Zanuism- Lets Just Make Stuff Up | OPINION
Gus Manatsa (PhD)
In several remarks, Mr Mnangagwa has continued to peddle the argument that the west imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe because of Zanu PF’s land reform program. For him to be respected by the local and international communities, Mnangagwa must believe in an objective reality. a.
In his Mandela lecture, former President Obama said: “Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up….we see it in state-sponsored propaganda and internet driven fabrications….”
We react to some of ED Mnangagwa’s recent remarks. Is ED just making stuff up?
ED: Zimbabwe does not regret embarking on the land reform programme, which attracted debilitating economic sanctions from the West.
Not true. The measures were specifically targeted against Robert Mugabe and key members of his regime, and NOT against the country itself. Mnangagwa and his ZANU PF continue to use the measures as the scapegoat for the problems created by the party’s control of Zimbabwe.
Back in 2000/1, Mugabe became angry for being challenged in his position of leadership and decided to take it out on all those that he saw in any way opposing him in Zimbabwe. Consequently, farm seizures began together with attacks and arrests of opposition activists and journalists. We saw a new high in the brutal side of the regime.
The European Union decided to introduce measures that would impact, those that were responsible for the brutality and the terrible infringements of human rights and the breakdown of law and order in Zimbabwe. Not on the people of Zimbabwe. Thus, measures were introduced specifically against a relatively small number of people.
The main measures included an arms embargo, a travel ban and an asset freeze on a few individuals that included Mugabe, Mnangagwa and their immediate families. The Zanu PF ruling elites suddenly found themselves unable to take junket trips to key European and American countries. Their response- destroy what had been a very vibrant and successful economy and brutally taking it out on all those that opposed them – including the whites who Mnangangwa was dining and wining at Borrowdale last weekend.
ED: The land reform exercise was a closed chapter as Zimbabwe was now focusing on consolidating the programme through mechanisation.
Maybe so, but it was not a Zimbabwe program but a Zanu PF program. It benefitted those who had connections to Zanu PF. Zimbabwe will never be stable if the land issue is not addressed in a non-partisan way.
ED: They (Commonwealth) said you should not do that and we said no to Commonwealth. We repossessed our land and redistributed it to our people.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations after the country’s 2002 elections were found to be flawed by electoral observers. The elections were marred by politically motivated violence. The announcement was made by a troika of Commonwealth leaders that included then President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.
Secondly, I challenge Mr Mnangagwa to quantify and gazette the names of people who benefitted from the land reform. It is an open secret that most state-driven reforms are implemented along partisan lines and to maintain power structures.
ED: In cases where one family has more than one farm, we will repossess the other farms and give to others. We have a land commission (Zimbabwe Land Commission) which is moving around auditing land ownership.
Commissions in Zimbabwe are notoriously stuffed with partisan individuals. Look at what is happening in ZEC, a commission fast leading us to another disputed election. We know that a “new, well-connected black elite” of about 2,200 people controls nearly 40% of the 14m hectares seized from white farmers. Mugabe and his wife, Grace, are said to own 14 farms spanning at least 16,000 hectares. We know that the Command agriculture targets the same 2,000 elites. It is not hard to connect the dots.
ED: For almost 20 years, we have been in isolation because of the sanctions, but we don’t regret that sanctions were imposed on us because we are a proud people, we are a proud nation, a principled people.
The country was not in isolation, individuals were. If the country was in isolation because of sanctions, then the business sector of the country would not have been able to buy raw materials from countries applying the sanctions and sell their goods there. Zimbabwe based countries were never restricted from selling their products to the EU, America and other countries. They simply failed to produce under a heavy load of economic mismanagement, indigenisation and lack of rule of law.
It was the lack of earnings from exporting companies in the country that caused a shortage of money. Once the land reform started the country could not service its debts and therefore it was enormously difficult to borrow more money.
Hyperinflation was caused by the incredible level of indiscipline by the central bank and its efforts to justify and bolster the various measures taken by government, which in themselves were very damaging to the country’s productive capacity. One of the measures was supporting a collapsed agriculture which was the biggest industrial sector. The Reserve Bank simply printed vast amounts of money that were handed over in support of the new efforts to make land reform successful.
ED: Under the Command Agriculture model and the Presidential Input Support Scheme – we are providing support to re-settled farmers and saying bye bye to poverty.
Command agriculture is when a centralised government office tells everybody which crops to plant, and when to plant, fertilise and harvest them. It was practiced at the height of the Soviet Union era and had a lot to do with the economic failure of that state.
Mnangagwa is priming the country for an imminent Command Economy. Before we know it, there will be Command Health, Command Education, Command Marriage, etc. We have already seen the perils of “Command Mining” through the diamond mining plunder.
In Zimbabwe, the program targets 2000 farmers capable of planting 200ha or more. This means that it benefits the Zanu PF elites with large farms. In 2017, US$500 million was used to plant about 150, 000 hectares out of the 400 000 hectare” targeted threshold. By achieving less than 50% of its targeted output, the program has lined the pockets of the networked elites with half-a-billion dollars.
The call to a command economy places the military and the security apparatus at the pinnacle of developmental policy and this perilously displaces the foundational statutes of this country which stipulate that the people must govern through elected representatives.
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