Sunday, December 02, 2012

Zimbabwe Conference Theme Sets the Tone for Sustainable Employment Creation

Conference theme sets the tone for sustainable employment creation

Sunday, 02 December 2012 00:00
Kurai Prosper Masenyama
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Once again the biggest event on Zimbabwe's political calendar, the Zanu-PF Annual Peoples' Conference is upon us with the gathering set for the 4th to 9th December in the Midlands city of Gweru.

Reflecting the centrality of Gweru and the Midlands as the centre-piece of the nation the party has adopted a theme so central to the needs and aspirations of ordinary Zimbabwean people, that is ‘Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment'.

The all-encompassing theme is set to be interrogated and refined at the gigantic event, where at least 6 000 delegates are expected, setting the grand stage for the creation of a new economy owned and controlled by indigenous Zimbabweans for their ultimate benefit.

While delegates will debate and refine the policy thousands other Zimbabweans will not be physically in Gweru, but in spirit as they anticipate the roll out of a policy meant for their immediate and undeniable upliftment.

To bring clarity and uniformity to the understanding of the theme within the Party and beyond this submission unpacks what is it to ‘indigenise', what are the key elements of ‘economic empowerment' and what entails ‘developing and creating employment' and above all why this strategy is the only way Zimbabwe can create its economic paradise.

Indigenisation is anchored on the need to transfer the ownership and control of natural resources into the hands of local citizens or indigenous people. Black people who were prior to independence in 1980 precluded from benefitting from the economic activities of the country qualify to be classified as indigenous.

Thus to ‘indigenise' means to bring under the control of indigenous or local people.

As categorically stated by the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Robert Mugabe ‘the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy is a focused response to the previous exclusion of our people from mainstream economic activity by the settlers.

The policy seeks to broaden the economic base by involving the majority of Zimbabweans in meaningful and gainful activity, thus giving greater meaning to our independence and self-determination.

Thus, indigenisation is about the elimination of wealth along racial lines and creating equal economic opportunities for all.

Through indigenisation Zimbabweans are being made responsible for and committed to determine their destiny.

The key requirement of the indigenisation legislation is that at least 51 % of shareholding of value companies should be place in the hands of local owners. These can be communities, employees, or other strategic groups whose activities will uplift their communities.

The benefits of indigenisation are beginning to flow following the set up of a number of Community and Employee Share Ownership schemes through which portions of the shareholding have been transferred to ordinary Zimbabweans.

Currently Zimbabweans are witnessing a lot of infrastructural development in the rural areas largely financed by proceeds from CSOTs.

For example the Tongogara Community Trust has facilitated the construction of Musasa and Banga Primary Schools and the repair of Chirume dam and Svika clinic. In addition Zvamabande Clinic encompassing a mother's waiting shelter and a mortuary are being constructed while Zunde raMambo gardens under various Chiefs have been financed.

The Chegutu-Mhondoro-Ngezi-Chivero-Zvimba Trust has lined up the construction of schools at both primary and secondary levels, borehole drilling and rehabilitation, road construction and rehabilitation and the setting up of a Vocational Training Centre for Youths in Mashonaland West province.

Other schools are being constructed in Zvishavane and Gwanda while irrigation schemes are being developed in a number of communities in Matabeleland. Hence, the indigenisation programme is well on course and beginning to sho tangible benefits for citizens.

The second key element of the Conference theme is ‘empower'.

Empowerment involves uplifting or improving a situation from one point to another. In this instance Zanu-PF is championing the economic upliftment of ordinary citizens through indigenisation.

Economic empowerment presents a triad approach involving creating opportunities, training and skills development and provision of financial resources.

In fact, as Minister of Youth Develoment, Indigenisation and Empowerment Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has indicated it is this element that will change people's lives and there is greater need to focus on this area.

Zanu-PF has facilitated the roll out of empowerment programmes for women, youth, in agriculture, mining, tourism and other key sectors through the Ministries it controls in Government and other party departments.

Thirdly, the Party calls for the ‘development and creation of employment' as opposed to the empty job creation promises of other political formations.

Jobs can only be sustainable if you can develop and finance them as a nation. For example, through the mobilisation of youth funds and SME financing Zanu-PF has facilitated the development of thousands of jobs whose continued existence is not determined by events far away in Washington, London or Berlin.

On average a funded youth project creates at least three jobs while an SME creates five jobs.
Thus, when money generated in Marange, Chiadzwa or Chisumbanje is used to finance the development of job opportunities it becomes more sustainable than to wait for jobs to be created through foreign direct investment from nations reeling in debt and battling to create jobs for their own citizens.

It is a pity that it is reported that a country like India has created close to a million jobs to polish diamonds from Zimbabwe yet we are not developing our own processing industries.
There is nothing juice about this and Zanu-PF is saying no to this kind of scenario thus we are championing the development of our own jobs.

Empowerment across the entire economic value chain can be at the centre of economic growth through capacitating small to medium enterprises, and the creation of a bigger and financially stronger middle class whose consumption habits will fuel further growth.

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the engine room for economic growth hence, through empowerment they will continue to grow and absorb more working people into the economy.

This is particularly important because SMEs have the ability to create and retain jobs even in difficult times as evidenced by their limited retrenchment activities during the economic recession that hit the world in the past two or three years.

Finally, since Zanu-PF announced its progressive conference theme there has been widespread panic in the MDC formations whose policies are grounded in foreign ideas, foreign dominance and foreign beneficiation such that the MDC-T claimed that Zanu-PF has stolen its job creation idea.

The allegation is ridiculous at worst and laughable at best because Zanu-PF has always been a champion of job creation long before Morgan Tsvangirai was summoned by the Westminister Foundation and ordered to form an opposition party in 1997.

At independence in 1980 President Robert Mugabe embarked on a massive education programme to create a skilled citizen capable of getting a job anywhere in the world.

Thus, the need to create jobs and employment opportunities was on the Zanu-PF radar since it assumed office in 1980.

In fact, economic empowerment for indigenous citizens is the climax of various struggles waged and won by the Zimbabwean people under the fearless, valuable, astute and altruistic leadership of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

For it is the desire to have unfettered political sovereignty alongside economic freedom that thousands of Zimbabweans sacrificed their lives in the face of enemy weapons.

It is for the need to directly benefit from our gold in Mazowe, our platinum in Mhondoro-Ngezi, our coal in Hwange and our diamonds in Marange that the likes of Cdes.

Leopold Takawira, Nikita Mangena, Jason Moyo, Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo sacrificed and lost their lives in the struggle for Zimbabwe.

It is for the sake of having control of our waters in the Zambezi river, our fish in Kariba, our elephants in Gonarezhou and our mountains in Vumba that the likes of Cdes Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe, Simon Muzenda, Maurice Nyagumbo and Joseph Msika dedicated more than half of their lives to the struggle for Zimbabwe.

Thus, as the revolutionary Party's leaders gather for another Conference Zimbabweans should brace themselves for a total expansion of the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme in a way that will support the develoment and creation of employmen, that is sustainable and deriving benefits for local people. Youths are at the forefront of benefitting from such employment opportunities.

Kurai Prosper Masenyama is the Director of the ZANU PF Department of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.

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