is synonymous with the ‘international media’ as the sole cause of Zimbabwe’s economic downturn is a direct assault and attempt to extinguish the visionary flame he set in Zimbabwe and across the continent. The people of Zimbabwe and Africa subscribe to this vision and what they all see in the Mugabe vision is the very same thing those who went into social media mass meltdown mode see as well. The difference is that those who despise President Mugabe do so because his vision is running opposite to their exploitation-packaged ideologies. It is interesting to note that our beautiful neighbours to the south are mulling over the idea of a fast track land reform. The Zimbabwe land reform programme is a beckon of hope for those indigenous black Africans that history has forever forsaken to a lifestyle of poverty inside a resource-abundant continent like Africa. South Africa will have to go through the mire and mud Zimbabwe went through to wrestle her lands from a system that only seek to preserve itself for the benefit a minority on racial grounds. The fact of the matter is that there is no other route to land reform in Africa except for the Zimbabwe Model. Anything else is child’s play!

The newly elected AU Chairman is taking Africa on a journey, an African journey that is and a journey that requires Africans and them alone to carry forward the vision. There are plenty illusory promises from ‘Dead Aid’; but the hard truth is that Africa is going to walk this path alone as there are no philanthropic champions out who have no self-serving motives of their own.

The social media regurgitation of the Mugabe trip is non-event and the clear message from the African continent is that no amount media fabrication will smother this unavoidable desire to uplift and upgrade the lives of the perennially downtrodden people of this continent. The unrelenting and unethical denigration of Mugabe the man is just a smokescreen to choke the Mugabe ideas of total economic independence which are aimed at making the continent less dependent on the West for her survival. The fact of the matter is that the Mugabe ideas are here to stay. These are ideas that know no boundaries and they will continue to arouse curiosity and interest in African minds, to challenge and to provoke minds of the historically deprived indigene until lives have been enhanced and upgraded. You can put as many trending fall pictures on Twitter but you cannot shackle the seed that has been sown by these limitless Mugabe ideas. These are ideas beyond any restraint; these are ideas that can penetrate through any exploitation-packaged ideologies that are being perilously dangled to Africa by the former colonisers as democracy promotion, rule of law and rights and all those high-sounding nothings minus the grit and hard realities on the African ground. The Mugabe ideas have found a permanent home in African minds and now the execution begins. The new AU Chairman is going to leave a permanent mark on the continent. You cannot put sanctions on ideas because these are African ideas from the African continent, for the African continent and the African off-springs. 


Cde Bernard Bwoni: ZANU PF UK
Vice Secretary General

Kudos to the Zimbabwe technocratic crusade

Cde Bernard Bwoni: ZANU PF UK
 Vice Secretary General
It has been a very interesting week to say the least with cases of ‘stray donkeys’ and ‘little minds that cannot be corrected’. The President HE RG Mugabe returned from his well-deserved break and he was on form and rejuvenated indeed. The preparations for the country’s tobacco marketing season are also underway, another bumper tobacco crop is expected and the only worry is that there could be an over-supply of the crop that could lead to lower prices. The Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa was in the mix stressing the importance of recruiting the right technocrats to drive up the country’s economic transformation. 

The country and its economic success will be guaranteed if strategic sectors of the country are manned by competent, qualified and patriotic personnel who can solve problems. The move by government to have technocrats in strategic positions of the country’s core is a brave and progressive step in the right direction. A technical approach is necessary for Zimbabwe to realise its full developmental potential. It is important that those patriotic individuals with the right expertise and education are inserted right in the nucleus of areas of strategic importance. However the technocrats will need to rise above the disabling political antipathy.

The move to recruit technocrats will mean that crucial sectors of the country are run by some of best qualified, competent and who put the country first. It is in effect a government hired by the people as opposed to elected, the experts steering the economy without people even seeing them as politicians. The criterion for qualifying to top leadership is expertise and ability to deal with real life situations and working hard to ensure successful application of agreed outcomes. Zimbabwe does have an abundance of such technocrats both inside the country and outside. It is about finding exactly the right committed individuals who will continue to carry the people forward. 

The technocrat is an expert, granted, but being an expert on its own is not the same as wisdom. The technocrat has to polish their own wisdom through application, learning from failures, discipline and that sacred belief in doing things for the greater good. But is wisdom enough to rescue Zimbabwe from its current economic quagmire? Proper technocracy means tapping into minds from many disciplines of technocrats with hands on experience not just academic education and expertise. Developing countries like Zimbabwe will struggle to achieve lasting economic progress if incompetent, unqualified and unpatriotic personal remain embedded into critical areas of the nation’s strategic core. The remedy is a mix of technocrats and the non-technocratic elements. It is stating the obvious that governing is a social construct that serves social functions and technocrats will inherently struggle with the social functions of governance.

The government of Zimbabwe has remained committed to good governance and challenging corruption and other social ills. The task of eradicating corruption and maintaining a corrupt-free system is very delicate and requires genuine political will. The ability to understand a situation and deal with it correctly does not have anything to do with popularity but with knowledge of the subject period.  The reality is that technocrats have the ability to rise above the paralyzing and polarizing political poison prevalent continent-wide at the moment. They often bring very little in terms of ‘baggage’ and more of a reputational advantage both in terms of knowledge and a sense of putting national interest above paltry party political pursuits.

Let’s not confuse technocrats with loudmouth academics-turned-politicians and names like Ibbo Mandaza often spring to mind. The thing with technocrats is that they can practically claim wiser economic custodianship, greater ideological commitment to economic principles and deeper connections with transnational and multinational financial networks both domestic and international. The economy is the driving power of any nation thus academic and practical awareness of economics are a prerequisite of those intending on positions of economic influence and a blend of technocracy and democracy is sure meant to lead to economic transformation. 

Ideally a country’s finance ministry has to have technocrats with an academic background in economics and finance as standard because even if you want to fuse the realities on the ground with economic principle you would need an awareness, understanding and academic background in the subject. Economics is a critical discipline for its all-encompassing nature and the fact that it is intricately attached to the political function of the state. One would be forgiven for feeling uncomfortable with someone who has not studied economics to make heavy economic decisions that will greatly impact the country for decades to come. However with the right technocrats in the background this can work, but it has to be the right technocrats.

A seamless unification of the political and expert functions of governing offers Zimbabwe a possible route out of the economic muddle the country is confronted with. However thing to understand is that having a degree does not make you automatically a technocrat because technocracy is defined by rational rather than idealist thought processes where decisions are made based on the real world processes.  A political functionary who can make good moral decisions with the public’s interest whilst also having an awareness and ability to comprehend different expert opinions and paradigms is crucial to any country’s economic revival. The country’s leadership needs to be more conversant and appreciative enough to consult with technocrats to help make sound economic decisions and at the same time be well versed in the humanities and social sciences. It is important that leadership is driven by ethos and that raison d’etre to do things right and to do the right thing while considering long-term solutions. This means removing from power those politicians who only value self-benefit over the public good.

It is impossible to exclude facts from political decision-making processes and worldwide people yearn for a clever, dispassionate and principled government and Zimbabwe is no exception. When the usual rulers prove indecisive or are discredited, turning to the wisdom and expertise of technocrats is a way forward. It is possible that when political power is not publicly contested at all, electability is irrelevant and expertise can give the ambitious an edge. Technocracy is actually a proven model of governance which has elevated the standard of living of a people from a third world to a first world in the case of Singapore and China. An interesting point to note is that in China’s Politburo Standing Committee eight out of the nine members are engineers and also the current Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has degrees in Economics and Law, a healthy academic combination for governance of function. But is that sustainable in the long run?

The Chinese have engineers, scientists, economists and mathematicians in the political fold especially at Politburo level instead of lawyers and others social science qualified politicians. Singapore is a country run by technocrats and is often highly touted as a shining example in the governance of function for the greater good of all citizenry through a clear understanding of their needs and political will to ensure these needs are met.  Herbert Hoover who was the President of the United States in 1929 when the stock market collapsed was a professional mining engineer and there was nothing he could do when the American economy went into flames then. Here is an example of technocracy backfiring or was it just an unfortunate moment in American history? There is also the argument that China, run by technocrats, suffers from heavy pollution, unsustainable inequalities and rampant corruption and the technocrats have not managed to halt the degeneracy.

VP Mnangagwa leading the call for technocrats
Zimbabwe’s move to embrace technocracy for its expertise-based approach is commendable and should incorporate the intricate details of the ZIMASSET economic blueprint and the country’s economic empowerment policies. The country deserves better, an urgent need for technocrats who will spearhead the rehabilitation of the country’s dilapidated infrastructure and dysfunctional institutions. It needs practical functionaries who will unclog systems and clear the entire deadwood that remains the bane of most national establishments and institutions. 

VP Mnangagwa started off very well making it clear that corrupt officials would be dealt with decisively and now he is talking progressively about harnessing the expertise of technocrats. The ruling party has always been responsive when it comes to matters of national importance. It should be said that institutions are bigger than personalities and a reform programme can only be deemed a success when its momentum outpaces its original architects. The invitation of technocrats into government will bring that added edge into the country’s economic recovery process.

ZANU-PF: Signing, Sealing and Delivering the 2018 Election Victory

By Bernard Bwoni

ZANU PF UK Vice Secretary General:
Cde Bernard Bwoni
It is well and fine to create your own little green space, a little paradise for yourself and an oasis in the middle of raging waters but the fact of the matter is that your individual comfort will always be under threat from collective misery. The Rhodesians did it until cumulative deprivation of the majority dismantled the biased construct. It is better to create a comfortable space for collective benefit, a place of aesthetics and beauty, a place for everyone to enjoy and be prepared to defend for continued aggregate benefit. The government of Zimbabwe has been proactive and progressive in laying the foundations for the country’s reorganisation following years of external and internal obstructions. The focus has been people-centred policies and that is policies for undivided societal gains. That is the key to silencing all those perennial naysayers of government and government policy through effective implementation and delivery. 

Professor Jonathan Moyo was on point when he recently stressed the importance of service delivery and implementing the objectives of ZIMASSET as the key to countering those who had been working clandestinely and in cohort with external elements to unconstitutionally unseat President Mugabe. That is the only way to upgrade the lives of the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe and rebuffing those who have been working tirelessly to derail Zimbabwe’s economic revolution. Zimbabwe under the astute stewardship of President Mugabe has weathered the storm and there is clear awareness that the only defence against such attacks and the surest way towards another landslide victory in 2018 is through good public services in place for people.

The government has continued prioritising civic services, welfare services, human development services and provision of basic minimum services amid very difficult micro and macroeconomic conditions. This is not rocket science; the people of Zimbabwe have been embracing government initiatives because they seek to empower and ameliorate citizens’ lives. The priority has been clean, constant and consistent water supplies, improved sanitation and roads rehabilitation. New pumps were recently installed at the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment and most are beginning to feel the benefits of such service delivery initiatives. Amid the never ending negative onslaught the government has continued to have that bona fide raison d’être to the welfare of the people and the development of Zimbabwe through public service delivery. The paper that ZIMASSET is written on has to translate into tangible activity on the ground for the benefit of ordinary men and women on the street. Hence the urgent need to harness and involve all stakeholders and the starting point should be the development of partnerships, mobilisation of all civil society groups, the realignment of the frustrating bureaucratic bottlenecks and the use of ICT as a potential tool for effective public service delivery.

There has been a people-centred service delivery approach where the new relationship between the government and the citizens has become that of provider and recipient of the public service. The 2018 election is safely in the bag once these service delivery strategies go into full swing and people have a clear awareness of their existence. There is need for education and information on these initiatives. The government doing a lot of hard ground work in terms of infrastructure development and delivery of services yet there is a lack of clarity on such and citizens continue to lament the lack of such because of lack of information. 

There are many developments happening in Zimbabwe as we speak but unfortunately these have not been effectively and clearly presented to the public. The citizens of Zimbabwe have basic rights to expect to receive high quality public services and the government of Zimbabwe does listen to the people on a broad scale, but there is need for the authorities to start narrowing it down to the barebones of people-centred. It has to start with listening to the people and modifying services accordingly to the needs of the people. The government as the service provider acts as trouble-shooters and should effectively and timely respond to complaints and continually seek feedback and evaluate own strategies for service provision to continually improve the service being provided. The citizens of Zimbabwe have to be involved in the monitoring process and these are nitty-gritty’s of effective public service delivery.

There are some unsustainable inequalities in the country as a whole and a good example is the divide between the northern and southern, low density and high density residential locations which existed before independence and still persist today. The low density areas seem to enjoy way better services than their high density counterparts who are mostly densely populated and thus in more urgent need of services. If you travel around Glen Lorne, Greendale, Mount Pleasant, Borrowdale and others you find the roads are in better shape than Mbare, Mufakose, Glen Norah, Tafara, Budiriro and others. The low density areas are generally cleaner and there is less dumping in public spaces. The government should thus focus on the poor and disadvantaged citizens to the extent of affirmative action and positive discrimination in terms of service delivery in favour of those previously and perpetually marginalised groups. There is need for conscious and deliberately planned outreach to target the more disadvantaged in the cities and rural areas.

The provision of basic services is recognised within the Zimbabwe Constitution and this should be built around high standards of integrity in the country's institutions. There is need for better and clear information dissemination and the strengthening of the country's public institutions. Weak public institutions will yield poor public services. What Professor Moyo was alluding to is that the continuous improvement of methods, processes and standards of high quality service delivery should form part of the ruling party's election campaign. This is no longer about saying what people want to hear a few weeks before the elections but actually focusing on what people need in the long run. This is about incorporating service delivery into the day to day running of government. Street lighting should be working uninterrupted unless it is forces of nature, roads should be constructed and maintained, potholes addressed on an ongoing basis, clean and consistent running water, hospitals working at normal capacity, good and affordable schools and support for those who are unemployed. The government has to be commended for tackling some of those niggling public service delivery issues under the tight fiscal constraints.

The ruling party has the tools and strategies in place and has started putting these into practice. The emphasis should be on simplification of rules, reducing redundant multifaceted levels of decision making and greater delegation of authority to the levels that actually deliver on the ground. The result based management system should be implemented fully and there should be follow-up right down to the bottom end of the structure. The buck stops with the senior management and if there is a dislocation in terms of service delivery then the management is not fit for purpose and in need of replacement. The senior management in service delivery has to be accountable to both government and citizens of Zimbabwe. They should be emphasising capacity building to upgrade skills, to change attitudes and improve performance. The idea is to first and foremost reduce or remove completely the bottlenecks and bureaucracies, reduce waiting times, simplify forms and processes, provide information and make it easier for citizens to get that information, create hotlines for service delivery and complaints or compliments.

The senior management should be offloading unhelpful and unfriendly personnel to ensure that service is delivered according to promises made, that waiting times are as short as possible. The classic case of poor service delivery in Zimbabwe is the installation of electricity in newly built dwellings. It takes forever get electricity into your home unless if a bribe is paid. This is a basic right of every citizen of Zimbabwe to have electricity but the power companies make the lives of citizens unbearable. The red tape, the bribery and lack of transparency and accountability in certain institutions has eroded the trust citizens have in government ability to deliver good quality services.

Any incremental improvement in public services will positively impact on many citizens and that translate to even more votes in 2018. Innovation and continuous improvement are the hallmarks of sustainable public sector transformation and the country is beginning to see some of the benefits. There is need to reshape public services to make them more flexible, responsive to the needs of the people and more effective by removing unnecessary red tape and duplication in planning and delivery. The complex and confusing landscape of the corrupt and inefficient public sector organisations has to be simplified and make for easy access to services for all.

The government should terminate any activities that have stopped contributing to the public purpose, remove all organisational barriers detrimental to service delivery, simplify structures to streamline decision making and increase transparency. Service delivery costs money, we are talking of money the government does not really have and as such should remain frugal. Government should look into bringing together organisations with similar skills, expertise and processes to achieve greater effectiveness, economies of scale and removal of duplicated functions and powers. And after that 2018 is yet another walk in the park.

#Bhora mberi ne service delivery#


Women Empowerment and Zimbabwe: Equal But Different.

By Nick Mangwana

ZANU PF UK Chairperson : Cde Nick Mangwana
It is reported that in the last 15 years as many as 21 Zimbabwean women in the UK have been killed by their husbands, partners or boyfriends. Incidentally by an overwhelming majority the men happen to be Zimbabweans as well. This is a tragic datum. The last victim had her life taken whilst the African Union Summit with the theme, "Women's Empowerment Year and Africa Development for the Concretisation of Agenda 2063" was in session. What an inspired and germane theme! 

There is argument that a lot of Zimbabwean men have failed to adjust to the loss of a higher domestic status they had by relocating to the Diaspora. Coming from a conservative patriarchal society where men hold a higher social station than women comes with a lot of privilege and in extreme cases the infantalisation of women. There are cases where women are whipped in chastisement like children for such mundane mistakes like getting distracted and leaving the cooking meal to burn. The notion that one can beat another adult until she conforms with their thinking and views as a way of winning an argument is an absurdity. The societal safe guards against this animalistic behaviour frustrate the Neanderthal man and some end up committing homicide. All in a bid to cling to the slipping away privileges.  

 The mainstream advocates of women's rights are not pushing to demote men's rights and promotes the women's. No. What they are clamouring for is the promotion of women's rights to the same level as that of the men. The problem for some men is, by accepting that a woman is equal to them, they have to give up all the frills that come with women's subservience. This is what marks the borders of the battleground. It is conceited to believe that it is men's preserve  to grant women their rights piece meal. Some men even have the temerity to declare that it would not happen in their house! Hang on. Are these not rights? They are an entitlement and not a fringe reward for "good behaviour".

Women that try to assert their right are labelled rebellious and other unflattering expletives. The salutation "shewe" (my lord) when imported into these power games is literally interpreted. The demand for it appears to be a form of servitude or emotional subjugation. If used as a term of endearment, then there would probably nothing wrong. But if used to reinforce a superior position then it is a term of abuse. Bride price (Roora or lobola) is used as a domestic political leverage for pliancy and not a threading twine to unite 2 alien families into one. The biggest leverage of all in the domestic arrangement is earnings or resources. There is anecdotal evidence that many high achieving women in Zimbabwe can achieve everything else but marital bliss. This arguably not the women's problem. But the insecure men's feeling of self-inadequacy. Men want control. A financially independent woman has a level of autonomy that threaten some men's securities.

When people move to the Diaspora the domestic social order can get radically inverted. Many mal-adapted men resist this loss of patrimonial privilege. Whilst the women enjoy a new found autonomy. The men feels undermined and ka-boom good bye marital bliss. The paradox of it is that this happens despite the great effort that has been made by the government to empower women. From  1977 Zanu PF has had a vibrant Women's League whose raison d'etre is to promote the interests of  women. A lot of strides have been made in higher political circles. It just needs to cascade down to the grassroots and break the barriers of cultural, customary and religious resistance.

Britain has 22% women in parliament. United States has 19.3% Women in the House of Representatives. Zimbabwe has 35% women in its Bicameral House and a whopping 47.5% in the Senate. The person at the helm of the Senate is a woman as well. For more about ten years now, Zimbabwe has criminalised marital/spousal rape. Just a few years behind a lot Western countries. Practically this is where the challenges of lobola comes into contention. A lot of men find it difficult to accept that someone for whom they paid lobola should report them for taking what they claim to have paid for. A married woman's right to say, no is dismissed. Possibly another issue that needs an expeditious down rushing. It is still to be processed by the ordinary Zimbabwean man and the women themselves that a man that forces himself on his spouse  is as much a sexual deviant as any rapist fiend on the street. Men should realise that lobola is not about converting a woman into an object one's sexual gratification. Progress is needed here.  As clichéd, women's rights are human rights. 

Education remains a key tool in bringing women empowerment, equality and social justice. There is  now about 50% parity in the country's premier universities, University of Zimbabwe and NUST. This is now reflected In the corporate world where there is a good female representation at the highest level. Whilst eulogising this progress complacency the country cannot afford to be complacent. It cannot afford to promote ill-qualified women to key positions just achieve gender parity. That would be sabotaging women's cause.

Some people are saying, because Zimbabwe no longer has a female vice president that is evidence that Women Empowerment has taken 2 steps back. Nothing can be further from the truth. The first point is that by having a female  Vice President for those ten years, the Rubicon was crossed. The nation was desensitised to the idea of having a female at the helm of government and taken orders from her. Having said that women should get to top positions on merit and not on gender. If at the time the President did not feel there was suitable female candidate to bring in as a vice president he shouldn't have just dumped down by picking an inappropriate candidate to replace Mrs  Mujuru. 

The US does not and has never had a female vice president. Britain does not have a female deputy prime minister. Can one argue that after Margaret Thatcher female empowerment in Britain has retrogressed? If it is flawed logic that Britain has regressed because after Mrs Thatcher's leadership the Conservative Party has been led by males, then it is also flawed logic in the Zimbabwean discourse. In America John Mccaine had Sarah Palin for a running mate. In the next election Mitt Romney opted for Paul Ryan; a man. Why did no one bat an eyelid? Why is no one calling this retrogressive? Because every woman who is worthy their mettle would want to get into any top position on merit and not as an affirmative action window dressing, dumping down.  When a suitable female candidate comes along to lead the party they will lead it. The same applies to Zanu PF. Merit should trumps patronage.

 Women are not fighting for favours from men. They are fighting to be treated as equals. They are not fighting to be men. They revel in their femininity. Men and women are biologically different. Their anatomy is different and the chemicals (hormones) in their bodies are different. However they are not beneath men. They are not intellectually inferior to men too. They are equal to men. In a domestic set up there can be a difference in roles. This is just division in labour according to different core strengths and specialisation. There is nothing wrong with that. A man cannot be forced to get pregnant because it is foolish. By the same token a woman should not be challenged to do the same physically demanding tasks as a men if that would impinge on her biology and therefore ability to be a mother. Because some physical tasks do that. 

This is where the mantra of different but equal comes into play. They deserve to be treated as such. Because they are biologically and physically different, they don't play in the same sport teams as adults. But because their intellect is the same sit  in the same class or job  with men and trounce them because gender is not a determinant of intellect. Only men with a deep seated lack of self-confidence would use physical punishment to make a woman do what he wants. Only a man with some very established insecurities and a sense of inadequacy would use customary or religious reasons as an excuse to subjugate a woman. This is even more pertinent in the  back drop of impeding total ban on corporal punishment for minors. If it is not right to discipline a child by beating them how pertinent is it with another adult? Who said tow adults who compose a family should discipline each other anyway?


Property rights and Zimbabwe’s right to land

By Bernard Bwoni

ZANU PF UK Vice Secretary General :
Cde Bernard Bwoni
A recent report by the Oakland Institute revealed that there are billionaires from the West who have been buying and grabbing land in Africa at a very concerning rate. These investors and hedge funders are reportedly paying next to nothing for these vast tracts of land in some African countries. This is a worrying trend and puts into context the Zimbabwe land policy and reform. Interestingly in South Africa in his State of the Nation address, President Zuma said that foreign nationals will not be allowed to own land in South Africa but will be for long-term lease only. The land reform debate in SA has been taking centre stage with the country exploring a 50-50 Policy framework on rights to people who live and work on farms. 

The Zimbabwe Land Reform programme is a beckon of hope for the historically and perennially disadvantaged and displaced Africans. Any other African country in the same predicament as Zimbabwe was before the land reform will have to go through the same mire and mud Zimbabwe went through to regain their land. It is such a shame that some African countries are relinquishing their God-given heritage for a few pieces of silver. Zimbabwe is a unique country and all the hard work was not for nothing. There is no other route to land reform in Africa except for the Zimbabwe Model. Anything else is child's play.
There is no universal definition of the term property rights as everyone has an opinion and vested interest in the matter. The definition can and has been evolving over time, thus considering different perspectives, the historical context and background underpinning the Zimbabwe land and property rights issue is necessary. Property rights are not absolute but just a function of what society is willing to acknowledge, defend and enforce. They may need to be adjusted at some point because they do not evolve optimally on their own. There is not enough empirical evidence in Zimbabwe of how the complex property rights package influences economic behaviour and as such those who remain fixated on property rights as the panacea to Zimbabwe’s economic woes are unreflective and insincere.
The Development Economist Daniel W. Bromley in his book, Environment and Economy: Property Rights and Public Policy, argued “property rights do not necessarily imply full ownership and the sole authority to use and dispose of a resource”. To be secure, property rights should be of a sufficient duration to allow one to reap the benefits of the investment and should be backed by an effective, socially sanctioned enforcement institution. Zimbabwe has in place ninety-nine year lease in place and that is “a sufficient duration” for anyone to benefit from their investment, case closed.
The relationship between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community has been constantly changing and without doubt will continue to evolve. We live in a complex and dynamic world where conventional wisdom can be overturned for the good of the majority and it is important to acknowledge that changes in theoretical views on property rights do take place. During the unrestrained land grab by the colonial settlers the rights of the individual settlers took precedence over the collective rights of the indigenous community and in the new Constitution the Zimbabwe government addressed those inequalities created by these historical interactions.
Much of the early property rights literature was quite optimistic about the evolution of property rights towards economic efficiency. The available literature indicate that property rights form the cornerstone of every Western country’s economic modernisation and Hernando De Soto even calls the system of legal property rights the ‘’hidden architecture of modern economies’’ and “if a developing country is willing to succeed economically, property rights which have to be well-defined must be enforced”. De Soto of course did not factor in China which “recognises the right to private property but only as a right bestowed by the state and not as a natural right’’. And, by the way China, is by far the fastest growing economy in the world and is poised to edge the USA as the biggest economy in the world by 2016 or so. My argument is that the property rights construct and debate in Africa was distorted by the colonialism and imperialism’s accumulative streak and that makes De Soto’s claim invalid in the African context.
Property rights are theoretical constructs in economics and the discourse needs to reflect that especially on a uniquely multiplex case like Zimbabwe. Property rights are formed and enforced by political entities and they reflect the historical context, the conflicting economic interests and the bargaining strength of those affected. They are the social institutions that define or delimit the range of privileges granted to individuals of specific scarce resources. In the modern economic literature the argument is that it makes sense to have secure property rights as it makes it easy to access finance and credit from financial institutions and promote sustainable development.
Some contemporary development economists have gone as far as stating that sustainable development will only come from stable property rights and that markets are less efficient when property rights do not exist. From a theoretical economic point of view that is true however complexities in different situations need to be acknowledged. There is an element of imperialism that has pervaded much of the discourse of property rights on Zimbabwe. I have looked into available literature on property rights on Zimbabwe and there is absolutely nothing and the question is how do you make recommendations without empirical evidence from realities on the ground?
Those who remained opposed to Zimbabwe’s land reform have argued that separation of provisions on property rights from rights over agricultural land is fatal as the section in the new Constitution on agricultural lands restricts thus running against natural justice. Chapter 4, Part 2, Section 72 of the Constitution points out that access to agricultural land is seen as a “fundamental right” and that “every citizen of Zimbabwe has a right to acquire, hold, occupy, use, transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of agricultural land regardless of his or her race or colour’’. The new Constitution also notes that following the colonial occupation and the triumphant liberation war “the people of Zimbabwe must be enabled to re-assert their rights and regain ownership of their land”. If you read the above clauses then the issue of secure property rights is not as contentious as some would want the world to believe. The land reform in Zimbabwe is irreversible, and that is fact. Property rights with regards to agricultural land fall within the limits set by the State to avoid abuse and the government has set up the Land Commission to address issues of abuse through a transparent land audit which is still pending, and this is all within the bounds of international law. Chapter 4, Part 2, section 71 of the new Constitution addresses the overall issue of property rights fairly and again in line with international law. The rights are extended to all people and the rights to compensation are recognised. However the issue of property of agricultural land needed to be and was addressed in line with the need to “redress the unjust and unfair pattern of land ownership that was brought about by colonialism”. Conventional economic wisdom tells you that economic progression is based on strong foundation of secure property ownership, but what it does not do is take into account complex interactions on the ground.
Chapter 4, Part 2, section 72 of the Constitution seeks to protect the continuing rights of persons currently occupying or using agricultural land under a lease or other agreement with government and states that the State must take appropriate measures ‘’to give security of tenure to every person lawfully owning or occupying agricultural land”. The Constitution states that, not all agriculture land will not be State land and “owners and occupiers will be allowed under the provisions and limits of the law to ‘transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of his or her right in agricultural land”. It is important to understand the fact that the property rights issue is insufficient in explaining why capitalism has succeeded in the West but failed dismally in other parts of the world.

The issue of property rights surely cannot be absolute without taking into consideration the realities on the ground. The choices we make today are often constrained by the decisions and actions of yesterday. History does matter and it is history that shapes our futures. The shifting relationships of property and property rights in the Zimbabwean context are contentious and as such it is important to adopt a historical outlook to it to garner a better understanding. The discourse around the issue of property rights needs to be reflective and all encompassing for better outcomes for all Zimbabweans.