Climb down or pragmatism? : Recent developments in Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, 2009 to 2016

by Musiwaro Ndakaripa

(International Studies Group, University of the Free State, South Africa)

5 December 2016.

Introduction

Economic indigenisation has been a recurring theme in post-colonial Zimbabwe.[1] In the early 2000s the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) government tended to conflate indigenisation with the land question for electoral purposes. However, as the land question lost its lustre in the late 2000s indigenisation stood as a distinct subject shaping the political landscape in the country. A critical examination of recent developments on the indigenisation policy suggest that ZANU-PF piggybacked the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties during the power sharing government (PG) era by enforcing the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act of 2007[2] despite its negative effects on foreign investment and the economy in general. ZANU-PF’s game plan was to gain popularity through the policy but share the blame with other political parties in the government if the economy was to nosedive. Once ZANU-PF retained power and faced the unenviable task of sustaining and growing the economy the party climbed down on indigenisation. This is apparent in public pronouncements by senior government officials and the lukewarm implementation of the policy. Read more

Mon, December 5 2016 » Economy, Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment

Un(Bond)ing Zimbabwe’s financial confidence: bond notes, people and politics

Tinashe Nyamunda looks at Zimbabwe’s ‘liquidity crunch’

A political storm is brewing in Zimbabwe over the introduction of some US$75 million worth of bond notes, initially scheduled for the end of October but which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has delayed to November – or even December (as it is unsure of public response).

This is sparking protests from different political movements in Zimbabwe – such as the Evan Mawarire-led #thisflag and Prosper Mkwananzi’s #tajamuka – and government faces legal challenges from former Vice-President and leader of the newly-formed Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) Joice Mujuru, prominent Harare businessmen Fredrick Mutanda, and lawyer Fadzai Mahere. Many see the notes as unbacked bond paper with currency denominations printed on them. They believe their value will rapidly collapse.

This is despite the US$200 million dollar facility that the RBZ claims to have accessed from the African Export Import (Afrexim) Bank to back the new bond notes and hold their value.

But, as economist John Robertson has argued, ‘money is all about trust’. The people of Zimbabwe do not trust the bond notes because of the horrors of Zimbabwe’s recent hyperinflation past. For that reason, their introduction is seen as the act of a desperate and predatory government seeking to return to worthless Zimbabwe dollars. Many believe that this will only result in ordinary people suffering, while providing new avenues of accumulation for the political elite. Read more

Wed, November 23 2016 » Economy, Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment

The Threat of “Normalising” Authoritarian Rule in Zimbabwe

By Brian Raftopoulos

Since the end of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2013, a SADC facilitated settlement that sought to move Zimbabwe out of the legitimacy crisis of the widely discredited elections of 2008, Mugabe’s Zanu PF has been battling to find ways to re-engage Western Governments and the international financial institutions based on limited economic and political reforms. After some early indications in the post-GPA period that the Government of Zimbabwe was keen to cooperate on reform measures set by the international financial institutions, Zanu PF has persistently displayed its determination to avoid any serious reforms.

Apart from a more pragmatic if still unclear enunciation of the indigenisation programme, based on the 2007 Act which established the requirement of 51% ownership by ‘indigenous Zimbabweans’ of all foreign owned companies, and small changes to improve the business environment and facilitate business dealings, there remains a major reluctance to engage in more substantive reforms demanded by donors and the MDC formations. Read more

Sun, November 13 2016 » Global Political Agreement, Human rights, Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment

Zimbabwe Beyond July 2013: Prospects for rebuilding vibrant social movements

James Muzondidya. Zimbabwean Researcher and Analyst.

One of the dominant and recurring themes in civil society discourses around the revival and strengthening of the Zimbabwean civic movement is the issue of social movements.  At almost every Civil Society Organization (CSO) workshop/meeting that has been convened since July 2013, there has been a general consensus amongst CSO leaders, policy and strategy advisors and research practitioners that there is a critical need for the civic movement to reconnect with its social base in order to remain relevant, legitimate and powerful. Much more importantly, it has been strongly argued that there is an imperative need for a sustained process of (re)building social movements that can push for the realization of Zimbabwean citizens’ socio-economic rights and interests as well as social and political change. What has, however, been critically missing in this emerging ‘post-July 31 consensus’ is some serious thinking about how this social movement (re)building process is supposed to be done; the kind of social movements envisioned; the opportunities and challenges involved in rebuilding these social movements; the role that contemporary CSOs is supposed to play in the whole process; and the strategies required for such a process to succeed.  This discussion paper seeks to examine the key issues that need to be considered in Zimbabwean civil society’s deliberations around social movement rebuilding. Read more

Tue, June 2 2015 » Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment

Zimbabwe’s Politics of Despair

Brian Raftopoulos, Director of Research and Advocacy, Solidarity Peace Trust.

Introduction

In an insightful commentary on the current state of Zimbabwe politics, Joost Fontein writes about the prevalence of despondency in which a ‘new timescale of hope and aspiration’ has emerged ‘that makes both the present and any immediate future appear equally uninspiring.’1 In many ways this resignation to the politics of the long haul reflects the loss of hope in an imminent alternative, which was the structure of feeling that fuelled the social imagination of opposition and civic politics from the late 1990’s until the complexities and complicities of the Global Political Agreement. Underlying this politics of despair are a plethora of factors, ranging from the re-organisation of Zanu PF and its political machinery of patronage, coercion and electoral chicanery, to the massive dissipation of opposition energies in the context of  large-scale changes in Zimbabwe social structure since the 1990’s.  The recent implosion in Zanu PF around the politics of succession have, moreover, provided further evidence of the pervasive mood of despair in Zimbabwe’s polity, even against the background of the ruling party’s purported victory and resurgence in the 2013 election. Read more

Tue, March 24 2015 » Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment

Re-engagement, renewal, and the death of Zimbabwe’s Real(e)st National Democrat.

Wilfred Mhanda

Wilfred Mhanda

By way of an obituary for Wilfred Mhanda (aka Dzinashe “Dzino” Machingura): May 26 1950 – May 28 2014

By David Moore, University of Johannesburg 

Zimbabwe’s Ides of April foretold the death of the Movement for Democratic Change as we know it. Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed the author of a letter from within the leadership circles asking him to consider leaving the torch for others. This instigated a late April effort, seemingly led by the fiery MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti, to dismiss the erstwhile champion of change. Tsvangirai, worn with nearly fifteen years of defeat whilst perhaps also sated by the good life, tried in turn to dismiss the cabal. Too much change for him. His heavy handed response will lead to a new party being formed. A week or so later he was in and out of clinics suffering nervous strain. The result: either more fragmentation than ever or renewal breathed broadly into the democratic forces, A détente between the eternal enemies in the Zimbabwean polity, posing within rough camps of ‘intellectuals’ and ‘populists’, could emerge in a new congress of democrats, but there is an equal chance that the gap will widen. Violence between them has already emerged, as in 2005 when the MDC split into a debilitating divide, and indeed when the ‘eggheads’ who would eventually lead Zimbabwe’s current party-state broke off from the folks one of their éminences grise labelled ‘non-working spivs, who had made thuggery and intimidation the law in the African townships’ led by Joshua Nkomo, who despised ‘intellectuals’ ever since. Read more

Fri, June 6 2014 » Zimbabwe Review » 1 Comment

The Sanctions Debate on Zimbabwe

Solidarity Peace trust LogoBy Brian Raftopoulos In the early 2000’s a series of ‘targeted measures’ were introduced by the EU, US, and later Australia, New Zealand and Canada, against the movement and assets of particular individuals in the Mugabe regime. The measures were introduced as a response to serious electoral irregularities and human rights abuses in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2000 and 2002 respectively. It was also clear that these interventions were a response to the state-led land acquisition process that unfolded for much of the 2000’s, which radically transformed the property ownership structure on the land in favour of small scale farming. Read more

Fri, April 11 2014 » Zimbabwe Review » 1 Comment