By Sij Ncube
Harare, October 6, 2015 – President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, is exhibiting signs of a very excited young men after his recent appointment as the minister of Youth and Indigenization.
Not only has Zhuwao, the son of Mugabe’s late sister Sabina, shown gross political arrogance but has rubbed the wrong way investors and other critics by suggesting Zanu (PF) is forging ahead with its hare-brained and partisan empowerment strategy with its warts and all.
He has publicly admonished sometimes realistic finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for proposing to cut the bloated civil service, intimating he an agent of the West intended to torpedo Mugabe’s rule.
For Zhuwao indigenization of the economy, which to all intents and purposes refers to the state sponsored accumulation of wealth by Zanu (PF) officials and supporters, is the only panacea to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.
But he has recently sent tongues wagging again with his latest proposal to levy private companies 10 percent to fund the Zanu (PF) indigenization policy which critics are adamant is part of Mugabe’s ploy to fleece companies through a 10 per cent ‘empowerment levy’.
Critics canvassed by Radio VOP say the plan to generate resources for Zanu PF’s indigenization programme is not only unconstitutional but idiocy of the highest order.
“It is yet another example of the appalling ‘economic stewardship’ of the ZANU PF government. This ill -advised idea must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves,” charged MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi.
“This attempt to milk the few companies that remain operational in the country is daylight robbery which should not be allowed to see the light of day. We advise Zhuwao that that taxing people to oblivion will not achieve any gains as long as there is low economic activity in the country. Imposing more taxes, dubious ones at that, on already distressed companies will only cause the economic situation to get worse,” said Chihwayi.
He added that the Zanu(PF) administration has proved beyond doubt that the only area it excels in is in squeezing every cent out of the suffering Zimbabweans rather than creating a conducive environment for economic empowerment.
Chihwayi said more than two years after the 2013 general elections Zimbabweans still wait with bated breath for the 2.2 million jobs it promised.
“With such poor ideas coming from Mugabe’s so called ‘thinkers and advisers’, we do not fore see a single job being created by the intellectually bankrupt government anytime soon,” he said. Rashweat Mukundu, a media consultant and political analyst, believes Zhuwao’s plan is part of the on-going corruption of the Zanu (PF) administration.
“The proposed levy begs the question as to why the setting up of businesses by locals must be supported by another private entity be it local or foreign. Those intending to set up businesses must approach the banks and if there is a problem with accessing capital that is what Zhuwao must address,” said Mukundu.
“We all know what happens when Zanu (PF) sets up schemes to tax citizens, the national housing programme, war veterans compensation fund and the recent youth loans are evident enough of the mismanagement and corruption that replicates everything that the Zanu(PF) government proposes including Zhuwao’s latest proposal.”
Various proposals under the previous ministers of indigenization and youth have been shrouded in secrecy and amid allegations of corruption.
Recent reports indicated the Youth Fund has been looted largely by Zanu PF supporters most of which have allegedly failed to pay back the loans. It has been the same story with the community share-ownership schemes which have been riddled with corruption.
But Chihwayi said the MDC, through the capable leadership of Ncube, is convinced that genuine empowerment could be realized through a reconstruction of Zimbabwe anchored on ensuring that citizens define their own economic, political and social destiny through locally driven economic productivity, proper utilization of the country’s natural resources, stabilization of the country’s international relations in order to create markets and attract international powers.
“We are convinced that creation of investment friendly policies that encourage foreign direct investment is of paramount importance for economic prosperity in the country.”