Monday, 9 March 2015

Robert Mugabe- cooked-up threat to US foreign policy

By Bernard Bwoni

The case of the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe has seen the truly ugly face of ‘imperialism’ raise its head again and again with Mr Obama fronting the cause of the establishment. The narrative and the level of dishonesty has been breathtakingly unforgiveable and the dubious double standards are not coming from the Zimbabwe government side but Mr Obama himself. The architects and engineers of these illegal economic sanctions have continued with this carrot and stick game at the expense of the sanctions-induced destitution of the masses in Zimbabwe. The local opposition has been handheld into abyss and the outcome of their naivety has been the continued attempts at meddling into Zimbabwe's internal affairs through the illegal regime change agenda and the accelerated economic chaos that followed. The US President, Mr Barrack Obama recently came out stating that the US will continue to maintain the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe because “President Mugabe and his policies pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States”. What is so ‘unusual and extraordinary’ about an African leader reconstructing the biased colonial legacy where the indigenous population was deliberately dotted onto the margins of all economic activity in the country? The EU on the other has continued to show willingness to re-engage Zimbabwe and that has to be acknowledged and applauded.

 

The economic sanctions against Zimbabwe were never about the hollow and high-sounding themes of democracy, rule of law or civil liberties as the local opposition marionettes and those who hold the strings would try to make the world believe. They were never about 'championing for the rights of the downtrodden ordinary people of Zimbabwe'. They were never about the love for the people of Zimbabwe. The reality of the matter is that the sanctions were meant to separate the people of Zimbabwe from the meaningful and potent Mugabe policies of economic emancipation and the land reform which addressed and redressed a colonial wrong (there are no colonial rights by the way). History should have taught Morgan Tsvangirai and his bunch that American foreign policy only caters for American interests and not some uninspiring opposition leader in Zimbabwe. The sanctions are meant to further US foreign policy and anything or anyone who goes against this poses a threat to US foreign policy. President Mugabe and Zimbabwe fall in that category and hence the continued use of economic sanctions against the country as punishment.

 

What threat to US foreign policy is Mr Obama talking about? Surely Morgan Tsvangirai's High Seas voyages are more of a threat than what President Mugabe is trying to achieve in ensuring that the indigenous Zimbabwean is empowered to enable them to participate fully in the economy and benefit from this participation. That cannot be classified as a threat to US foreign surely? Could it be that Mr Obama is concerned about the increasing Russian and Chinese engagement with Zimbabwe and the emerging closer ties? There is no point in being vague, Mr Obama should just come out and state clearly what this threat is. Why should ordinary Zimbabweans continue to shoulder the burden of the economic sanctions for another year for an imaginary or cooked-up threat that does not exist?

 

Zimbabwe's current economic misfortunes are a direct result of these illegal and unwarranted economic sanctions against the country. Mr Obama is more concerned about US foreign policy, not the depravation and destitution that has been inflicted on the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe. The economic sanctions were never and will never be about the people of Zimbabwe but the permanent interests of those who imposed these sanctions. It is the poor ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe who have to bear the full brunt of the sanctions so if these sanctions were indeed about the people of Zimbabwe then they should have been lifted unconditionally to alleviate the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. It is disturbing and disheartening that Mr Obama is reducing the sanctions-induced suffering of the people to mere politics of imaginary threats to US foreign policy.  The engineers of these economic sanctions against Zimbabwe have always been less than sincere and their sole purpose has always been to advance their own interests whilst coercing defenceless victims like Zimbabwe into submission. This is tantamount to economic bullying through deliberate and direct sabotage of the economy and the Zimbabwe economy bears testimony to that. Zimbabwe has been reeling from the full force of this direct hit at the core of the country's economic engine which has seen the economy descend into an unstoppable tailspin. These economic sanctions against Zimbabwe have caused upheaval and disintegration socially, politically and economically. That is exactly the intended outcome of the US and EU foreign policy to make the people suffer into submission and turn against their leadership and institutions. The social malfunction, the economic disintegration and the political meltdown that followed is what Mr Obama is pointing out as the consequences for 'threatening US foreign policy'. The fact of the matter is that US foreign policy is in fact imperialism in disguise. Zimbabwe as a sovereign country should not be exposed to regime change agendas and that is more of a threat to Zimbabwe’s own internal policy than a threat to US foreign policy.

 

It is disingenuous for Mr Obama to make such claims that it is “necessary to continue this national emergency and maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat”. What threat? But then you have to forgive Mr Obama because he is only reading from the script. Zimbabwe does not and has never posed a threat to any other country's foreign policy. It is in fact the US which poses a real and direct threat to Zimbabwe's domestic policy through the continuance of these illegal and devastating economic sanctions. For Obama to act as the mouthpiece of these overtures of a former imperial establishment is disconcerting to say the least. The US and EU have come to the realisation that their Tsvangirai Project has failed dismally and as such cannot continue with their usual excuses for maintaining sanctions. They have now craftily coined it 'the threat to US foreign policy'. My foot! The only threat that exist is the continued and unabated economic decline due to these economic sanctions and further suffering of the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.

 

At the end of it all we all know that these economic sanctions against Zimbabwe are illegal and inhuman. Zimbabwe does not pose a threat to US foreign policy in any shape or form. The US is not at all concerned about all those high sounding nothings of democracy, rule of law or good governance which the local opposition was trained to recite as their gateway to the Presidium. There are many real rogue regimes that have repeatedly violated their own people’s civil liberties and have no idea what democracy is yet the US and her allies continue to enjoy very good relations. This has always been and will always be about permanent interests and nothing else. The US main concern is to punish Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe for going against the grain and pursuing policies that seek to empower the indigenous people. Zimbabwe's thrust towards economic emancipation goes directly against the imperialistic agendas of exploiting developing countries of their natural resources. The erstwhile imperial powers continue to get richer and richer whilst the victim countries continue to wallow in perennial poverty and destitution. The threat which Mr Obama is talking about is the fact that these policies are resonating well continent wide with other African countries and that pose a threat to the unrestrained exploitation of resources these former imperial have enjoyed. That is the threat President Mugabe poses to US foreign policy.

 
bernardbwoni.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

What the heck has the London Mayor been smoking lately?


By Bernard Bwoni
The Telegraph published London Mayor Boris Johnson’s article entitled ‘Happy Birthday Mr Mugabe with special love from Labour’ on the 22nd February 2015 and this got me thinking, what the heck has this man been smoking seriously? The Conservative Party and the ruling party in Zimbabwe have enjoyed cordial relations from way back then before the country’s independence and the Lancaster House Conference and as such this confused and confusing article would have made a lot sense coming from Tony Blair himself. I bet Mrs. Margaret Thatcher would be turning in her grave at this unwarranted and nauseating tirade against President Mugabe. Mayor Boris Johnson started off by calling President Mugabe’s 21st February Movement ‘an event of truly spectacular ugliness’ and he wonders ‘who on earth would want to there?’ The simple answer to Johnson’s lazy question is, the many Zimbabweans who voted the man into power would definitely want to be there. I am convinced Mayor Boris Johnson wrote this article whilst under the influence of something that is not legally available on the open market. For starters how on earth did he come to the conclusion that Zimbabweans eat lion meat? He calls those who were going to be attending President Mugabe’s birthday celebrations a ‘meat-maddened mob’ and ‘brain-washed Zimbabweans’ who will sing happy birthday ‘to the man who has impoverished their country’.  From there onwards his article became a mish-mash of contradictions and confusion.
The fact of the matter is that in the last general election in Zimbabwe 61% of the electorate voted President Mugabe into power in an election endorsed as free, fair and credible by the SADC and African Union observers. These were the observers who were on the ground and that is the democracy which Mayor Boris claims to champion. So for him to call those who decided to celebrate President Mugabe’s birthday as ‘brainwashed’ is not only condescending but an attempt at muzzling people’s democratic right and downright dirty. President Mugabe is a hero for many Zimbabweans Mayor Boris and the fact that he is not your hero does not make those Zimbabweans who see him as a hero ‘brainwashed’.
Reading through Mayor Boris’ article one is left wondering where on earth he got his facts from to come up with this fiction of an article. He makes spurious claims that all teachers across Zimbabwe had been forced to contribute $10 each for these celebrations. I initially gave Mayor Boris the benefit of the doubt but decided to check with a few of my friends in Zimbabwe who are teachers just to make sure and none of them was aware of such a call. So where did Johnson get these distortions from? Or did he just make it all up in this moment of madness?
Mayor Boris then goes on to make a revealing admission that it was the Labour Government under Tony Blair who played a ‘shameful part in the disaster’ and that is absolutely right. It is this ‘shameful part’ that meant that the British Government reneged on funding the Land Reform process in Zimbabwe as agreed at the Lancaster House Conference, Tony Blair and his bosom buddy George Bush’s economic sanctions against Zimbabwe have indeed caused the untold suffering of the ordinary people in Zimbabwe. Mayor Boris rightly points out that the British Government agreed to fund the land reform at Lancaster and he rightly places the blame on Tony Blair and Claire Short for going back on the arrangement. Now the question to pose to Mayor Boris is why the uncalled for attack on President Mugabe?
It is the British government betrayal of the Lancaster House agreement that led to the Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe and it is because of the Fast Track Land Reform that the EU and the USA imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is the economic sanctions that have led to the ‘malnourishment of children’ and ‘the companies going to the wall’ that Mayor Boris was going on about. He then goes on to the pluck figures out of thin air in his drunken state I assume and makes yet more unsubstantiated claims that Zimbabwe is now the ‘poorest nation on earth’ and talks about the ‘ravages of HIV’, the ‘emaciated figures listlessly on street corners’ as his evidence of Zimbabwe being the poorest country on earth ‘beaten only by Congo’. I am left wondering what indicators Boris used to come up with such ridiculous claims?
Let us get things right about Zimbabwe and Congo which Mayor Boris again decided to conveniently omit. These two countries are extraordinarily rich in natural resources and they are not playing ball with Western capital and hence Mayor Boris’ frustration. He goes on to patronize Zimbabwe and the liberation war by stating ‘readers will remember the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, by which Margaret Thatcher granted independence to Rhodesia’. This man is mad! The Zimbabwe independence did not come on a silver platter Mayor Boris, but it was the protracted liberation struggle that brought the Rhodesians to the negotiating table at Lancaster. The liberation of Zimbabwe was not handed over to the people of Zimbabwe, arms were taken up against the unrelenting Rhodesian government, and blood was shed until that priceless day on 18th April 1980 when Zimbabwe attained its independence.
Mayor Boris puts that blame on Tony Blair for reneging on the arrangements agreed at Lancaster as the reason for the cause of the Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe but then contradicts himself by claiming that ‘Mugabe’s long reign has been characterised by one overwhelming objective: to exterminate the last vestiges of white power’. This is totally unfounded because President Mugabe is the first African leader to coin the concept of National Reconciliation long before Mandela was credited as the icon of reconciliation. After independence the whites in Zimbabwe were left untouched and they continued to live freely. Ian Smith lived freely in Zimbabwe until his death and he is buried in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe embraced his erstwhile nemesis of the liberation struggle and even had whites in his cabinet. Mayor Boris then goes on to contradict himself again by stating that it was this betrayal of the Lancaster House Agreement that gave ‘Mugabe his pretext to launch his pogroms against the whites’.  No Mayor Boris, this was not an attack on whites but rather a case of addressing some historical inequalities and these had been tabled at Lancaster. The 6000 whites Mayor Boris mentioned owned over 70% of the arable land in Zimbabwe whilst the over 10 million indigenous black people of Zimbabwe were relegated to the most unproductive lands of the country and the margins of all economic activity.
 
The London Mayor goes on to say that the Labour government allowed Mugabe to ‘launch a racist tyranny’ and that it was Labour’s betrayal of Lancaster that gave Mugabe the ‘pretext for the despotic confiscations’. Let it be made clear that the liberation war in Zimbabwe was about the land and hence the agreement that the British Government would fund the process of redistributing the land to its original owners. The land reform in Zimbabwe, whichever form it took, was inevitable and necessary to redress the ruthless land tenure laws drafted by the crafty Rhodesian colonial system. The Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe was a case of correcting a skewed land ownership pattern where a few whites owned the majority of the fertile land at the expense of the many black Zimbabweans who had been forced into the rock terrains of the country. President Mugabe did not make up the provisions of the Lancaster House but these were agreed by all principals.
Mayor Boris is right about one thing throughout his article that Tony Blair and his colleagues were responsible for the breakdown of the cordial relations between Zimbabwe and the British Government. He nailed it when he places the blame on the Labour Government but then lost it when he went into this tirade against President Mugabe. It was the inexperience and hastiness of Tony Blair that the provisions of the Lancaster House Agreement were scrapped and President Mugabe had no choice but to redistribute land to the hungry and angry landless indigenous Zimbabweans.
Zimbabweans have celebrated President Mugabe’s 21st February Movement for years now and will continue to do so. Those who decide to go, it is their right and not for Boris to decide or ridicule. Those who go are not ‘a meat-maddened mob’ or ‘brainwashed’ but willing Zimbabweans. There are children, educated adults and elders who attend and no one puts a gun to their heads to attend this over-subscribed yearly event. Zimbabweans do not eat lion meat Mayor Boris so get your facts right before going to print. Mr David Cameron just like all the other Conservative leaders have always accorded President Mugabe a modicum of respect and that is the bedrock of the Zimbabwe-British relations. Mayor Boris got it terribly wrong when he launched this attack on President Mugabe. Whatever he is smoking these days has to be banned.
 
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Friday, 20 February 2015

Zimbabwe sanctions: power games versus strong mindsets

Bernard Bwoni

His Excellency President Robert Mugabe reached yet another extraordinary milestone when he turned 91 years old on the 21st February 2015. May I take this opportunity to wish him a happy birthday and wishing him many more years to come and conquer, and he is still as sharp as a needle. The outstanding son of Africa has stood the test of time and only a handful can say exactly the same. The man has put brakes on the imperialism carriage and has invite intrigue and interest from the erstwhile former colonisers and their allies. The man has shown the way and continues to show the way for real African political and economic freedom. President Mugabe has stood firm and continues to stand firm, he has stood side by side with the principles that helped liberate Zimbabwe and to date continues to stand by the very same principles. Here is a man who is demonized at home and away for the principles and policies he stands for that is total economic emancipation of the indigenous people of Zimbabwe and Africa at large.

Robert Mugabe has posed real questions to the economic status quo created by the architects of imperialism and colonization, and with all their resources the EU and USA have failed to respond to these critical questions. Their only response has been overt and covert coercion to discredit the potent Mugabe questions. The architects and perpetrators of the tripartite evils of slavery, colonization and apartheid have resorted to such measures as the illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is calculating and callous that the EU chose to announce that they would be maintaining the sanctions against Zimbabwe and President Mugabe on the eve of the President’s 21st February Movement celebrations. That is devious, deceitful and downright dirty play. It is ridiculous that President Mugabe and Zimbabwe remains under any form of sanctions.

The EU and USA will always try to save face even if it means their callous actions of maintaining economic sanctions on Zimbabwe will further put yet more hardship burdens on the already economically downtrodden people of Zimbabwe. By removing the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and President Mugabe, the EU and USA will be conceding defeat and the fact of the matter is that these two allies do not and never offer concessions but only condescendence. The sanctions against Zimbabwe the country and President Mugabe, the Head of State are meant to block any business dealings with the country in a bid to trigger unrest. The blockade of any meaningful economic activity with Zimbabwe has the intended aftermath of ordinary Zimbabweans suffering because of the impact of these sanctions and the only person they see as the cause of their economic misfortunes is the Head of State who happens to be President Mugabe. The ordinary man, woman and child is traumatised by the hard-hitting effects of these economic sanctions that they will persistently deny the existence of a hidden hand in their suffering from the designers of these immoral economic sanctions. The hard-hitting reality though is that these fraudulent economic sanctions are the sole cause of Zimbabwe’s economic reversal, everything else is a symptom and a by-product of the economic sanctions.

What confounds the EU and the USA is President Mugabe’s unique brand of politics beyond the colonial era imbued in economic emancipation of the previously disadvantaged and dispossessed indigene. This brand of post-colonial politics has been resonating well with other people on the African continent and the sanctions on Zimbabwe and President Mugabe are meant to warn all those African leaders who try to emulate Mugabe to steer clear of the Zimbabwe economic model of economic emancipation. The EU and USA are now beginning to play a waiting game which is their last remaining hope of defeating the Mugabe vision of economic freedom for the Zimbabwean indigene soon to be cascaded down continent wide. The idea of announcing the extension of the illegal and unprincipled economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and President Mugabe on the eve of his birthday is part of the game and the hope is that the end of President Mugabe is the end of the ideas of economic emancipation.

The former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd once had this to say ‘The trouble with Mugabe is that he thinks like us’. The truth of the matter is that the EU and USA have no answers to Mugabe’s assertive brand of African liberation politics save for the use of sanctions regime to try and stifle the spread of the ideas. Mr Hurd seem to have been suggesting that it is a privilege to ‘think like them’ but that is to the contrary. Robert Mugabe only seek one thing and one thing only and that is to redress a historically skewed economic ownership pattern in Zimbabwe that was crafted by the colonial structure that existed before 1980.
Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe is a free country and there are no two ways about that. It is only the disconnected, disjointed and misguided social media delirious outcries of the ‘confused free’ claiming lack of freedom who think otherwise. These are the mixed-up individuals sprawling and spoiling the African Unity Square in their purblind quest for ‘freedoms’ they already have and enjoy. These are the same individuals who publicly claim to have haunted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Rita Makarau out of her office and they freely walked back to continue littering the beautiful Africa Unity Square with their pointless journey to nowhere. And all this is under Robert Mugabe! In Ferguson, USA these thugs would have been manhandled mercilessly but not in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

In Zimbabwe there are those who subscribe to the Mugabe ideas and another group of those who are products of years of western media propaganda and conditioning. The latter group unfortunately and understandably has been left way too traumatised by the impact of the economic sanctions to see through these power games at play. It is not Robert Mugabe the flesh that is being kept under sanctions but the ideas he possesses and represents so that they do not spread throughout the African continent. These ideas pose a threat to western economic influence on the African continent. This is where it becomes a battle between the weak and strong mindsets. President Mugabe has shown mental stamina, the strong mindset to withstand the negative onslaught for years and now it is up to the coming generations to pick up the torch and carry forward with this Mugabe vision and see it through to its logical conclusion and ensure that the whole African continent aspire to the same. It is ideas that build national foundations and ideas do not stem from weak mindsets, and weak mindsets cannot see past the deceitful power games being played on the African continent. Ideas stem from strong mindsets and the ideas that have brought about the economic sanctions seek to empower ordinary indigenous people of Zimbabwe. The fact of the matter is that there is no other route to prosperity except for the Zimbabwe model of total economic emancipation and the freeing up of wealth that was previously a preserve of a minority.

bernardbwoni.blogspot.com


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Africa's only hope is Zimbabwe's Land Reform Model


By Bernard Bwoni

A recent report by the Oakland Institute revealed that there are billionaires from the West who have been buying and grabbing land in Africa at a very concerning rate. These investors and hedge funders are reportedly paying next to nothing for these vast tracts of land in some African countries. This is a worrying trend and puts into context the Zimbabwe land policy and reform. Interestingly in South Africa in his State of the Nation address, President Zuma said that foreign nationals will not be allowed to own land in South Africa but will be for long-term lease only. The land reform debate in SA has been taking centre stage with the country exploring a 50-50 Policy framework on rights to people who live and work on farms. The Zimbabwe Land Reform programme is a beckon of hope for the historically and perennially disadvantaged and displaced Africans. Any other African country in the same predicament as Zimbabwe was before the land reform will have to go through the same mire and mud Zimbabwe went through to regain their land. It is such a shame that some African countries are relinquishing their God-given heritage for a few pieces of silver. Zimbabwe is a unique country and all the hard work was not for nothing. There is no other route to land reform in Africa except for the Zimbabwe Model. Anything else is child's play.

There is no universal definition of the term property rights as everyone has an opinion and vested interest in the matter. The definition can and has been evolving over time, thus considering different perspectives, the historical context and background underpinning the Zimbabwe land and property rights issue is necessary. Property rights are not absolute but just a function of what society is willing to acknowledge, defend and enforce. They may need to be adjusted at some point because they do not evolve optimally on their own. There is not enough empirical evidence in Zimbabwe of how the complex property rights package influences economic behaviour and as such those who remain fixated on property rights as the panacea to Zimbabwe’s economic woes are unreflective and insincere.

The Development Economist Daniel W. Bromley in his book, Environment and Economy: Property Rights and Public Policy, argued “property rights do not necessarily imply full ownership and the sole authority to use and dispose of a resource”. To be secure, property rights should be of a sufficient duration to allow one to reap the benefits of the investment and should be backed by an effective, socially sanctioned enforcement institution. Zimbabwe has in place ninety-nine year lease in place and that is “a sufficient duration” for anyone to benefit from their investment, case closed.
The relationship between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community has been constantly changing and without doubt will continue to evolve. We live in a complex and dynamic world where conventional wisdom can be overturned for the good of the majority and it is important to acknowledge that changes in theoretical views on property rights do take place. During the unrestrained land grab by the colonial settlers the rights of the individual settlers took precedence over the collective rights of the indigenous community and in the new Constitution the Zimbabwe government addressed those inequalities created by these historical interactions.

Much of the early property rights literature was quite optimistic about the evolution of property rights towards economic efficiency. The available literature indicate that property rights form the cornerstone of every Western country’s economic modernisation and Hernando De Soto even calls the system of legal property rights the ‘’hidden architecture of modern economies’’ and “if a developing country is willing to succeed economically, property rights which have to be well-defined must be enforced”. De Soto of course did not factor in China which “recognises the right to private property but only as a right bestowed by the state and not as a natural right’’. And, by the way China, is by far the fastest growing economy in the world and is poised to edge the USA as the biggest economy in the world by 2016 or so. My argument is that the property rights construct and debate in Africa was distorted by the colonialism and imperialism’s accumulative streak and that makes De Soto’s claim invalid in the African context.

Property rights are theoretical constructs in economics and the discourse needs to reflect that especially on a uniquely multiplex case like Zimbabwe. Property rights are formed and enforced by political entities and they reflect the historical context, the conflicting economic interests and the bargaining strength of those affected. They are the social institutions that define or delimit the range of privileges granted to individuals of specific scarce resources. In the modern economic literature the argument is that it makes sense to have secure property rights as it makes it easy to access finance and credit from financial institutions and promote sustainable development.

Some contemporary development economists have gone as far as stating that sustainable development will only come from stable property rights and that markets are less efficient when property rights do not exist. From a theoretical economic point of view that is true however complexities in different situations need to be acknowledged. There is an element of imperialism that has pervaded much of the discourse of property rights on Zimbabwe. I have looked into available literature on property rights on Zimbabwe and there is absolutely nothing and the question is how do you make recommendations without empirical evidence from realities on the ground?

Those who remained opposed to Zimbabwe’s land reform have argued that separation of provisions on property rights from rights over agricultural land is fatal as the section in the new Constitution on agricultural lands restricts thus running against natural justice. Chapter 4, Part 2, Section 72 of the Constitution points out that access to agricultural land is seen as a “fundamental right” and that “every citizen of Zimbabwe has a right to acquire, hold, occupy, use, transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of agricultural land regardless of his or her race or colour’’. The new Constitution also notes that following the colonial occupation and the triumphant liberation war “the people of Zimbabwe must be enabled to re-assert their rights and regain ownership of their land”. If you read the above clauses then the issue of secure property rights is not as contentious as some would want the world to believe. The land reform in Zimbabwe is irreversible, and that is fact. Property rights with regards to agricultural land fall within the limits set by the State to avoid abuse and the government has set up the Land Commission to address issues of abuse through a transparent land audit which is still pending, and this is all within the bounds of international law. Chapter 4, Part 2, section 71 of the new Constitution addresses the overall issue of property rights fairly and again in line with international law. The rights are extended to all people and the rights to compensation are recognised. However the issue of property of agricultural land needed to be and was addressed in line with the need to “redress the unjust and unfair pattern of land ownership that was brought about by colonialism”. Conventional economic wisdom tells you that economic progression is based on strong foundation of secure property ownership, but what it does not do is take into account complex interactions on the ground.
Chapter 4, Part 2, section 72 of the Constitution seeks to protect the continuing rights of persons currently occupying or using agricultural land under a lease or other agreement with government and states that the State must take appropriate measures ‘’to give security of tenure to every person lawfully owning or occupying agricultural land”. The Constitution states that, not all agriculture land will not be State land and “owners and occupiers will be allowed under the provisions and limits of the law to ‘transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of his or her right in agricultural land”. It is important to understand the fact that the property rights issue is insufficient in explaining why capitalism has succeeded in the West but failed dismally in other parts of the world.

The issue of property rights surely cannot be absolute without taking into consideration the realities on the ground. The choices we make today are often constrained by the decisions and actions of yesterday. History does matter and it is history that shapes our futures. The shifting relationships of property and property rights in the Zimbabwean context are contentious and as such it is important to adopt a historical outlook to it to garner a better understanding. The discourse around the issue of property rights needs to be reflective and all encompassing for better outcomes for all Zimbabweans.


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Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Robert Mugabe ideas that know no African boundaries


By Bernard Bwoni

The incoming African Union Chairman, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is an extraordinary socio-political and economic Engineer and just what the continent needs and deserves right now. He has shouldered and continues to shoulder the burden of the African case with unparalleled resolve to see the continent achieve total economic emancipation and political independence. Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe has posed a real and direct threat to an economic system which only functions smoothly when resource-abundant African countries remain confined to the edges and the lower ranks of any meaningful global economic activity. This is the same economic system that flourished on the back of cheap slave labour and free resources during slavery and colonialism respectively. Robert Mugabe represents what can accurately be described as the last outpost and final frontier for genuine African Renaissance. The childish excitement that gripped social media about his trip on a poorly laid carpet and the associated media mass hysteria is not an attack on Mugabe the man per se, but Mugabe the ideas which resonate well in Africans continent-wide. President Mugabe assuming the AU Chairmanship poses a present and direct threat to covert imperialism and the threat exist not necessarily from Mugabe the man but the big ideas that he has instilled and continue to sow in present and future African generations. The attacks on Mugabe the man are a reaction to the AU Chairmanship because the principles he stands for will now cascade signals continent wide that the historically biased socio-economic structure can be challenged and dismantled by a united Africa. He represents real hope for total economic independence that is meaningful for present and future generations. It is important to emphasise the word ‘meaningful’ here and not the misleading narrative of political independence that most if not all countries on the continent had to settle for whilst neglecting real economic freedom. However no amount of tampering with media headlines will change the fact that Robert Mugabe is a visionary. This legendary son of Africa commands African respect from Cape to Cairo and the people of Africa are well aware of who their real heroes are. The Mugabe vision is not going to be derailed by a trip on a poorly laid carpet. Here is visionary who is leading Africa out of the racist ICC kangaroo court and coming up with the African engineered idea of an African court to deal with African affairs manned by Africans themselves not some fresh-faced condescending newly qualified lawyers who have never set foot on the continent!

The assault on the Mugabe ideas is clandestine affair engineered miles away from the continent with some misguided African elements and local cheerleaders doing the footwork under the gullible banner of all the hollow high-sounding themes of ‘human rights’, ‘legitimacy’ and ‘rule of law’. It is no longer just about Mugabe the man, but the deeper meaning behind Robert Mugabe’s call to not just settle for political independence but total economic emancipation. These are the values and principles that resonate with indigenous population in Zimbabwe and continent-wide. It is that belief and lifelong commitment to liberating the black indigene and that resolve to place African resources back into the hands of their rightful owners that invite the profound and unwarranted hatred from the coalition of the erstwhile architects of the twin wrongs of slavery and colonialism and their local lapdogs we have come to call the opposition.
President Mugabe has remained guided by those principles that put Africa ahead of all else and the frenzy that is sweeping across the African continent is a prelude to Africa’s reorganisation and re-emergence as the force it definitely is and should have been centuries ago had its development not been dislocated by the evils of slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid and neo-colonialism. The African continent has to start serving divorce papers to the doomed marriage it continues to endure unnecessarily with her erstwhile colonisers and their allies. This marriage ended many years ago and in the case of Zimbabwe arms had to be used to get rid of this unfair and unfaithful partner. There is no point in sharing a bed with these strange bedfellows who you know for definite will easily knife you in your sleep for self-preservation and self-benefit at some point. This marriage is over and Africa is going to have to go it alone and those who seek to aid and assist will have to do so not to just exploit the continent’s abundant natural resources but to respect mutually beneficial engagement.

Robert Mugabe represents the unique brand of Pan-African cadres at the core of this conscious and principled pursuit of the African regeneration and renaissance. The African quest to seek divorce from the undignified one-sided and overly dependent union must not be viewed as pursuing an isolationist course but a positive move towards mutually favourable development partnerships. It would not be dishonest to suggest that partnerships with the West have been exclusively disastrous, their presence unfortunately has historically brought about conflict and chaos to the inhabitants of the continent and that cannot be an accident but carefully calculated to enable unrestrained exploitation of the continent’s abundant natural resources. There is nothing called charity in this world and my beautiful sister Dambisa Moyo put it aptly in her book ‘Dead Aid’.

The quest for genuine economic freedom for the continent will remain ingrained in this generation and many generations to come unless these historically and racially skewed constructs which continue to relegate black Africans to the bottom of the economic core are dismantled completely. The illusion that once people have ‘food on the table’ then the agitation will stop is just but what it is - an illusion. The very reason why President Mugabe’s name is synonymous with the ‘international media’ as the sole cause of Zimbabwe’s economic downturn is a direct assault and attempt to extinguish the visionary flame he set in Zimbabwe and across the continent. The people of Zimbabwe and Africa subscribe to this vision and what they all see in the Mugabe vision is the very same thing those who went into social media mass meltdown mode see as well. The difference is that those who despise President Mugabe do so because his vision is running opposite to their exploitation-packaged ideologies. It is interesting to note that our beautiful neighbours to the south are mulling over the idea of a fast track land reform. The Zimbabwe land reform programme is a beckon of hope for those indigenous black Africans that history has forever forsaken to a lifestyle of poverty inside a resource-abundant continent like Africa. South Africa will have to go through the mire and mud Zimbabwe went through to wrestle her lands from a system that only seek to preserve itself for the benefit a minority on racial grounds. The fact of the matter is that there is no other route to land reform in Africa except for the Zimbabwe Model. Anything else is child’s play!

The newly elected AU Chairman is taking Africa on a journey, an African journey that is and a journey that requires Africans and them alone to carry forward the vision. There are plenty illusory promises from ‘Dead Aid’; but the hard truth is that Africa is going to walk this path alone as there are no philanthropic champions out who have no self-serving motives of their own.

The social media regurgitation of the Mugabe trip is non-event and the clear message from the African continent is that no amount media fabrication will smother this unavoidable desire to uplift and upgrade the lives of the perennially downtrodden people of this continent. The unrelenting and unethical denigration of Mugabe the man is just a smokescreen to choke the Mugabe ideas of total economic independence which are aimed at making the continent less dependent on the West for her survival. The fact of the matter is that the Mugabe ideas are here to stay. These are ideas that know no boundaries and they will continue to arouse curiosity and interest in African minds, to challenge and to provoke minds of the historically deprived indigene until lives have been enhanced and upgraded. You can put as many trending fall pictures on Twitter but you cannot shackle the seed that has been sown by these limitless Mugabe ideas. These are ideas beyond any restraint; these are ideas that can penetrate through any exploitation-packaged ideologies that are being perilously dangled to Africa by the former colonisers as democracy promotion, rule of law and rights and all those high-sounding nothings minus the grit and hard realities on the African ground. The Mugabe ideas have found a permanent home in African minds and now the execution begins. The new AU Chairman is going to leave a permanent mark on the continent. You cannot put sanctions on ideas because these are African ideas from the African continent, for the African continent and the African off-springs.


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