Thursday, 21 July 2016

Zimbabwe My Home

By Joshua Maponga

What is a country without countryman?
Poverty and hunger can not be the purpose of politics and change but rather freedom and posterity.
The borrowed economies build and founded on the western model are totally insufficient to drive permanent solutions for they depend on the west to drive and manipulate.
The story of Zimbabwe is no exception to European/western manipulation.
The regime and instruments of government are for welfare not civil war.
We can't use out guns and cruelty on each other as a nation... the enemy is not black comrades... put your weapons down.
The morality of torture and civilians abuse is not a demonstration of power. These are your relatives and parents. I call upon the nation of Zimbabwe's leadership to prioritise life above gain.
1. People need food: trade is the blood line of commerce. Make it possible for people to feed and trade 2. Security every Zimbabwean matters and their life is an asset to the nation. We can't be killing each other and reduce the quality of life of our own citizens. Many security officers are acting out of their own evil volition and should not hide behind political an party rhetoric. He who performs evil is evil. 3. Education and health are key rights to the nation the instruments of the state must drive this agenda. 4. Infrastructure and other services will activate our economy. The present status of my country breaks my heart. So much resource in the hands of the selfish few.
The opportunities created by liberation are national not personal to party cronies.
The conscience of the party leaders must be awakened
They have enough food and drink but continue to fight for power to get drunk.
I call upon the nation to stand together and face the enemy and look into the eyes of the evil of white western instruments of democracy that leave us vulnerable.

Permanent solution is indigenous establishment of our own governance structure which respects the past we come from whilst fully aware of the present global influence and the future we desire. The Great Zimbabwe is the empire of southern Africa let the nation look into the mirror and wash of parasitic economies that hide behind relief and hand puts from the west

The West has no interest in the welfare of the African person except to replace regimes who will donate resources and abuse nationals.
I fully understand the politics of money and we need to move with caution at this hour of trial. We are an Independent State
Black man must understand that the white regimes have no interest in Africans but her wealth, full stop.
The god of the west is monopoly, greed, economic dominance all dressed in a plastic jacket of democracy!
We desperately need a new conversation before replacing donkeys with wolves!

Farmers of Thought :Maponga Joshua iii

(The contents of this article are the private thoughts of Cde Joshua Maponga. He also blogs on We are not disclaiming his thoughts, neither are endorsing them. We are simply saying, "let this voice be heard")

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

I am Desperate for Change in Zimbabwe but..

Cde Rutendo Benson Matinyarare

The musings of so- called "Government Agent and ZANU Apologist".
I want change! In fact, I'm desperate for change, because I miss holding my mother and having my family together. I want reform and rights for us as a people because I want to speak this same sh@&% standing in my own country! I'm tired of corrupt, greedy, gluttonous politicians with no care for the development of the people and this, our Pan African revolution. Suffice to say, I am even more angry at us, a self-centered, self-righteous citizenry with no acknowledgment of our own culpability and ineptitude in lifting ourselves and our nation.
Sadly though, even though the momentum of the past few weeks is encouraging, filling every Zimbabwean with a cohesive, optimistic euphoria, I'm skeptical. I sense the winds behind the people right now are not winds driven by the interests for Zimbabwe and its people. I feel nothing good will come out of ‪#‎ThisFlag‬ movement, as it is, because it still reeks of the same non-transparency, trickery, self interest and opportunism that has become our national character. Compounding it is the fact that most fellow Zimbabweans today, don't really have a clear view of what's empirically wrong with our nation, we are fragmented in our desired outcome and we have no clue or consensus on how to deliver this change.
Peaceful protests, stay aways and such other civil disobedience will never change the status quo and evil of selfish rot in Zimbabwe, neither will it dislodge this hardened bureaucrat who already feels affronted. Violence, although seductive to some, will not suffice because it will be met with extreme retribution and Zimbabweans are simply not prepared for the trauma of the aftermath of this romance.
So, even if this movement hopes to succeed on the last resort of dislodging the government, through a military mutiny or pushing the military to crush them for the west to intervene (very unlikely). This would still leave us with the ashes of a smouldering nation, dead economy at best, political infighting, a political interregnum [vacuum], military dictatorship and or prolonged political unrest at worst. And of course the lingering but worsened bad old Zimbabwean habits of selfishness, short sightedness, denialism, deceit that are rife in us today. All of which plays us well into selling out to white capital like Mandela.
I would support this movement if it was truly organic and it technically understood everything that is wrong with our country, how to fix it but admitting what can't be fixed immediately and they looked for a negotiated compromise because it's more likely to succeed.
I wish they at least understood that corruption is the cancer in the Zimbabwean system but it's not the immune destroying virus that allowed the cancer to take hold in the first place.
The core of our struggles is:
- Raw global capitalism, the imperial fight for the control of our resources, combine with our corrupt leaders and citizens selfishly sabotaging the same struggle for self determination, by our abdication of our national and civic duties due to self servitude and lack of foresight.
I would like our president gone, for he is too old, no longer in control and no longer capable of taking us forward into the next phase. However, I'm wise enough to know that he is a strong man and he won't be pushed out without being given a safe passage particularly for his family. Nonetheless, if violence has to be used to get him out, Zimbabwe and the region will be the losers.
As much as I want him out, I wonder if he has groomed anyone. I desire to see a progeny who will lead us back into unity, continuing to champion the struggle for black self determination, maintaining the gains made by his predecessor, while driving us into the future with avant-garde Afrocentric strategies fit for the era. Notwithstanding, be rest assured that such a person would be resisted by the order, so long Zimbabwe will not sell out wholesale to the white establishment, until we Zimbabweans together with Africa raise from the big slumber and show a capacity to develop ourselves.
Until we develop our selves, until we start offering solutions for our own challenges, the west will never partner us but they will forever expect to come and use us as slaves, dictating to us how we should develop in their interest.
- I want ZANU out but ZANU is not going anywhere because they hold hard power, they have a legitimate mandate and there are hundreds of hungry party members down the ladder waiting patiently for their chance at the trough. So we need to be smarter than butting heads with them using 1900 techniques to change a system, because then we could be butting heads in Zimbabwe for the next 50yrs. We are the generation of the pen, the generation of intellect and compromise, let's look for the path of feasible success, least resistance and unity. The Afrikaners achieved power from the British without bloodshed after they had lost the Anglo Boer war.....there are smarter and more uniting ways for achieving progressive change in a country.
Let's seek innovation and creativity from the minds of our youth to bring change into Zimbabwe because that is what it will take to make Zimbabwe competitive with the rest of the world after any change..
Brut force [hard power] or civilians inducing hard power [military power] to be used against them so that a one more stronger will come to the rescue, is no longer the way to gain change. We have the ruins of Libya and Iraq as testament. Besides, Zimbabwe doesn't have oil, so why would the one with monopoly on violence want to intervene? And if they did, what would be the price?....We need unique thinking as young Zimbabweans if we are to beat hard power both at home and abroad.

(The views expressed herein are Cde Rutendo Benson Matinyarare's. He can be contacted on

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Government Between Rock and a Hard Place

Some times governments have to make rough decisions for the interests of the nation. In fact, one can argue that populism has been one of the most destructive philosophies of many post- independence African States. So well-meaning and stable governments sometimes do have to sacrifice current popularity by making tough decisions to move a country forward.

One of the most seemingly unpopular but noble decisions made by the Government of Zimbabwe was to promulgate Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 (SI 64/2016) which restricted the amount and kind of goods one could import. This was meant to protect local industries from being suffocated by cheap imported products from the region. This did not only affect ordinary folks in Zimbabwe surviving on cross-border trading, it sent shock waves in the region.  

Domestically there were disturbances in Beit Bridge and murmurs on the streets. To make the argument for the government position was the panic in South Africa. They were very clear that jobs are going to be lost. Closer to the border they expect much more than 1000 jobs to be lost. Even in Malawi the government had to discuss the impact of SI/2016 on their export volumes. Malawi started reviewing its export policy to Zimbabwe in light of this. The whole region is seized with the matter right now. Zimbabweans never realised that they had such buying power to cause such trade turmoil in the region. All things being equal the government can rest its case in as far as the logic behind the ban is concerned.

But not all things are equal, are they? There is massive unemployment in Zimbabwe and a lot relied on selling imports to earn or augment their income. The people are saying that they are being stopped from earning an honesty living. What are they supposed to do now? They accuse the government of being heartless and preferring capitalists against to its own people. The government rebuts by saying it is with employment of the people  in mind that it tries to protect their jobs by protecting local industry. This is a classic Catch 22 situation for the government and the people themselves.

There is no doubt that imports seriously injure industry and the reaction in the region vindicates that. To curtail imports the government had two tools. Either to give subsidies to local industries or restrict imports. The answer to that was a no brainer. Struggling with fiscal space took the subsidy option off the table. This left the import restriction as the only option. It made its choice putting itself in a no-win conundrum. What is it going to do with the people whose livelihoods is affected by SI 64/2016, when it has an impossible unemployment rate as well as a need to reduce the civil service?

It has to be understood that there is likely to be an all round increase in industrial output as commercial demand for the products from the protected industry increase but the results is not assured. There is also the risk that demand towards local products would result in fatcat bosses using the extra cash for higher salaries and allowances instead of increasing employment and improvement in quality of the products themselves. The industries benefitting from this should be monitored because the whole population cannot make sacrifices for fatcats. Another angle that would restrict demand of the local product is the Income Factor. With Made in Zimbabwe goods being so expensive and imports not coming in, consumers might just do away with the use of those goods since they just cannot afford them because of low incomes. That would not benefit industry as well. Some unscrupulous traders will also increase their prices because of the restricted competition and make the consumer suffer more whilst doing nothing for employment. So it is incumbent upon industry to also revisit its margins.

Most executives of these companies live profligate lives. Somebody has to pay for that. They then escalate the price of their products and the market resist by going to buy next door. Now that they have been protected they should take this opportunity to make their processes more mature so that the anticipated increased revenue from the protected market would not be used for executive largess.

Vice President ED Mnangagwa raised the debate of Protectionism versus free trade to a different level by saying that the Import Control measures were temporary. He went further to suggest that Free Trade helps to increase the quality and efficiency of local industries as they up their game in order to survive against steep competition from across the borders.  However, during its infancy, the local industry would need to be nursed. Like a child it has to be protected until it gets enough maturity to run and compete on its own. But when it comes to Zimbabwe the question is when will that be? What is the roadmap?

This columnist swears by the Buy Zimbabwe mantra but that should not turn lazy to innovate or lazy to think industrialists into Cry Babies. A few months ago spoiled mobile companies in Zimbabwe were asking the government to ban platforms such as WhatsApp. Not for facilitating the sending of incendiary or subversive messages. It was for reducing their call time and text revenue. Instead of innovating and come up with products to increase their revenue all they wanted was protection so they could just “chill” and milk it. Their approach made them deserve the Title “Enemies of Progress”. So our industries should also not remain babies needing nursing and cuddling forever.

This is not a crusade against neoliberalism. It is part of sovereignty that a nation should always protect its citizens above foreigners in a lot of issues. But protection of own citizens includes protection of the corporate citizens.  The tendering system is said to favour locals. But there have been reported cases of substandard bitumen emulsion being imported to be used in civil contracts such as road construction when local companies who do that product should be capacitated and this is locally bought. Focus should on this cash intensive imports more than on domestic groceries.  Some of the groceries which are bought by individual vendors do not make a big dent on the market even if collectively aggregated. It’s just a minor ripple which is just enough to provide someone with a livelihood. But big purchase including furniture, electronic equipment, housing decorations in the in the palaces of the non-duty paying elite should also be looked at for this policy to have any purchase with the people.

The argument is, if Zimbabwe industry booms, then Zimbabweans will move from the informal sector into formal employment. They would use hard earned degrees for a  living. Possibly those degrees do not include a Bachelor in Vendor Studies. This formalisation of Zimbabwe’s economy will take long. Import restrictions while part of the solution is not a silver bullet. It is a well meant policy which is struggling to gain attractive influence because the people are worried about the here and now and not some anticipated increased employment in an undefined future. When folks are desperate, it becomes about now. What is my child eating tonight? Where is my next rent coming from and what do I do about my daughter’s ripped school uniforms now? So a national increase in industrial productivity is not an immediate need to give a second thought.

 Whilst this mind-set is not ideal, it is real. So the policy makers who are making all these rules in good faith should also factor that someone will not wait for tomorrow when they can’t survive today. The accusation out here is that because of the immediacy of the need to survive everyone including government is in a crisis management mode. Government is accused of making knee jerk jerk policies without a thorough impact analyses which includes grassroots consultation. With some of the perceived volte faces the nation sees, there is some credence in the accusation.

Now that Zimbabwean Domestic Industry is enjoying protectionism, it should expand, innovate and increase its output to benefit the owners, workers and the whole supply chain in Zimbabwe. This means that industry should now pour resources. They have to find a way around the difficulties in accessing capital and expand. If they don’t, then the government took tough unpopular decisions for nothing

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Corruption: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

By Nick Mangwana

Most of the people that follow sport know the one simple truth; the same crowd that cheers you, is the same crowd that would boo you. This is how fickle the temperament of the people is like. Talking of sport reminds me that football is almost like a religion. You cannot support Arsenal today and Manchester United tomorrow. No matter how bad your Arsenal plays, you will boo them, drink your sorrows and wake up tomorrow supporting them. It is matter of the heart, an emotional attachment. Not an intellectual affinity.

But the fickleness of politics is a bit different.  This is one area where an individual can disavow of their team or even tactically vote for a rival team to make a point.  Whilst I believe this to be true I contend there are exceptions to this rule. I don’t think a genuine member of Zanu PF can ever vote for Morgan Tsvangirayi.  That is just unreal.  So please hold on to that thought as embark on some Frank Talk.

As is my custom I came to Zimbabwe for the Independence Celebrations in April.  The event was breath taking. Everything was on point. The entertainment, the choreography and dramatisation of the Liberation Struggle and the nations’ history were just exquisite. But the highlight for me was the sheer number of people that came to attend the celebrations. It was clear that Harare had come out. There stadium was bursting but yet there more outside than those inside. As if to prove a point the moment the celebrations finished hordes of people left, proving that they had not come for football but for the momentous day.  What was also clear was that the people that came out were more aligned to Zanu PF than to the opposition parties.  This is not to say that the Independence Celebrations are a zanu PF event. That would be wrong. This is just to say since the opposition leadership did not come to the celebrations, their supporters followed their lead. Imagine some Zanu PF comrades came all the way from London. And yet the counter-revolutionaries did not bother even though they were in Harare. Hold on to that thought again. One day we shall revisit.

About a month pulling these massive numbers, Zanu PF showed again its mobilisation capacity when a huge assemblage converged in Harare for what was dubbed the Million Man March. Another show of pulling power of the Ruling party among the poor.  A mobilisation tour de force. 
But on the 6th of July Zimbabwe’s towns were brought to a standstill by what primarily are cyber activists.  There is one thing that has to be clear here.  It will be perceived as the height of arrogance to dismiss this as the work of malcontents and mischief makers.  A lot of people who participated in the stay away were Zanu PF members. Why?

Well, it is the same people that attended the Independence Celebrations (our people) that today stayed away from their usual day to day actives. The very same ones who filled buses coming from province afar to show solidarity with their President who on the 6th heeded the call of faceless activists.  For if they had chosen to ignore that Harare and all other urban centres would have steamed up with people at works.  It would be unmitigated immodesty to claim that since we don’t win a lot in urban areas these were not our people anyway.  No mashefu, these were our people. This is why when these calls for boycotts or stay always are called by the opposition parties they are not anywhere near this successful. Our Zanu PF members and supporters cannot play for a Team Tsvangirayi. Never. They would rather kick it into the long grass than score for that man. This is because our people cannot stomach being part to a Tsvangirayi or more recently Mujuru agenda. They have no problem with a citizen agenda.  Let us stop and listen to what they are saying. There is a subtext beyond what was declared. They are saying they love Zanu PF but Zanu PF has to love them back by taking their voice seriously. At the top of what’s aggrieving the rank and file is our tolerance of naked corruption in our midst.  Our people have spoken, we should listen.

This group calling itself “Tajamuka” or whatever ridiculous name is not making any demands which are very different from those presented by Cde Chipanga on the 25th of May 2016. The only difference is the talk of the self-serving Import licenses.  But the exasperation expressed by Cde Chipanga over corrupt top officials is the same. The point I am making is that there has been little action after Cde Chipanga’s speech and therefore that message has been hijacked and repackaged and relabelled from Zanu PF Youth League to Tajamuka.  This has to be taken seriously. Let us act on corruption.

Our leadership should not show an arrogance of power by ignoring this.  It is a sign of destructive self-righteousness to be contemptuous of the people that vote us into power. Vendors or touts do not all belong to the opposition.  A lot belong to us. In any case it doesn’t really matter because the whole point is that these people are Zimbabweans whose voice should be heeded.  It is repulsive to abuse our young people by using them as cannon fodder during sundry campaigns and ignore them, only to recycle them again after.

We cannot afford to miss the mood of the people, comrades. Truth be told, they are not happy.  I am not asking the leadership to heed populist demands like repealing SI 64/ 2016. That is a very sensible piece of law. I am not asking the leadership to bin the idea of bond notes. Bond notes are a brilliant idea, whatever people’s institutional memory tells them. I am asking for corrupt people to be dealt with. Only then when the government cannot afford to pay wages, will the people empathise because they won’t point to a glaring misuse of the money as well as the pilferage though the tender system.
The idea of dismissing urban dwellers as opposition supporters and rural folks as our own supporters (true as it might be) might be interpreted by our own supporters as hubris.  We cannot afford as a party to have the populace lose faith in us. When they express disillusionment let us acknowledge it. If we did in, we dig in but we take corrective action.  Comrades, we have to acknowledge when it us and not others who have a problem. The externalisation of problems is for the consumption of others. We have to be honest with ourselves and carry the people with us. We banish the people, the people will banish us.

Haile Selasie  one of the founding fathers of Pan- Africanism said, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” I have chosen to speak frankly. May my party choose to act boldly on corruption.  

First Published in the People's Voice 8-14 November 2016