Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tsvangirai’s morbidly ‘nostalgic’ obsession with Rhodesia


By Bernard Bwoni
Morgan Tsvangirai is comatose to the disturbing and misleading ploy of the elite behind the false and fraudulent regime change agenda that has been evidently on the table since the inception of the Movement for Democratic Change fifteen years ago. This is an external grand-master plan fronted by naïve novices of the local opposition ranks, an agenda that was convincingly dismantled in the last general elections yet it remains stealthily and solidly intact in pending postponement. An unwelcome and disturbingly dark agenda that was totally toppled when the smooth revolutionary collectiveness freely, fluidly and fairly freewheeled past the opposition formations with convincing flawlessness. The level of excellence was unmatched, could only be defined as refined and reflective. But then Morgan Tsvangirai’s unhealthy obsession with Rhodesia is expected of a man of such starry-eyed inclination and uninspiring nation-building track-record. This right here is the man who aspires to be at the helm of Zimbabwe, leading the downtrodden and economically-deprived people towards economic prosperity and emancipation. Yet all Mr Tsvangirai wants for all Zimbabweans in a return to the ‘good old Rhodesian days’ when he used to be left paralytic on his bosses’ brew for one Rhodesian dollar a pint. This is the man the opposition ranks in Zimbabwe have tasked with the tall order of leading Zimbabweans towards the final destination of total economic emancipation.

Here is a man who advocated for the criminal economic sanctions that have ravaged the Zimbabwean spirit in its entirety. A national burden that could have been avoided had Mr Tsvangirai and his local opposition formations not advocated for these devastating economic sanctions that has caused so much distress and destruction for the people of Zimbabwe. But then Mr Tsvangirai is only of humbly modest education and finite intellect, heedless of the counterproductive nature of his association with groups and individuals who have very specific ideas about a Zimbabwe where the status quo of ownership should remain undisturbed. What we have in Mr Tsvangirai is a man who is prepared to put Zimbabwe on the open neo-colonial hub for his frightening fixation with the one dollar Rhodesian brew. It is mindboggling why some Zimbabweans are willing to entrust their futures with such flawed opposition politics. What exactly will Mr Tsvangirai and his dysfunctional opposition ranks offer for the people of Zimbabwe who have been through so much economic trauma?

Morgan Tsvangirai legions of shortcomings are indeed a precise reflection of this unhealthy preoccupation with the one dollar for five bottles of Rhodesian beer, his yearning for the neoliberal hand that firmly holds him and his heavily self-compromised sense of national duty and pride. There is urgent need for self-introspection and Mr Tsvangirai to start putting this country ahead of his senseless and headless quest for the top job in Zimbabwe whatever it takes. The man proudly recalled the good old Rhodesian days with nostalgia and with no shame confidently spoke of the days when the indigenous Zimbabweans were mere labours on farms and in the mines. There is a condition called the Stockholm syndrome, which is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors to the point of defending them. The victims become emotionally attached to their captors. Mr Tsvangirai clearly presents with symptoms indicative of this syndrome.  Mr Tsvangirai has gleefully and willingly associated with the former captors of this country, those who have historically relegated the indigenous people of Zimbabwe to the margins of the country’s economic core. Here is a man who would gladly reverse the highly successful land reform in Zimbabwe to appease those who hold his hand. The former captors have enlisted the free services of the likes of Mr Tsvangirai by funding and propelling to the dizzy heights of political prominence. Some within the opposition ranks actually began to believe they were serious nation builders. Some were earmarked for the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ and even honoured with The French Legion of Honour Awards. All for the preservation of the status quo and privileges of pre-1980. A pact to defend the Rhodesian cause. This may sound harsh but there are indications of a low self-esteem and an inferiority complex. These are the same victims who wined and dined with former Selous Scouts and other ‘international’ elite circles, golfing in the South of France, guest of honour at Rhodesian Commemorations and shunning Zimbabwean Independence commemorations yet are found in Normandy commemorating poppy day..

Mr Tsvangirai needs to seriously start reflecting on his personal indiscretions not defend those at whatever opportunity he gets. During his address to the dwindling party supporters at the Bulawayo Small City Hall Mr Tsvangirai was up in arms against renewal faction leaders Mr Biti and Sipepa Nkomo over their own respective romantic transgressions. It is quite disheartening that the only defence he has for the ruinous ramifications of his womanising ways is a childish tit-for-tat public spat with his erstwhile collaborators. Instead of this pathetic self-preservation stance Mr Tsvangirai as a national leader must fully take responsibility for his individual infidelities. Mr Tsvangirai totally deserves the backlash he got for his multiple girlfriends and the unashamed stance on his numerous ‘open-zip, shut-mind’ moments, the sanctions which his party advocated for and his dubious associations with those who have deadly agenda against Zimbabwe.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on bernardbwoni.blogspot.co.uk

 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Custodians of Zimbabwe's Glory and Prosperity


By Bernard Bwoni

“Honourable Paradza's last question was whether l was surprised that a 28 year old was employed. No, l was actually happy l hope we can have more. “This country has a lot of young people who deserve to be given their chance just as l think there are a lot of female professionals who deserve their chance’’. These were some of the most progressive words ever uttered by a public official in Zimbabwe in a very long time. The Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo was responding to Paradza who had questioned the appointment of a 28 year old as Editor of the Sunday Mail. Mr Paradza’s comments were well intentioned but the reality is that age should never be used to relegate the youth of this country to second class citizenry. Zimbabwe’s future is inseparable from the future of the young people. Youth is a withering aptitude that requires harnessing; it is not a question of years but a life yet unaffected by lethargy and tragedy, living on hope not just memories of the good old times.

Youth brings with it that zest and thirst for learning, that hunger and drive that has slowly been stagnating with age in a number of officials. The key is to merge experience, education and expertise with that youthful drive. The active participation of young people in government and decision making is critical in ensuring that their raw knowledge, skills and energy are harnessed appropriately for the development of the country. The young ones of today are the future leaders and elders of tomorrow, they need examples not disparagers.

What Information Minister Jonathan Moyo brought to the forefront is crucial and requires dialogue and urgent action plans on the part of government.  Strengthening youth structures and networks and ensuring that they have the right skills and information needed to be involved in public policy and national planning processes is critical to national development. Empowering the youth of Zimbabwe should not be just about slogans and politicking but tangible action to drive up national processes. It is the simple things that matters to the young people of this country and it is the simple gestures that endears the leadership and the elders to this vital national component. Elected officials have a duty to prioritise the youth and a commitment to make things simple for the young people to feel empowered and valued in Zimbabwe. The youth of this country are first class citizens as everyone else and they deserve a chance to realise their full potential, to be heard and to make a difference for the good of the Zimbabwe. The young have the unique and raw ability to be talented and innovative trouble-shooters as opposed to recycled and lethargic unproductive palm-greasing elders, no offence intended. The government owes it to the young people of Zimbabwe to trust them into senior positions in some of the failing parastatals and government departments to drive up national proceedings.

 Zimbabwe has an educated population and the young people of Zimbabwe have to feel empowered and able to engage positively with governance structures. That the young people of this country are the future leaders of tomorrow is not just a mere statement because they indeed are the future leaders of this country. It is an open secret that our current leaders are getting on a bit and naturally they are going to be replaced. The replacement is going to come from the youth of this country. From an age point of view there is absolutely nothing wrong with a 28 year old being an editor all things being equal. Of course national security and national preservation is paramount and takes priority over all else. The country however has to positively continue mobilising this youthful vibrancy and verve.

The young people of this country do possess the power and potential to address some of the considerable social, political and economic challenges currently facing Zimbabwe. The key to start unlocking the untapped potential of the young people of Zimbabwe is to start acknowledging them as productive citizens of the country and not putting them down at any level. There is huge potential locked up in the youth of this country and the government has a responsibility to harness this yet-to-be-realised possibility. The young people need to be listened to, offered the necessary support to grow, encourage rather than put them down, praise them when they make progress, reprimand when they make mistakes but not chastises permanently and recognise that everyone deserves the chance to succeed. There is a place for wisdom of the elderly and the energy of youth. Sometimes there is no point in recycling the same old tried and tired seniors at the expense of the hungry and expectant youth.

The young people of Zimbabwe deserve the chance to prove their worth in senior positions. Zimbabweans are the most enterprising, hard-working, creative and innovative sons and daughters of Africa and all they want are systems and services that function. Being young is not a crime but country-defining prospect. The key is to reconcile the wisdom and knowledge of old age with the strength and fearlessness of youth. It is retrogressive to underestimate the true potential of the young.


Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on bernardbwn@aol.com

 

 

Monday, 30 June 2014

Open Letter to Minister Bimha


Honourable Minister Bimha, I would like to bring your attention to the situation prevailing in the country where capacity utilisation in the textile manufacturing sector has plunged from 44% in 2012 to 39.6% in 2013 and still declining. For the local manufacturer competiveness has been diminishing in the face of stiff competition from cheaper imports from much larger manufacturers from neighbouring South Africa and from the Far East, mainly China who benefit from economies of scale. The country’s manufacturing sector is in a dire state due to poor infrastructure as well as shortage of capital, electricity and water. Most companies are operating under 40% of their capacity

The textile manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe is wholly owned by Zimbabweans who own the majority of the companies. Over the past few years there has been an influx of indigenous clothing manufacturers, however only a very small number, less than 10% manufacture for export despite the growing regional market and inroads in past years into new markets mainly in Europe and America.  There is a great deal of opportunities to develop this side of the industry through investment work with a sound marketing base.  The sector has a highly skilled clothing sector which is able to produce clothing to world standard requirements for export and importantly at competitive prices. The textile industry has gone through a severe down period and requires investment in new technology which will enable it to compete with imports into the Southern African region and the Far East. It is important for local textile manufacturers to focus on competiveness as the ultimate long-term objective but government needs to initially offer the sector a period infant industry protection as they build up their competiveness.

Honourable Minister, the current tariffs on finished dyed and printed fabrics at 10% is detrimental to the country’s textile manufacturing sector as we are allowing a finished product into the country which does not require value addition. The duty on spare parts for machinery is currently pegged at between 15% and 40% is also highly prohibitive. According to the Zimbabwe Textiles Manufacturers Association (2014) the current duty exemption structure which allows clothing factories to import finished fabric at 0% duty goes against the principle of industry infant protection. It would be very difficult to revive the ailing textile manufacturing sector by allowing downstream firms to import duty free fabrics that should be made locally.

Honourable Minister, let me start by acknowledging the fact that all economic theories are based on restrictive and unrealistic assumptions and thus not absolute. However that does not diminish their relevance to economics. Paul Krugman’s New Trade Theory predicts that as trade barriers are reduced, increasing-returns industry concentrates in the large market (Brulhart, 1998). However empirical historical and modern day evidence clearly shows that it is nearly impossible for a developing economy like Zimbabwe to develop without some form of trade protection and subsidies (Chang, 2007). Evidence shows that trade liberalisation works only when it happens gradually and selectively as part of a long-term industrial policy (Rodriguez and Rodrik, 1999). Even Krugman has changed his position on free trade over time but he retains his position on competitiveness (Brulhart, 1998). New trade theory is often based on assumptions such as monopolistic competition and increasing returns to scale and that all firms are symmetrical meaning that they have same production coefficients (Krugman, 1995). The same theorists have however relaxed the assumption of constant returns to scale and some argue that using the protectionist measures to build up a huge industrial base in certain industries will then allow these sectors to dominate the world market. The value of protecting infant industries has been vigorously defended since the 18th century by economists such as Alexander Hamilton in 1791 for the USA trade policy (Chang, 2007). Some economic theorists have argued that protectionist policies facilitated that development of the Japanese auto industry in the 1950s when quotas and regulations prevented import competition and Japanese companies were encouraged to import foreign production technology but were required to produce 90% of their parts domestically within 5 years (Grubel and Johnson, 1967).

 

Honourable Minister Bimha, one of the greatest economists in the world, Adam Smith in his book Wealth of the Nations (1776) advised the Americans not to ‘artificially promote manufacturing industry and stressed that any attempt to stop the importation of European manufactures would hinder instead of facilitate the progress of their country towards real wealth and greatness (Chang, 2002). The developed countries that have succeeded in developing their economies have not exactly followed Smith’s advice. Against the urgings of Adam Smith (Chang 2007) the first US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton, A.1791 [2001] proposed a policy package that would provide tariff protection and government subsidies to the country’s emerging manufacturing industries. Honourable Minister, given that our textile manufacturing sector is emerging from over 10 years of a downturn thus in its infancy, cannot be expected to compete against the mature industries in the more advanced regional and advanced international economies without an initial period of deliberate government promotion and protection. It is going to take time and more importantly investment in technological capabilities for textile manufacturing companies in Zimbabwe to absorb advanced technologies. Honourable Minister, without an initial period of protection the sector is going to struggle to survive the international competition.

 

Protectionism versus Competiveness

Honourable Minister the revival of the textile manufacturing in Zimbabwe requires government protection and subsidies at the initial stages so that we can absorb the technologies and learn to complete in the global market. It is easy to say that the key to industrialisation is competiveness not protectionism but a baby has to learn to crawl before they can walk. Economic literature considers that import restrictions of any kind create an anti-export bias by raising the price of importable goods relative to exportable goods (McCulloch, Winter and Cirera, 2001). The argument from new economic theory is that the removal of this bias through trade liberalisation will encourage a shift of resources from the production of import substitutes to the production of export-orientated goods (World Bank, 2003). Honourable Minister, as you are aware free trade is one of those theories that is logically consistent in theory but possibly not in the real world as it has not been universally linked to subsequent economic growth. This is evidenced by the economic chaos unleashed by the structural adjustment programmes of the early 1990s in Zimbabwe and other developing countries. Without some sort of infant industry protection our economy will have little hope of diversifying through industrialisation and accelerating growth on a sustainable basis. Our textile manufacturing sector in this early stage of revival would benefit from this critical period of protection to enable it to maintain output and employment and this will subsequently spearhead economic growth.

 

Increasing Returns to Scale

Honourable Minister it has been argued that the distinction between international and regional trade economics is no longer valid in a world where boundaries based on economics are becoming increasingly different from political boundaries (Brulhart, 1998). Returns to scale explain the behaviour of rate of increase in the output or production to the subsequent increase in the inputs (Johnson, 1982). All things being equal, lowering the tariffs as has happened in the textile manufacturing sector has indeed made imports cheaper benefiting the consumers, however this has had a negative impact on local manufacturers who have been exposed to the import competition. It is true that increased import competition may make domestic producers more efficient and the current situation prevailing in the textile industry the assumption is that everyone would be better off. However the stack realities on the ground are not necessarily taken into account by new economic theory.

 

Economies of Scale

Economies of scale cannot be achieve without entering the export market early on and if the country gets the production scale wrong the unit production can easily double (Johnson, 1982). However when there are economies of scale it is also possible that countries may be locked in to disadvantageous patterns of trade (Brulhart, 2008). Krugman’s argument that trade is largely shaped by economies of scale is relevant due to the fact that those sectors with most production will be more profitable and will therefore attract even more production (Krugman, 1982). Honourable Minister, from Krugman’s argument it is evident that for our local textile industry to revive successfully that depends on their ability to raise productivity to serve the domestic market and with economies of scale in the long run, stimulate exports.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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Proposed course of action to take

Honourable Minister, it is important to make a strong argument that premature trade liberalisation has been a failure and characterised by negative economic growth in per capita terms, collapse of manufacturing, our domestic production swamped by cheap imports as capacity utilisation has dropped to alarmingly low levels. Let me briefly touch on the success story of China which has shown that while some trade liberalisation may be necessary and beneficial, in the early stages of development some form of protection is necessary. With very few exceptions, tariff cuts and other measures of trade liberalisation have not brought about the anticipated economic growth and in a lot of cases have in fact brought economic collapse. Honourable Minister it is important to note that China’s economic success story in the 1990s took place on the background of tariffs over 30% (UNDP, 2003, pg. 29) and Zimbabwe’s current tariff of 0% on textile imports will not stimulate the textile manufacturing sector but rather stifle it. The relationship between trade policy and growth is likely to be different in terms of structure for countries at different levels of development (Chang, 2007).


In the 1950s most of the now developed western economies and more China and Taiwan in the 1980s had very high tariff rates averaging 30-40% and protectionist policies in place in the initial stages of their development. As they have developed their economies they have substantially reduced their tariffs because they can compete in the world market. Brazil has kept imports very low by imposing very high tariffs which have stimulated their manufacturing sector and exports and in 2013, the European Union took legal action against Brazil’s high import tariffs on European imports (Jones, 2013). Honourable Minister my proposal is going back to basics if we are to revive our textile manufacturing sector. The concerns expressed by the Zimbabwe Textiles Manufacturers Associations are genuine concerns based on the realities on the ground. Economic theory can help us understand the realities on the ground, however the practical realities on the ground offers us an informed inference into the economic discourse. Krugman stresses the changes in the distribution of income among the developed economies as key to understanding and accounting for the evident expansion of trade in relation to income (Brulhart, 1998). Thus as there is some form of equitable distribution of income, the model predicts that trade volumes should rise (Krugman, 1995 cited in Brulhart, 1998). Honourable I am intrigued by the fact that the USA, the UK and other EU developed economies, Japan, China and more recently countries like Brazil have used an industrial development strategy in which industry protection was key and the most important component in the earlier days of their economic development. I strongly believe that an initial period of protection for the textile manufacturing sector in necessary and as the Zimbabwe Textiles Manufacturers have lamented, tax rebates for manufacturing inputs especially for spares and machinery parts imports and those inputs used in the textile production to encourage the emerging industry.


Our infant industry protection needs to be combined with an export strategy as export earnings are crucial in allowing the textiles sector to upgrade its economic activities as export earnings will provide the means to purchase advanced technologies and machinery and machinery spares and parts. Honourable Minister, the country’s manufacturing sector has a fundamental right to reconstruct a new future through an initial period of industrial protection and subsidies.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The opposition killed patriotism in Zimbabwe


By Bernard Bwoni
There is a strikingly uncanny poverty of patriotism among opposition ranks in Zimbabwe and there is absolutely no way of correcting this crude and rude political reality. The liberation struggle in Zimbabwe was fought and won by men and women with a marrow that filtered through their bones right through to the outer skin and flowed patriotically through the spirit of these extraordinary liberators. This was a just war that was fought by those who put the country ahead of all distractions and trappings. The priority was the liberation of the country and all its component parts. Today Zimbabwe’s national security is under continued threat owing to the exploitation-packaged ideologies being touted to the nation as democracy by a dysfunctional opposition and some stakeholders with specific intent to further an agenda that will never in a million years economically empower the people of Zimbabwe.
People can differ on any other matters but when it comes to affairs concerning the integrity of that compound and sacred entity called Zimbabwe, national pride and duty dictates that everyone pulls together. Patriotism is not a part-time pledge but the dedication of a lifetime to national cause and course. It is that sense of social, economic, political, religious, ethnic homogeneity and that shared sense of identity for national preservation and protection. The nation is the complex entity with its people being the component parts defining this unique structure. Tampering with this nexus has a disastrous cumulative effect on all the micro parts. Patriotism entails a paramount devotion to Zimbabwe with all its component parts and defending the integrity of the nation at all costs even if it makes one an enemy of those who wish to undermine the autonomy.

A patriot is ready to sacrifice all for the greater good of the whole country and not only the individual pieces that make up the whole. The young men and women who liberated the country were bonafide patriots who possessed that commitment to nurturing and upgrading for the greater good of Zimbabwe. The country is currently bedevilled with corruption, a culture of impunity and security breaches of the artless but highly sensitive baba jukwa type. The corruption, the impunity and the breaches are mere symptoms of the crisis that the country is currently facing.  Patriotism has abandoned Zimbabwe indefinitely across the board from the echelons of polity right down to the poverty-stricken supporters. The patriotic commitment to one’s country means protecting and preserving its honour whatever it takes. Corruption is an unpatriotic assault on the country and Zimbabwe is being battered from all fronts by her own citizens and administrators alike. The very same custodians of national pride, national sovereignty and national survival, the citizens of Zimbabwe, are the very same abusers of this sanctified privilege.

Patriotism is that selfless desire to safeguard national honour and a lack of patriotism yields self-obsession and unleashes a mercenary minority or majority against the nation. The only curative prescription is to look beyond the individual and towards collective national interests and long-term collective national aspirations. There is nothing wrong with citizens taking their governments to task over issues relating to the administration and misadministration of the state. There is absolutely nothing wrong with citizens challenging government impropriety and indiscretions but when this extends to undermining national security and national sovereignty then the line has to be drawn boldly and decisively. The opposition tiers in Zimbabwe have repeatedly violated the virtues of patriotism in their handheld hatred of the ruling party and elusive quest for the so-called democracy. Some have compiled manuscript after manuscript of negative Zimbabwe chronicles to cater for their self-serving ends. The economic hardships have left hard-to-heal scars and the country unfortunately has been infested with far-from patriotic pessimistic prophets of gloom who derive only pleasure broadcasting the negative reports about the country.  In Zimbabwe a gullible opposition effectively eliminated patriotism when it advocated and begged for the damaging economic sanctions that were indiscriminately unleashed on an innocent and defenceless nation..

Corruption is the prejudice of virtue and righteousness and to fully understand the vice and have any hope of addressing the ailment there is an urgent need to define and redefine the immorality in the country’s own context. However whichever way you define this degeneracy it still remains a symptom of the lack of patriotism among the citizens of Zimbabwe. The culture of impunity pervades society’s high end, the self-serving inclination prevails laterally across the divide and the emotions of partisan politics continue to smother the patriotic flame among the economically molested and despondent Zimbabwean citizenry. The pride has been eroded and the sense of belonging is almost nonexistent. The opposition must take full responsibility for this sudden death of patriotism in the country and the ruling party has that responsibility of nurturing patriotism by eradicating corruption, culture of impunity, poverty and security breaches. If the ruling party fails to address these symptoms then it will effectively join the opposition ranks in commemorating the demise of patriotism in Zimbabwe. Shunning negativity and pessimism and embracing optimism and positivity will revive that patriotic feeling among Zimbabweans again.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at bernardbwoni.blogspot.co.uk

 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Diaspora can plug that middle management gap in Zimbabwe

By Bernard Bwoni
 
Zimbabwe is a country that is on the portal of a groundbreaking economic genesis and it’s not a case of if, but when. This extraordinary economic and social transformation is under serious threat due to the country’s human base exodus in recent years. The unprecedented export of Zimbabwe’s young and highly skilled human resources threatens to interrupt this economic phenomenon. It is that lack of middle management with expertise and an international exposure that presents the country with a real dilemma. The middle management is the nucleus and the engine that drives up and revamps organisations. Zimbabwe is on the platform of a major economic takeoff and the shortage of middle management capacity is potentially the most urgent constraint to this launch. For Zimbabwe that engine has been dismantled to pieces and its various components spread across the world. It is worrying that the experienced middle management with the right market intelligence is not entirely centred where it is most urgently needed and that is at the heart of the Zimbabwean economic core.
The locally trained and experienced middle managers are no less efficient but unfortunately they lack that critical exposure to the wider management practices and have little in the way of practical training and experience at an international level. You go to events in and around London where there is an array of Zimbabwe’s finest on display. What comes to mind is what is the government doing to harness this critical component to the country’s revival? The right middle managers with the right attributes locally are side-lined as nepotism and corrupt backhanded practices have rooted themselves into almost every fabric of our society. That international exposure to diverse and more current practices is just crucial. The only sure way towards enhanced organisational performance and efficacy is strategic involvement by middle management. That layer of eager-beaver supervisors who act as a buffer between senior management and the workers on the ground. It keeps any organisation ticking and moving forwards and is that lubricant in the middle. It sets the objectives on the ground, identifies responsibilities, risks and has the knowledge of how to manage and control processes. Middle management has the role of engaging workers, identifying the effects of failure and taking appropriate action. Left to their own devices, workers are not productive! This is common sense, this is stating the obvious some will say, but then if this is common sense and stating the obvious why are we still talking about it?
The role of middle management is to identify risk and the effects of failure and take action. The middle manager has that role to drive up his or her own department, and appropriately report to senior management. Let us stop blaming senior management for failure to execute the responsibilities of middle management! It is a fact that strategy and execution are not mutually exclusive and without planning you cannot execute and strategy without execution is pointless.
An effective middle management relays orders, decisions and guidance downwards and most importantly they take problems, difficulties and suggestions upwards to their superiors. It is easy to blame President Mugabe for this mediocrity from the so-called middle management we have! The middle management deals with operations on the ground and they should be interpreting and explaining policies framed by top management and motivating workers on the ground to work towards organisational, departmental and national vision and goals.
Senior management set out the policies and blue-prints, the vision and direction for the organisation or department. The expectation is that this is delegated to middle management to promulgate down to the ground and the middle management must understand the jobs below them, what is expected of those jobs and how to appropriately report to top management. Zimbabwe is a country going through socio-political redefinition and this level of management is critical to this change process. Senior management has a responsibility to disseminate exactly what is expected of middle management and follow up is just as crucial.
Zimbabwe is on the threshold of a major economic boom and that is fact. So a failure of senior management and a lack of middle management will only hamper our socio-economic journey. Workers need to be managed; workers have to be managed and managed effectively that is.
Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at bernardbwoni.blogspot.co.uk

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Crisis? There is no crisis in Zimbabwe


By Bernard Bwoni
‘There is no crisis in Zimbabwe’. That was the world widely-condemned little-big statement by the former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki during that opposition-inspired contentious and catastrophic period of 2008 leading to the formation of the government of national unity. The powerful declaration that saved Zimbabwe from the jaws of the neoliberal sharks at the starry-eyed and unpatriotic petition of a firmly handheld opposition. Fast-forward to 2014; the same words are echoed and uttered by the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Aldo Dell’Arriccia who boldly and rightly made it clear to the opposition that there is no leadership crisis in Zimbabwe. The only leadership crisis that is evident for all to see is found in the opposition tiers where the disarray spans from zero to ninety nine problems and some flimsy and funny attempts at the so-called renewal. The opposition in Zimbabwe has been comatose beyond resuscitation since that infamous neo-colonial founding and funding of 1999 and there is absolutely nothing to renew from a spent comically-named Renewal Team or the romantically-ruined remnants fronted by one Morgan Tsvangirai. Now that is a leadership in crisis.

A crisis is often defined as a ‘condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political and international affairs leading to a decisive change’. A leadership in a crisis is one that is thrust in a mire of uncertainty and chaos, thrown into confusion and circumstantial upheaval with catastrophic consequences. In Zimbabwe the prevailing peace and tranquillity is not a by-product of a leadership in crisis, but rather the strong leadership in a crisis situation by President Mugabe and the ruling party. Under the leadership of President Mugabe there has been clarity and finality and decisions are made with precision and patriotism for the sake of expediency and facilitation of national processes. There is consistency and cohesion in terms of policy and national trajectory. The only crisis in Zimbabwe is the one induced by the economic sanctions imposed at the behest of gullible opposition politics. The outcome of the sanctions-induced economic crisis in Zimbabwe is that President Mugabe has become a victim of the inconsistencies deeply embedded in the Zimbabwean society that the sanctions were necessary to put pressure on him for regime change purposes at the same time meant miraculously not to maim the very same people on the ground whose ‘cause’ the opposition was purporting to be championing. What an unfortunate paradox.

A leadership in crisis is naïve, has no vision, is a proxy implant and totally compromised as those found within the country’s paralytic and pubescent opposition ranks. Don’t lose sleep over the international media hype about doomsday and dictators because that is just a smokescreen to smother the African economic inferno that President Mugabe has unleashed to uplift and upgrade the lives of the historically marginalized indigenes.The reality is that President Mugabe is in charge, duly elected by the people of Zimbabwe and he has not disappointed. He has been the African version of the atlas, carrying the fully weight of the world of economic expectations of the country’s sanction-ravaged population on his shoulder through the eternity of the damaging effects of the embargo. He has soaked the entire international onslaught against Zimbabwe and never succumbed to the prejudices and preferences of the settler world of neoliberal trappings. Mugabe has remained resolute amid all the negative and damaging speculation about the country. He has gone against the grain to redress the inequalities created by a system from the past and put emphasis on ownership and control of the country’s abundant natural resources. Here is a man who has carried the weight of gravity, a man with feet firmly on the ground to the cause of Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe’s visionary leadership has deliberately and effectively focused on cascading real wealth down to the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe. The key here is ‘Wealth’ that will span generations to come and not a few ‘Life-is-good-Supercharged-Range-Rover’ comic moments of fame on YouTube. That is real wealth filtering down to the original owners of Great Zimbabwe through the morally-justified empowerment and indigenisation policies. Zimbabweans are no more mere labours for the settler minorities but wealthy citizens on their own land. That is not a leadership in crisis, but a responsive and effective leadership with specific intent to economically liberate and empower its citizens.  As President Mugabe rightly put it, we are a simple people and to take it a notch up a simple people who aspire for an equal society for all Zimbabweans to be given that opportunity to own what is rightfully and lawfully theirs.

The task and ask of leading a country through a sustained period of the deliberate economic sabotage that befell Zimbabwe has been treacherous and torturous. The ruling party has been up to the task and hence the emerging acknowledgement from crafty colonial corners. It has been a long and difficult journey and mostly a case of executing only the very necessary. The fine tuning will come later once the dust settles and as the reality of ownership becomes clear. The economic transition was going to take time and it has. But things can only get better. Amid the so-called chaos there is an order many throughout the continent aspire to. The challenges that the country faces today are in fact presenting the ordinary citizens with some hidden opportunities. As the reality of ownership continues to slowly but surely take root the people are beginning to fully embrace these noble and people orientated policies. As the tectonic forces of history continue to shift beneath the feet of all Zimbabweans, the historical inequalities of yesteryear have been redressed and many Zimbabweans are confronted with that realisation of economic independence. A must follow for all African countries.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at bernardbwn@aol.com/bernardbwoni.blogspot.co.uk

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Only moral muscle, and jail will curb corruption


Bernard Bwoni
Zimbabwe is unique, a country abound with citizens who have deep-rooted yardsticks of success all pointing to a manifestation of outer symptoms of a warped inner psyche. A country faced with a dilemma of the sudden dearth of righteousness, that conscience and ingrained moral backbone and inner individual depth and strength to be accountable for own individual follies. The only real collateral against the degeneracy is an inbuilt self awareness, that reflective and affective emotional intelligence. It requires every citizen to have that inherent moral muscle to be benevolent and modest for the sake of transparency, accountability and facilitation of national course and cause.  Jonathan Moyo has been the most proactive and instrumental minister initiating and unmasking those financial felonies of that cushy crowd of the morally-obsolete over the top and over-paid CEOs and career politicians. He has instilled that sense of urgency in the process of challenging the prevailing palm-greasing and he has focused precisely on propelling national processes.   He has been putting emphasis on restoring the construct of leadership from being the untouchables, heroes and celebrities to its original definition of being servants of the people.
The economic molestation of the country by a select pack of self-serving individuals must never be allowed to undermine the honourable name of the revolutionary ruling party. The individual is just but an individual and the party is that composite structure anchored by the collective strength of the people of Zimbabwe who support the party. So individuals must be made to account for their respective irresponsibilities. The party is larger than the insignificant individual pieces, way bigger than any personalities and all party members are mere minute parts of this ideologically-enriched complex people's party. The party itself in turn is a component part of that all-encompassing entity called Zimbabwe and we all owe it to our country to challenge and expose any double dealings and dubious actions of those implicated.
Those who are taking the morally-conscious stance towards corruption deserve credit and recognition and not outright and public reproach. Politics, politicians and political affiliations aside Moyo's transparent approach has somewhat galvanised solidarity, cohesiveness and openness in Zimbabwean politics. Exactly what the electorate signed for when they placed that all important cross on the revolutionary party.
The ruling party has to swiftly adapt and adjust to this high level of scrutiny as uncomfortable as it presents itself. This is the brave new world where collective national interests take priority over personal interests and self-preservation. It takes courageous and upright individuals with the moral backbone to place national interests ahead of that inextricably embedded culture of impunity. An unethical crisis presents us with difficult choice options and from a political standpoint the costs of inaction and indecisiveness vastly outweighs the benefits. The electorate was charmed with still-to-be delivered promises of outright eradication of corruption and the so far the only bona fide substance-endowed policy and process trajectory had the Moyo-seal to it. The error of societal judgement crushes those who remain engrossed in their self-serving egotistical pre-occupations while portraying and preserving a picture of assumed righteousness and imagined impunity.
The essence of politics, political power and processes is self-awareness without being weighed down by personal insecurities and individual improprieties. Those who have thrust the decadence on the national frontline must be lauded for their efforts to disentangle the country from the immersion of immorality and ushering in a new chapter. There has been a resurrection and renewed commitment to uncovering the questionable commercial crimes prevalent in all government parastatals. All those who have been upfront in unearthing and revealing these capital crimes are a manifestation of the despondent electorate. Each individual is responsible for his or her dirty deeds and must never be allowed to drag the name of the revolutionary party into the sleazy slime for self-serving ends. There are no attempts at sabotaging the revolution; this is about confronting the opportunistic self-seeking unscrupulous individuals out to super-enrich themselves at the expense of the destitute and economically-violated electorate. The media must cover their ears with random-noise repellent Beats-by-Dre to any higher echelon calls to stop the digging and to continue exposing the perpetrators of these commercial crimes. It is the hope that more and more of those implicated are as honourable and honest in acknowledging their transgressions and allow the law to take its course. This is the brand new and brave political new world that is emerging and will redefine this country forever.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on bernardbwn@aol.com/  http://www.bernardbwoni.blogspot.co.uk/


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Perils of career politics and OTT CEOs

By Bernard Bwoni
Revolutions just as with any evolutionary process happen silently. Analysing the boon and bane of any new political landscape and the transformation it ushers is fine art, or should I say finite. A new and effective system of checks and balance and politics of maturity and openness is an absolute necessity in any society. Any ruling party has to be constantly kept on its toes by a brand of inter-party and intra-party political maturity by learning to adapt to this uncomfortable but necessary level of scrutiny. This ascendance towards a mature brand of politics is for those with the moral mettle and mental stamina to deal with the facts minus any associated emotions. Zimbabwe is on the verge of an extraordinary economic revival and those working tirelessly to smoothen the path towards this economic beginning must be lauded. President Mugabe has made it clear that corruption is detrimental to the country’s intended destination of economic prosperity and Professor Moyo has been in the forefront in challenging the degeneracy and dishonesty that has pervaded many sectors crucial to the country’s economic recovery.
At the moment in Zimbabwe the odds of being arrested for overt corruption or corrupt practices are evidently very low going by the outcomes from the ongoing sleaze and kick-back expose`. For a country destined for an inevitable economic upgrade the ghost of graft will only downgrade and confine the country to the hollow and shallow ends of the irrecoverable. The flouting of procedures with impunity, the clear disregard for the same laws that are meant to safeguard the country from such administrative malfunctions points to the existence of a cushioned and comfortable class of career politicians who don the uncharitable and law-resistant garb at the expense of an economically-abused populace. The obscene salaries paid to the parastatal bosses may have been immoral but not illegal and as such it is up to those individuals concerned to connect and consult with their own individual conscience for a corrective closure to the hype around the salaries scandals.
The case of a high order ranking chief executive on allegations of inflating prices of specific goods meant for a specific parastatal fabricating receipts for personal gratification and then clinging onto flimsy counter allegations to divert the nation’s attention away from his alleged illegal transgressions. Instead of a precise response to these serious allegations when called to account for alleged individual financial felonies the best counter one can muster is an uncorrelated and off-topic outburst based on unrelated allegations of the sexual orientation of a high ranking senior official only confirms that the cushy culture of impunity reigns supreme in Zimbabwe. The fact that a senior government official can stutter for over an hour in a hapless attempt to articulate the futile legality of his perceived entitlements from a case of shady lobbying endeavours with one super-rich Billy is disappointing and the eerie silence from the upper echelons seems to point to unholy upward linkages of folly. Politics is not meant to be a profession but rather a public duty, the art of championing the aspirations of the expectant electorate who entrusted the politicians with their vote. The worry with condoning corruption and corrupt practices whether deliberate or not is that it erodes people’s trust in the entire political process. The lethargic response to all indications of corrupt practices or allegations corruption has been far from inspiring and nowhere near indicative of that obligatory will to eliminate the immorality.
 
Zimbabwe has been cursed with opposition politics laden with binding imperfections. The nemesis of Zimbabwe politics is that dearth of a genuinely pertinent and potent counter to the ruling party. The opposition in any society must never sit idly and be content with the governing party to wantonly short-change the electorate. An effective and credible opposition will moderate and critically challenge the government complacency and the resultant outcomes of these weaknesses. The opposition in Zimbabwe is in disarray, existing, but non-existent and bottom line wholly unconvincing.
The country is currently facing what seem like an insurmountable mountain. It is the individual inner dither which deliberately put spanners in the works, that doubt and dent on the self belief. It is that devious voice that repeatedly nags you to resign at the crux of the climax. Some have even resigned to the ‘if whites return to key management positions in failing parastatals all our economic woes will be resolved’ defeatist and submissive talk. The argument is that Africans respond positively and passively to white authority and some strongly believe that has historical roots. This is such a generalisation that black Africans are more likely to be productive with a white person at the helm of management or is it? Some from this generation are too traumatised from the contemptible colonial crimes against the indigenous black Zimbabweans to embrace the new economic essence that has been presented to the country.  Zimbabwe has laid the foundations to a new social and economic reality of ownership never to be witnessed on the continent. These are noble policies centred on uplifting and upgrading the lives of the previously disadvantaged indigenous people of Zimbabwe.  Post-colonial trauma had no evidence-based curative prescriptions until the Mugabe-inspired economic emancipation antidote. This is the only country on the continent that has totally broken through that brick barrier, a country that has breaking barriers as opposed to building them.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at bernardbwn@aol.com/ bernardbwoni.blogspot.com

Friday, 23 May 2014

Zimbabwe, case that never was a basket


By Bernard Bwoni
The fast track land reform has reduced Zimbabwe from the breadbasket to the basket-case of Africa. That is the red herring fallacy from a mercenary minority engineered out an inherent inclination to preserve and protect a deliberately skewed status quo to continually consign the historically dispossessed and deprived indigenous majority to the margins of the country’s economic nucleus. The basket-case argument is callously and carelessly thrust to the green as grass local without acknowledging why the land reform was inevitable and necessary to redress the ruthless land tenure laws drafted by a crafty colonial system. Zimbabwe has no case to answer for the basket-case charge. Let us start by a brief background as to why the land reform was an absolute necessity.
The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 was probably one of the most repressive pieces of legislation by the Rhodesians as it deliberately entailed that over half of all the land in Zimbabwe was exclusively reserved the white settlers. The white settler population accounted for two percent of the total population of Zimbabwe and the other 98% of the indigenous population was deliberately dotted on the borderlines of the country’s commercial core. That you still find indigenous Zimbabweans who today glorifying Rhodesian as a safe, comfortable and fair haven the black indigene then is mindboggling and distressing. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 effectively nullified Article 83 of the 1898 Order in Council that had previously guaranteed Africans the right to purchase land anywhere in the country. The Morris-Brown Commission fraudulently and underhandedly argued that indigenous blacks who were able to buy land were too inferior to possibly compete with European land-owners and as a result argued for the creation of a special category of land exclusively for purchase by Africans. Now let us put this into perspective, these brutal laws were being drafted by the very same sellers who forcibly removed the black indigene and declassed them to second class citizenry right in his own backyard.
The basket-case myth stems from the spent assertion that before the land reform in Zimbabwe highly diversified production in large-scale commercial farms dominated agricultural production.  The large-scale commercial production was characterised by high-value crops such as tobacco which accounted for around 51% of the total large-scale commercial production, intensive use of capital which accounted for 34% of output and 42% of input use communal farms were characterised by more labour intensive production which accounted for 52% of total production and minimal use of inputs accounted for only 18%. The smallholder production was mainly dominated by maize and cattle which together accounted for more than half of the smallholder agricultural production and this was mainly directed for home consumption. Although smallholder maize production accounted for 63% of total maize production it contributed only 40% of the marketed supply. Large-scale commercial farm maize production accounted for 4% of total maize production yet it contributed 60% of the marketed supply. This is a very important point to counter the basket-case baloney. The smallholder black indigenes fed themselves and their beautiful off-springs from the dust-patches they were coerced into by the unforgiving settlers.
Large-scale commercial tobacco accounted for 51% of total agriculture production and contributed 100% of total marketed tobacco production. This was exclusively an all white affair. Cattle accounted for 9% total agriculture production in LSC farms and 26% of total agriculture production in the smallholder farms and contributed 64% and 36% of total marketed production respectively. Maize accounted for 1.1% of gross national output and contributed 1.5% towards the Gross Domestic Product. Tobacco accounted for 5.49 % of gross national economy and contributed 6.6% towards the GDP. These figures are from the Zimbabwe National Account from 1991. These figures serve to remind us that cereal production on the settler farms was far less than on the smallholder agriculture sector which was manned by the black indigene.

The blacks in Zimbabwe were not allowed to own land in the native reserves which they unfortunately and illegally found themselves sardine-packed in. The 1930 Land Apportionment Act, took away the right of indigenous black people to purchase land anywhere in the country. The Act replaced that right with an opportunity to purchase land in the specially and racially designated Native Purchase Areas. The Native Purchase areas were in areas that were considered unsuitable for intensive agriculture and more than a third of the allocated land was in areas considered to be unsuitable for any agriculture other than livestock rearing. The fact of the matter is that over 50% of the land allocated for purchase by blacks was in areas on the margins of productive agricultural development. We are talking about rocks and sand here. The over-crowded in sand dunes and rocky terrain only served to remind the black indigenous population of the curse that befell them when the first settler arrived.
During this period the blacks were denied access to loans and credit in order to purchase the land, to buy inputs for agriculture such as fertilisers, pesticides and seeds, plant and equipment, livestock and finance to develop farm infrastructure. The Rhodesian Government then set up a Land Bank and an Agricultural Finance Company to provide low interest loans for European settlers who wanted to become farmers. These facilities such as credit and subsidies were exclusively reserved for the European settlers. The Rhodesian government invested significantly in the development of all-weather road networks in the European settler areas and no development at all in the remote rural areas reserved entirely for indigenous black Africans and within the Native Purchase Areas.
 
The Rhodesian government drafted and passed several acts which discriminated and deliberately favoured the European settler farming communities. The Maize Control Act of 1934 stated that African-grown grain was not to be sold on the open market and set up two different prices for maize. The European farmers were paid a governmental guaranteed price for their maize while black farmers were not eligible for this price support. The price they received was set by the open market which was way below the government support price paid European farmers.

The Cattle Levy Act placed a special tax on each head of cattle sold by African farmers and European farmers were exempt from this tax. The effect of these two government programs was to increase support for European farmers while purposefully discriminating against African farmers.
The Native Land Husbandry Act of 1951 cause the mandatory destocking of African cattle.
Now fast forward to just under 15 years after the fast track land reform. Tobacco earnings have been hitting over US$1.5bn per marketing season and rising each season. These staggering figures have from figures now nearing 200million kg of tobacco being sold per season. This is no longer only a preserve of a few settlers but more evenly distributed to the resettled farmers. The whole agriculture sector has been on the rebound and most likely to provide  the platform for the country’s economic transformation.
Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at bernardbwn@aol.com/ bernardbwoni.blogspot.com

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mnangagwa: unscripted yet legendary


By Bernard Bwoni

Zimbabwe is an ideologically-congealed haven and harbour of heroes, bonafide heroes to be precise. Here are the men and women who gallantly fought on the side of righteousness and triumphed. These are the many men and women who shimmered in the face of the dark cloud of colonialism and the racially-induced adversity.  The most breathtaking feats of valor and heroism performed by these honorable men and women during the protracted moments of a mixture unmatched despair and ultimate transcendent fulfilment.  And these men and women with backbone live in our era, they live among us, do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed and sometimes deriving contempt from some corners, but they have defined and continue to define this country, a true embodiment of Zimbabwe.
 
These are the magnanimous ones who perform and have performed extraordinary deeds for the greater good of Zimbabwe. These are men and women who were and are still willing to do for others, the cause and their determination lives on for others to follow. The glory lies not in the achievement, but in the sacrifice and that totally altruistic commitment for the greater good of Zimbabwe. These are the great sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who only serve to remind us of the higher purpose of self and society.
There are some men of mettle who just hover beneath the radar, largely go unnoticed as they get on with defining and reshaping this nation. They are not household names, they are not on the conference main stage yet they give and have given of themselves for the love of Zimbabwe. Their lives inspired, continue to inspire and yet we deliberately forget to acknowledge the selfless sacrifices they made. The men and women who put their lives on hold to fully commit themselves to liberating this country from the darkest depth of despair and despondency derived from colonialism towards the respectable summit of the liberties and freedoms we enjoy and take for granted today. These are the men and women who have been through the mud and mire, enduring unimaginable distress and humiliation for the love of their country. There many such men and women in Zimbabwe and they all deserve our respect, recognition and reverence, precisely because they did not ask for it, they earned in ways we can only imagine. And on this occasion this is about one of the many who proved themselves during the bitter liberation war.
Emmerson Mnangagwa is a liberation war icon who shapes the definition of a Zimbabwean hero. A man from that school of thought which puts emphasis on cascading real power down to the people, a fervid understudy of the visionary Robert Mugabe who has continuously advocated for policies that focus on deconstructing the previously deliberately skewed structures that continue to render Africans permanently indebted to those who have economically exploited the continent for centuries. He is the embodiment of bravery, loyalty and endowed with an indelible sense of righteousness and the Zimbabwe agenda permanently and stubbornly etched to his whole being. He like other heroes of the liberation struggle symbolises the practical definition of honor, duty and nationhood. He is a rare uncelebrated liberation war giant who risked his life again and again to liberate this country from a draconian and racist system. Mnangagwa’s early involvement is testimony to the tenacity and steel that defines this legendary son of Zimbabwe. The daring operations they carried out within ‘’Rhodesia’’ as a member of the ‘Crocodile Gang’ which led to his eventual arrest and detention, the unswerving, lifelong and ingrained ideological engrossment to the Zimbabwe cause and continuous journey epitomise this liberation war icon. He is a man who has served his country with honour, continued to serve his country past the liberation struggle to this day.
In many ways our heroes are just like us. They have their flaws, but generally try to do the right thing and do things right whenever possible. They are that unique brand with no pretenses, no false modesty but just down to earth, straight from the shoulder dedication to national trajectory and definition.
Deliberate obscurity and hushed heads are an embodiment of real power focusing on action instead of words, and having the ability to encourage ownership and develop loyalty in unique ways. The big idea is earning the respect and Mnangagwa earned that during his heroics during the liberation war. A young boy who believed in a cause, fought for that cause displaying unparalleled conviction, but not complacency. A young boy who got arrested for a cause but never faltered and saw the liberation struggle to its unimaginable bitterness and victorious conclusion. Silence is golden and certainly easier for those that already have the analytical and introverted behaviors already in place. Mnangagwa’s illustrious and effective war credentials clearly highlight the quiet introvert who meticulously prepared, was present, properly planned and practiced as they did with the locomotive incident in Masvingo (Fort Victoria). This is a man who grew up on the values of the liberation of this country, confident but not over-confident with that ability to think laterally, not hierarchically. As Zimbabweans we should define our heroes and relate to them, imagine what drove them to put their lives on hold to get out there and liberate this country. I am deeply indebted to all heroes like Mnangagwa who have the country-defining values a part of their DNA and the values still ineradicably etched to this day.
 
Any nation not build on any values has no foundation and is no nation at all. For one to believe in themselves they have to have some values to subscribe to. A country with no values lacks vision and with dearth of vision the future offers very little in terms progress or growth. From that tender age through to this day Mnangagwa has unstintingly continued to sacrifice for the total economic emancipation of Zimbabwe. Any ideology that focuses on improving the lives of African people inherently threatens the irreversibly colonial and neo-colonial establishment and as such forever ridiculed and suffocated. A true son of Zimbabwe beckons.

This is an individual hero introductory part of my ‘Liberation War Chronicles’ work in progress which details the war path of each and every liberation war hero in Zimbabwe.


Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on bernardbwn@aol.com/  bernardbwoni.blogspot.com