Monday, 25 August 2014

Case of the Visionary Zimbabwe Look East Policy

By Bernard Bwoni

China owns US$1.317 trillion of the US Government’s Treasury bonds and you never hear anyone commenting that China is colonising the USA? In the case of Zimbabwe you often hear sensational headlines as ‘Zimbabwe Government ‘sells out’ to China or ‘Zimbabwe mortgaging Zimbabwe’s future to China’. His Excellency President Mugabe is currently in China to negotiate a package to fund the country’s ZIMASSET blue-print and other infrastructural development projects. Just as with the relationship between China and the US, President Mugabe’s trip is purely a business and the key is mutually beneficial engagement. The country is negotiating for a US$4 billion rescue package to steady the economy and start implementing major infrastructure developments. The Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Project Delivery System is a way to finance big projects especially infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships where China will receive a concession from the government to construct big infrastructure development projects in Zimbabwe. This enables China to recover her billions of investment in the project and at the end of the concession period the end project provides that the infrastructure belongs to Zimbabwe and China has her investment back. China will implement the infrastructure projects in the ‘Build’ phase, will get its investment during the agreed period of ‘Operate’ and at the end of the ‘Operate’ phase the project will ‘Transfer’ to the Government of Zimbabwe. This is a mutually beneficial agreement where Zimbabwe will acquire power plants, major highways, huge solar projects, railways, airports, water supply facilities and China will also benefit from her investment and recover the costs of funding the projects. The Chinese will fund new and existing capital projects under the BOT basis and this will ensure that the country pays for the projects over a long period. This allows for tangible development and the tax burden will not fall on the already struggling people of Zimbabwe. Some sceptics have expressed concern that the country is planning to sideline the State Procurement Board and award government infrastructure projects to Chinese state companies without going to tender. But these are government to government initiatives to fund national projects there is no need for them to go through tender. There are many countries world over using or have used BOT initiatives to fund huge infrastructure projects and these include the Saudis with their oil, Abu Dhabi, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Channel Tunnel was constructed on the backdrop of a BOT with a 60 year concession period. So when you hear such statements as President Mugabe has gone to China to mortgage the country and that this is a ‘so-called new form of colonialism’ but the point remains that it is just a BOT, purely a commercial deal that is not only unique to Zimbabwe. China’s engagement with Africa has in fact resulted in real and concrete productive assets such as infrastructural development and that engagement with the Chinese is about productivity, economic transformation and real development and not soft surface issues such as a proliferation of NGOs which foster more of dependence as opposed to innovation and self-sustenance. The engagement with China is seems genuinely based on mutual respect and mutually beneficial outcomes. There is concrete, visible and tangible evidence of the roads and other infrastructure that China is building in Africa whereas engagement with traditional development ‘partners’ continues to witness conflict after conflict in any area of resource-abundance.

All eyes seem to be looking to the East side of the continent and final destination China. The vision of one extraordinary African, HE President Mugabe was to look east when all other avenues were locked shut by the country’s traditional engagement partners who always seem to prosper at the misery and suffering of others. Now this vision is equally shared by the same traditional engagement partners and as President Mugabe begins his weeklong visit to China at the invitation of Mr Xi Jinping we explore how this look east is not ‘a new form of colonisation of Africa by China’ as some in Zimbabwe and in the western media have made us to believe. It is only just over six months ago that the British Prime Minister Mr Cameron, British Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson all led individual high powered business and trade delegations to China. That went to pass without anyone proclaiming that Britain was being colonised by China. It is what it is, purely a business deal. The US and Europe have been tripping over each other seeking economic lifelines from the same Chinese they claim are on a ‘new form of colonising Africa’. It was an honour watching our President being welcomed with such honour from our honourable friends from China. He was welcomed with a full honour guard outside the Great Hall of the People where he received a 21-gun salute. That is the nature of the relationship with our engagement partners from the east, mutual respect. You compare that with our traditional engagement partners who put conditionality after conditionality to the engagement and that was evidenced in the recent EU-Africa Summit and US-Africa Summit. The public ridicule to a Head of State and all the spanners in the works are an indication of engagement that is not based on mutual respect. Zimbabwe is going to triumph and that is thanks to the vision from the country’s look east policy.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Achilles heel of Zimbabwe politics

By Bernard Bwoni
The Achilles heel of Zimbabwe politics is the lack of an authentic, relevant and effective opposition. Instead of a policy-orientated response to the current economic challenges facing the country, what we get from the likes of Job Sikhala is the ‘overthrow’ of a democratically elected government in Zimbabwe. In any other part of the world, calling for the ‘overthrow’ of a democratically elected government is at best criminal and at worst treasonous. It would be a different matter if one focuses on adjusting their barebones policies and hope for an electoral victory against the ruling party. But calling for the overthrow of government is not only sloppy and political immaturity. As if that was not enough Tsvangirai came up with his own hastily prepared statement saying "We are drawing a line in the sand and we shall pressurise and mobilise the people….we are going to mobilise. The form and content is left to the MDC to plan and execute," Both Tsvangirai and Sikhala are not putting on the table the alternative policy strategies to any of the reasons they are proposing these calls for the ‘overthrow’ of an elected government and calls for mass action. Now the question to pose to Tsvangirai is where are your shadow policies to the country’s economic challenges? A sober opposition acts as trouble-shooters and not mere meddling spectators or rubble-rousers. He went on to say "Let Mugabe be warned that if we cannot live as free men and women in our country of birth, we will rather die as free people," This is a contradictory statement from these two men who are calling for the ‘overthrow’ of a government freely and yet they make confused and confusing claims that their freedoms are being violated. Tsvangirai and Sikhala are being very dishonest and irresponsible with their calls for these mass demonstrations which have the potential of leading to violence. These two men need reminding that such calls for such unconstitutional means of removing an elected government will not address the economic challenges facing the country. Calling for any action with the potential to lead to chaos and unnecessarily endangering lives is irresponsible leadership, an illness of those with misguided and misplaced loyalties to push champion the interests and agendas of a power-hungry opposition which fronts the agendas of even more powerful external stakeholders. There is no painless side to violence, there is no excuse for acts of violence; there is no better or worse violence and all perpetrators walk the same line in the eyes of the recipients of the vile acts. Violence in politics must never be condoned or downplayed as there are innocent victims and misguided perpetrators. A genuine opposition should be busy challenging the ruling party on matters of policy and not trying to instigate unrest in the country. How is a walk in the streets going to address the country’s economic challenges? The call from these two bares no attempt at restructuring the economy but to cause disruption to the country and potentially harm to others.
It is the resilient Zimbabwean spirit that has sustained this country through this very difficult period and not the ill-advised calls for violence or mass action from an irresponsible opposition. It is this beautiful Zimbabwean spirit that is going to address the country’s economic difficulties and not the thoughtless calls from opposition leaders who are seeking relevance through reckless means. Zimbabweans are one and together are going to pull through. The admission is that the country is facing economic challenges but is the opposition engineered violence the solution the challenges?
The country deserves a genuine opposition built on genuine and deep-rooted values. Any citizen would welcome a strong opposition to the ruling party, an opposition that can carry forward the country’s vision and direction and not parade it carelessly to the highest bidder for political celebrity status. An opposition that can define and direct the country’s vision forwards as opposed to naïve fascination with aiding and abetting structures and systems which will never empower the people of Zimbabwe. An opposition that engross itself in calling for the ‘overthrow’ of an elected government is structurally and strategically flawed. A people-centred opposition must go beyond empty proclamations and crafty schemes to cause unrest as an alternative and backdoor to the corridors of power in Zimbabwe. Surely if a mere substance-free call for the ‘overthrow’ of President Mugabe is all it takes to tread the corridors of Zimbabwean power then State House would be heaving with Presidents of all colours and creeds right now.
The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe is not going to have that sort of opposition in the foreseeable future. It takes time and commitment to crotchet the principles, the vision and values that define a country. It takes time and a genuine desire to build a party which embodies, defines, anchors, binds and shapes the nation as a whole. It takes more than following neo-packaged orders from ashore to build a party which offers something tangible to benefit present and pass onto future generations. Any citizen would want an opposition that offers the country reassurances rather than seek to disrupt lives again. These ill-thought out calls from the opposition have not been associated with better outcomes and fortunes where such actions have been encouraged, again by external players with own vested interests. You look at Libya and Egypt today and it is not only disappointing but distressing to watch. The reckless calls for violence and these mass demonstrations will not address our current challenges. The calls from the opposition are careless and ill-advised. The opposition in Zimbabwe does not offer any reassurances that national direction will remain unaltered, the defining foundations of Zimbabwe will remain entrenched and that the nucleus of this country’s vision will remain guarded should they enter into power by some miracle. Zimbabwean opposition politics is in an ideological grey area and vacant space, exist­ing but non-existent, totally unconvincing; bend over backwards and forwards to the whims and commands of stakeholders with agendas that will never in a million years upgrade the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe only want solutions, not social gatherings to massage Tsvangirai’s politically and personally wounded ego.

Death penalty: morality or immorality?

A ruthless and callous criminal chops off the head of a 5 year old girl, harvest all the organs for ritualistic purposes. The criminal is caught and confesses to even more such vile acts and shows no remorse for such. Is there any other justifiable punishment other than death for such a merciless murderer? The proponents of the death penalty will argue that it is morally justified as it serves as an example for others and is the only possible ending of the worst of the worst in our society. Is the death penalty virtually the same as murder? Those for the death penalty will argue that murder is the killing of innocent and defenceless victims and the death penalty is the only fitting punishment for these people who commit such horrendous murders. But then who decides who lives or dies? Those opposed to the death penalty will argue that by killing the murderer that in itself is encouraging crime. Society has a moral obligation to protect human life, not end it. We have come a long way as humans to resort to an eye-for-eye principle. Justice Minister Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa has declined to sign the death warrants of 97 death-row inmates citing the immorality of the practice. But then the country’s new Constitution has provisions for the death penalty under Part 2, Section 48. But does everyone not have the right to life? But then these are the dilemmas that face our morally conscious society and there are no clear-cut answers

Mr Museveni, are those with Arts Degrees useless thinkers really?

Are those with ‘Arts Degrees’ useless thinkers?

By Bernard Bwoni
“You ask these arts students what they can solve and they tell you, ‘for us we only think.’ Think about what?” he asked. "It is unfortunate that many universities continue teaching very useless courses at degree level rendering their graduates jobless after graduation," he added. These were the widely chastised words from Ugandan President, Mr Yoweri Museveni as he denounced humanity courses at universities as useless, saying graduates from such departments can hardly solve anything to steer national development. Whilst Mr Museveni’s faith in sciences and technical subjects is understandable, is there any place for the arts and humanities in Africa’s quest to join the ranks of the new emerging economies of this world?
The future definitely looks bleak for the African continent should strategic components of nations continue to be manned by incompetent and under-qualified personnel who cannot solve problems. There is a need for honesty that people with technical backgrounds tend to be problem-solvers, highly logical and broad thinkers who tend to think outside the box as opposed to those with arts backgrounds. But then is problem-solving synonymous with competency? The continent does possess practical problem-solvers who are doers and not cheap-talkers yet they are overshadowed by the ‘educated thinkers’. This is not to suggest that people with arts backgrounds are all mouth with no practical outlook. However a technical approach is not just a better option but a necessity for African countries to realise their full developmental potential. Strategic sectors of the country should be manned by ‘’experts’’ in the fields of their respective ministries not career politicians. Of course there would be counter arguments that government and governing are social constructs that serve social functions and the technical fields may be inevitably related to government but they are not inherently related to government. But the question still remains, why is the continent still stagnant even with its rich history, abundant resources, extraordinary manpower? The lack or side-lining of problem-solvers to make way for some self-appointed elites and its off-springs makes for a strong argument.
The ability to understand a situation and deal with it correctly does not have anything to do with popularity but with knowledge of the subject period.  Mr Museveni brings to the forefront an important argument that people with technical backgrounds have the ability to rise above career and party politics and stay focused on problem-solving. They have more of a reputational advantage both in terms of knowledge and technical expertise. That of course can be up for debate but the problem-solving argument still holds water. Those with arts backgrounds tend to focus more on the thinking and talking rather than the doing. But is that such a bad thing? The thing with people with technical backgrounds is that they can practically claim wiser economic and technical stewardship, greater ideological commitment to economic principles and deeper connections with transnational financial networks. The economy is the driving power of any nation and academic and practical awareness of economics is a prerequisite for those intending to be in positions of economic influence. Economics is a discipline above others for its all encompassing nature and the fact that it is intricately linked to the political function of the state. One would be forgiven for feeling uncomfortable with someone who has not studied economics to make heavy economic decisions that will greatly impact the country for decades to come. As such voters need to have a greater awareness of the education and background of the politicians and take that into account in the political arguments and standpoints. But again one can also argue that is why there are advisors.
A seamless fusion of the polity and expert components in any national set-up will enhance economic progress. An Economist will have that eye to see exactly the required fiscal adjustments but deciding how and where to cut spending or taxes will require precise political sense. A political functionary who can make good moral decisions with the public’s interest whilst also having an awareness and ability to comprehend different expert opinions and paradigms is crucial to the country’s economic revival. The country’s leadership might need to be more conversant and appreciative enough to consult with technocrats to help make good decisions and at the same time be well-versed in the humanities and social sciences to consider those aspects of society in governance. It is important that leadership is driven by ethos and a genuine desire to do things right and to do the right thing while considering long-term solutions. This means removing from power those politicians who only value self-benefit over the public good.
Is it possible to exclude facts from political decision-making process? People yearn for a clever, practical problem-solvers and in some countries where people with technical backgrounds have been thrust in the forefront of strategic sectors there has been a marked rise in the standard of living of a people from a third world to a first world in the case of Singapore and China. China’s Politburo Standing Committee eight out of the nine members are engineers and also the current Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has degrees in Economics and Law, a healthy academic combination for governance of function. The Chinese government has a lot of engineers, scientists, economists and mathematicians in the political fold especially at Politburo level instead of useless arty politicians who do more talking than function effectively. It is easy to chide Museveni’s comments but he does bring to the forefront an interesting take on the African situation.
Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Paralysis by politics of positions

By Bernard Bwoni

Across the national political divide the shift towards jostling for political positions has taken over the real purpose of policy and nation building. The national leadership is rightly enraged by the widespread muddle and that is a trend that urgently needs foregoing for the sake of individual party and national trajectory. That politics is not a career but a service to the people is not just a mere statement but exactly why the people vote in elections. The rush for positions is a clear indication of the malfunction of focus on policy which relegates pressing economic challenges to the margins of national discourse whilst elevating politically-predatory tendencies to the forefront. Zimbabwe is currently facing economic challenges of a magnitude that requires those entrusted into positions of influence to have sleepless nights yet the main preoccupation seems to be rank, order, flashy cars and fancy pants. It is a telling sign of misplaced priorities that under the current macroeconomic and microeconomic environment in Zimbabwe that one’s preoccupation is reduced to mere scramble towards the upper echelons of power rather than addressing the immediate concerns of the ordinary man and woman. The hallmarks of extraordinary leadership was shown when President Mugabe had to personally intervene and dipped into his pockets to address the subsistence challenges of the recently concluded youth conference. All this is indicative of a deep-rooted manifestation of the deliberate neglect of the hard-done-by electorate by this politics of positions.

Whilst the difference between those who serve the self and those who serve others is obvious, it requires those aspiring to positions of national influence to have that basic determination to seal the cracks before the fissures emerge. There is an urgent requirement to redefine the construct of politics from being a trade to that tireless readiness to serve the people. It is understandable that all politicians are of flesh and blood and therefore far from perfect. It is true that those who lose their way are not necessarily bad people and therefore it is up to those who remain focused to refocus others to stay grounded. The state of intentionally remaining anonymous and keeping a cool head is a representation of the required inner spirit and strength to prioritise actual action as opposed to empty words to mislead the people in this covetous and egotistical quest for the now over-subscribed political positions. The rumpus over political positions points to unholy lateral linkages of self-obsessed fixation with politics of profession as opposed to that public duty and enduring commitment to carry forward the hopes and expectations of those who entrusted the politicians with their vote. The country is currently facing what seems like an insurmountable mountain and now is the time to drop that self-serving attitude and to embrace the totally altruistic determination to serve the perennially short-changed citizens. It is this individual inward-looking self-absorption which prioritises the narcissistic wants of the few over the genuine needs of the economically-challenged majority.

This needs to be emphasised over and over again that politics is not a vocation but a public duty and with this duty comes responsibilities, accountability and caretaker opportunity to serve those who voted the politicians into power. People look up to politicians who prioritise persistency, consistency and transparency. The political position is mark of respect from the electorate and the respect is earned not asked for or demanded through this covetous quest for political positions. The electorate want the simplest of things, the basics and practical approaches to the country’s debilitating economic challenges. No sane person cast their vote for squabbling and unconcerned aspirants. All aspiring public officials must give weight to a renewed commitment to politics geared towards serving the country’s long suffering citizens and shy away from this extortionate pursuit of positions. There must be a political commitment and a genuine willingness to serve the people.

Politics is not just a gateway to affluence and bounty but requires those who enter into this service for the people to have both reflective and affective emotional intelligence. That simple respectful and genuine acknowledgement to serve is a sure way to endear aspiring officials with the grassroots. Those who are clamouring for political positions have a duty and responsibility to the citizens of this country and they must address those pressing issues which have incapacitated many in Zimbabwe. It is that simple and that is why people vote. President Mugabe has led by example, our heroes led by example and all these new aspirants must learn from the pioneers. These hustle and tumbles for political positions will not endear the electorate. Political harlotry is ‘rubbish’ to say the least and political refuse belongs nowhere else other than the political dustbin of history. Now is not the time to scrummage for political positions but the time to hit the ground running and tackle the basics that drive up the nation. There is an urgent need for national dialogue on practical and sustainable ways of cutting the disproportionate government spending, ways of reviving the country’s industrial base, ways of retooling the country’s in-need-of-repair infrastructure and how to make life better for all the citizens of this country. The scurry for political positions is not in any way associated with that sensitivity to the plight of the downtrodden citizens of this country and those who are rushing for the positions have deliberately put misery-repellent plugs to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. As President Mugabe rightly put it "You are as, more also, just rubbish as the person who has given you the money; both of you, the giver and the given are alike."

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted at

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Embracing the core of the ‘Buy-Zimbabwe Culture’

By Bernard Bwoni

“Can’t you find better ways of making your money than importing water? Can you justifiably boast that you have made it, when you have just made money from importing water?” he asked. “My heart bleeds when I go through national statistics because what we are spending on imports could have been channelled towards the local industry’s recovery process.” “As long as we export raw materials we will never be a rich country. We will forever be a developing country. When you are a net exporter of raw materials all the time, as a country we are specialising in being poor,” These were substance-abundant words from one of the ‘Real Best Ministers’ in government to date, Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa. This is can only be described as progressive and forms the nucleus of the ‘Buy Zimbabwe Culture’ that has the potential to propel this country to its overdue and inevitable economic transformation.

 The competiveness of the local manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe has been diminishing in the face of stiff competition from cheaper imports from much larger manufacturers from South Africa and from the Far East who benefit from economies of scale. What Minister Chinamasa is alluding to is the fact that this unfortunate trend of over-reliance on imports will lead to under-utilisation of local capacity, lead to even more unemployment, fiscal challenges and Zimbabwe will not get the opportunity to realise its full manufacturing potential. It is regrettable that Minister Chinamasa is reluctant to intervene legislatively to stop imports.  Minister Chinamasa let me take you back to 1776 when Adam Smith, in his ‘Wealth of the Nations’, advised the Americans not to “artificially promote manufacturing industry and argued that any attempt to stop the importation of European manufactures would obstruct instead of promoting real wealth and greatness”. The Americans however did not listen to Adam Smith’s advice but rather to their then Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton who argued that American industries were still in their infancy and as such could not be expected to compete against the mature industries in the more advanced economies without an initial period of deliberate government promotion and protection. And the America we see today owes its economic and political glory and dominance to the economic policies of Hamilton.

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. Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector is emerging from over decade of a downturn and thus unrealistic to expect it 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. The country’s manufacturing sector is in a dire state due to in-need-of-revamp infrastructure as well as shortage of capital, electricity and water. Most companies are operating at very low capacity due to the effects of the economic sanctions placed against Zimbabwe. The key is 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. There is no competitiveness build on fragile foundations.

 The Zimbabwe manufacturing sector is emerging from over a decade of a sanctions-induced decline and as such in its infancy. The manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe 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 manufacturing companies in Zimbabwe to absorb advanced technologies. Without this initial period of protection the sector is going to struggle to survive the international competition. The revival of the manufacturing in Zimbabwe requires some level of government protection and subsidies at the initial stages so that we can absorb the technologies and learn to complete in the global market.  Zimbabwe is currently coming from a 14 year economic slump and a period of at least 5 years of strategic protection of the country’s manufacturing sector is necessary to give it that stability to be competitive. 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.

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 and collapse of manufacturing with our domestic production swamped by cheap imports as capacity utilisation has dropped to low levels. 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. Free trade is one of those theories that is logically consistent with itself but 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 the economy will have little hope of diversifying through industrialisation and accelerating growth on a sustainable basis. Zimbabwe’s 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. Minister Chinamasa has those keys just like Alexandra Hamilton and it is up to him to unlock this potential by locking away the threat that is liberalisation.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Unlocking Zimbabwe's youth potential

 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.
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 mere talk but tangible action to drive up national processes and make young people of this country valued and productive citizens. It is the simple things that matters to the young people of this country and it is the simple gestures that endears the older generations 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 lethargic unproductive. The government owes it to the young people of Zimbabwe to trust them into senior positions in some of the strategic national sectors to drive up national proceedings. This is the time to train the young people of Zimbabwe and engrain the Zimbabwean spirit, the love Zimbabwe psyche for the growth and progress of the country as a whole.
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.  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 a 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



Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mr Obama, its not African 'excuses' but trauma of colonialism and slavery

By Bernard Bwoni
Mr Obama’s recent remarks that Africa should not make ‘excuses’ for the continent’s economic woes based on history of colonialism were not only unfortunate but quite insensitive. Not sure if Mr Obama has deliberately developed selective amnesia to realise that the wealth accumulated by the country he now leads has been through the blood and toil of those from the cradle of mankind. Here is the leader of the free world who has been mum to the unrestrained bombardment and culling of innocent civilians in Gaza yet wants to walk the moral high ground and lecture the historically and perpetually traumatised Africans on morality and righteousness. Africa’s socio-political and economic problems are a direct by-product of slavery and colonialism. The African generation post slavery and post colonisation is a traumatised one with equally affected and arrested prospects for development. The generation pre slavery and pre colonisation was the continent’s most innovative and progressive. This is a generation that did not live on borrowed values, borrowed traditions and borrowed existence, a generation that smelted and forged iron. What we are left with is an educated bunch whose greatest invention is a dusty path towards the nearest Aid Agency assembly point.  The African continent has no choice but to completely divorce itself from the disastrous construct of dependence on aid and firmly root itself into the tangible Mugabe-inspired trajectory of economic emancipation. It is only via total economic emancipation that Africa is going to upgrade the lives of its permanently deprived citizens. Whilst at it Mr Obama should have a look at the contents of ZDERA 2001 and if he is so concerned about resolving the continent’s economic difficulties the first step is to not to slap an African country with sanctions for addressing historical inequalities through redistribution of land and wealth. The continued day-in-day-out struggle for basic survival is just not acceptable in this resource-rich continent. Africa is extraordinarily blessed with abundant natural resources. Africa has a cause, a just cause for that matter and downplaying colonialism and slavery is not going to address the multifaceted problems that bedevil the continent but merely mask them. Mr Obama should know better that forcing the biased neo-colonial model whilst equating slavery and colonialism to ‘excuses’ is not going to develop Africa.

Africa is ready for its re-ignition, its reorganisation and justified and dignified re-emergence following the twin evils of slavery and colonialism. The idea of the African re-ignition and reorganisation has continually been frustrated and countered with colonial coercion and more recently neo-colonial craftiness. It seems Mr Obama’s remarks were aimed at containing the African quest to free itself from the one-sided and overly dependent relationships and move towards mutually favourable and respectful development partnerships.

Africa is not going to benefit from neo-colonial point-men camouflaged in the Dark Continent pigment but from the visionary flame of the Mugabe-inscribed people orientated policies of land reform and economic liberation. The people of Zimbabwe, the people of Africa subscribe to this vision. Africa is on a journey, an African journey and a journey that requires Africans and them alone to carry them forwards and no charitable champion is going to command the survival of the continent with no motive of their own. Not even Mr Obama. No selfless knight in shining armour is going to descend from lands afar and rescue Africa from this permanent predicament that has continued to stall the continent’s long overdue development. Mr Obama, Africa does not make excuses but suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder following years abuse and misuse by the very country you lead today.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tsvangirai’s London Trip: big fuss over a trifle

By Bernard Bwoni
31st July 2013 was a defining and watershed moment in the history of Zimbabwe. The country held peaceful and democratic elections under the new constitution, yet another milestone and extraordinary moment in the history of the country. The elections saw the end of the contentious Government of National Unity and saw the overdue re-emergence of the revolutionary party to put into place its potent people orientated policies. The elections were won decisively, freely and fairly and even the then MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti was honest and conceded that they lost because they were ill-prepared, lacked a convincing strategy and lost to the well-oiled ZANU-PF party. The revolutionary party won two thirds of the majority and has embarked on a country and continent-defining programme. The elections were widely endorsed by the African election observers from SADC, AU and COMESA as free, fair and credible and instantly condemned by the EU and USA who did not participate in the monitoring of the elections.
The ruling party forged ahead putting into place the details of their election manifesto into place. The economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) was presented to the country to provide clarity and guidance on mapping a way forward. Under the provisions of the Zim-Asset framework there is clarity in terms of national and economic direction. There are four clear clusters of food security, nutrition, social services and eradication of poverty, and from these there are subsectors such as value addition and beneficiation, infrastructure development and others. These clusters provide guidance and direction on how the revolutionary party will be proceeding in the economic transformation of Zimbabwe.
Fast forward to 25th August 2014, a few days before the anniversary of the 31st July 2013 elections, along comes one Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and the venue is Chatham House in London. The expectations were high as Tsvangirai was coming to historically expected home of the most passionate of Tsvangirai’s supporters. Well, so we all thought.  The usually eager and celebrity-creating British media was uncharacteristically mute about Tsvangirai’s visit. There was no fanfare, there was no tea at Number 10 Downing Street with Mr Cameron and there was no pass out parade at Buckingham Palace in honor of this nearly Nobel Prize winner. Well he did manage to shake hands with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and not many, even in Birmingham have heard of him. There were some claims that he turned down an invitation to appear on the BBC’s Hard Talk for fear of being given a hard time about the disintegration of the regime change project and the election loss in 2013. Well if you believe that then cows can fly. But the bottom-line is that Morgan Tsvangirai was totally left out in the cold by the British media, British politics and relevant stakeholders to the regime-change agenda. Tsvangirai’s visit was a non-event; even Ras Pombi drew double the crowd that attended the MDC-T leader’s rally in Birmingham.
The UK has been the Centre of opposition politics since the onset of the regime-change agenda and their supporters have been more prominent. The expectation was that the venue is Birmingham was going to overflowing with supporters from all Counties but in fact the venue was as empty as Tsvangirai's pockets. The Birmingham Gala was attended by a measly 97 strong crowd, most who were from his entourage and MDC-T UK Officials. The dinner was £20 per head and if you do your mathematics right factoring in non-paying delegates, cost of venue and other overheads then it is highly likely no amount of money was raised from this social function. In fact there is a high likelihood of a loss having been made.  As stated before the venue was as empty as his party’s pockets.
The progressive and potent ZANU-PF UK chapter has been drawing way bigger crowds than Mr Tsvangirai’s hyped much ado about nothing London show. The UK which has traditionally been seen as a predominantly opposition fortress has been witnessing some statistically significant changes in Zimbabwean political demographics. At a time when MDC-T UK support has been rapidly shrinking, there has been a sudden surge in ZANU-PF support in the UK. The UK chapter of ZANUPF has seen several branches being launched country-wide and has also gone international with the Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg (BENELUX) launch in Amsterdam recently. More branches are earmarked for the mainland UK counties and offshore for the responsive and people-focused ZANUPF in the UK. The demand for ZANUPF cards and registration in the UK has gone viral. The difference between the two political outfits, ZANUPF-UK and MDC-T UK is that the former focuses precisely on policy, people orientated policies and there is clarity in terms of strategy and goals whilst the latter (MDC-T) focuses on demonizing the former (ZANUPF).
Tsvangirai’s London trip was an inspiration to none, a hollow and pointless exercise. He started off his London ordeal with a lifeless speech at the Chatham House Think-tank. The address at Chatham House was predominantly a whinge about what the government is not doing and no genuine attempt at presenting a shadow strategy to the country’s economic challenges.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Stop tarnishing Zimbabwe's name!

By Bernard Bwoni

Is it that some opposition legislators have no awareness of the economic implications of their public utterances and negative speculation about the country as a whole? Any negative speculative statement and scaremongering forecasts have very damaging effects on the economy as a whole. Hence why you find in other parts of the world any small detail about the country will have far-reaching effects throughout the economy and often sees stock markets crashing down. The fragile Zimbabwe economy does not need these echoes of doom at the moment. Everyone is fully aware of the colossal task ahead. This is a country where a Finance Minister (Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti) would publicly declare that the country had only US$217 left in its coffers and expect the country’s image to remain unaffected.  Now Mr Biti has come out again making more unsubstantiated claims that ‘the country’s economic crisis will last another ten years’. As the First Lady rightly put it, people like Mr Biti think they know it all. But then Mr Biti has no empirical evidence to back his claim as it is mere conjecture. Everyone is aware of the economic challenges and instead of these constant echoes of doom and gloom legislators should put forward solutions. Of all countries in the world Zimbabwe has taken more negative press internally and externally than any other country since time immemorial.

Now another opposition legislator, Settlement Chikwinya told parliamentarians of the ‘precariously low’ grain reserves in the country and that it was imminent that the country would soon face starvation. He went to suggest that this looming ‘imminent starvation’ was directly linked to the country’s necessary land reform programme. A statement like this must be backed by empirical evidence for it to be taken seriously.  This is an unsubstantiated and random claim without any figures to back it and from legislators we expect more. Maize production in the country has been on the rebound and it is important to wait for the official figures so that legislators like Chikwinya can back their claims. Maize production for 2014 has had a 65% growth rate from the 2013 levels (FAO, 2014). The agriculture sector is recovering and signs are positive. So these highly opinionated speculative statements from the likes of Chikwinya are irresponsible, unfortunate, unnecessary and untimely. What is the point of creating uncertainty and panic? The general macroeconomic environment in the country has been affected by this negative speculation, the effects of the economic sanctions against the country and a number of other associated factors. As a result of the above the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe is currently under-funded, under-resourced and operating in very difficult macroeconomic environment. Legislators like Mr Biti and Mr Chikwinya need to urgently stop merely focusing on the symptoms of Zimbabwe’s economic problems and start focusing on tabling solutions.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on



Saturday, 26 July 2014

Economics of maize production in Zimbabwe

By Bernard Bwoni

Maize production is an important component of food security and livelihood for smallholder farming communities of Zimbabwe. The majority of smallholder farmers grow maize primarily for subsistence using conventional farming methods. Prior to independence 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.

Between 1977-1979 and 1985, cereal production in Zimbabwe increased by 80%. The production of maize, the country’s principal cereal staple, more than doubled during this period. Following the 1986 harvests Zimbabwe held 1.8 million metric tonnes of maize in national stocks, 3.5 times the highest level achieved during the 1970s. The largest share of maize production gains were contributed by smallholder farmers. These farmers had previously participated only marginally in producing maize for the market. During the 1970s, between 5000-6000 large-scale commercial farmers delivered over 90% of the maize sold in the formal sector market. Approximately 750000 smallholder farmers contributed 5% and 8000 small-scale commercial farmers marketed the remaining 5%. While commercial maize production increased by more than two thirds between 1980 and 1985, smallholder maize production increased threefold. From 1985 onwards smallholder farmers started producing over 50% of the country’s maize and delivering over a third of that production to the Grain Marketing Board of Zimbabwe (GMB). From the beginning of the 1970s to 1986 Zimbabwe’s maize production trends are characterised by extreme variability primarily associated with the incidence of mid-season dry spells and drought, declining harvests during the middle part of the 1970s, followed by a sharp increase in production to record high levels and a significantly rising smallholder sector contribution to national production particularly after the land reform of the early 1980s. In 1972 national maize production in Zimbabwe was over 2.3 million metric tonnes and three quarters of this harvested by commercial farmers. While smallholder farmers planted two thirds of Zimbabwe’s maize area, yields were only 16% of commercial sector levels. However it is important to emphasise that smallholder farmers were mostly concentrated in the specially created Native Reserve areas they had been forced into under the Land Apportionment Act of 1930. The Land Apportionment Act was probably one of the most repressive pieces of legislation by the colonial government of Rhodesia. It entailed that over half of all land in Zimbabwe was exclusively reserved for the white settlers. The settler population only accounted for 2% of the total population. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 took away the right of indigenous black people of Zimbabwe to purchase land anywhere in the country. All indigenous people were moved into the Native Reserve Areas which were areas 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 (Rukuni, 2006; Moyo and Chambati, 2013)

Between 1972 and 1979 maize production maize production suffered a sustained decline as the war of liberation intensified. Commercial agriculture declined by more than 55% as a result of a 35% decline in crop area and a 30% decline in yields ( FAO, 2013). Between 1979 and 1984 both commercial and smallholder production first increased sharply to record levels then declined sharply during the 1982-84 droughts. By 1981, a year after independence commercial maize area planted had increased by more than 50% while smallholder maize area cultivated increased by almost 70% and maize yields increased by almost 50%. By 1986 total smallholder farm maize production increased an additional 55% above the 1981 levels and rising above the large scale commercial farm output (FAO, 2013). Smallholder farmers harvested almost 60% of Zimbabwe’s total maize output while commercial sector maize output continued to decline. During the 1970s commercial farmers sold 70-75% of the production to the GMB.

The per capita maize production showed signs of continued decline in the 1990s and this was attributed to significant decline in yields over the years from 1500kg/hectare in the early 1990s to 500kg/hectare in 2000 (Government of Zimbabwe, 2002). Agricultural productivity continued to fall in the smallholder sector due to continued pressure on land and land degradation as a result of years of erosive cultivation, declining soil fertility as farmers.

In 2000 maize production yield was 1488kg/hectare declining to 286.7kg/hectare in 2008 due to the effects of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country. From 2009 the sector has shown signs of recovery and latest figures from 2012 show a yield of 1041.7kg/hectare. Area under maize cultivation increased from 799430 hectares in 1979 to 1416700 hectares in 2000. In 1979 maize production quantity was 1141916 tonnes and in 2000 had nearly more than doubled to 2108110 tonnes. Production showed some signs of decline during that contentious period of the Fast Track Land Reform from  2000 through to 2008 where production was 496000tonnes. However maize production figures have continued to surge and in 2011 it was 1500000.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on

Tsvangirai’s uninspiring Chatham House monologue

By Bernard Bwoni

Tsvangirai’s address at Chatham House was as inspiring as an empty bottle. It was hollow and substance-free to be more precise. He started off by talking about the ‘’debilitating economic problems Zimbabwe is facing which are ‘supposedly’ symptomatic of a deep-rooted political crisis stemming from a disputed election’’. What? The election was exactly a year ago and Tsvangirai is hanging on to a done deal convincingly, freely and fairly won by the ruling party. Even Tsvangirai’s then Secretary General Tendai Biti was honest and admitted that they lost to the well-oiled revolutionary machinery and that the MDC-T was ill-prepared, lacked a convincing strategy and was totally out-manoeuvred. The elections were widely endorsed by African election observers from SADC, AU and COMESA as free, fair and credible and instantly given the not-credible seal of approval by the EU and USA. Instead of Tsvangirai coming forward and laying down his proposed strategy for the country’s current economic challenges his address was a mishmash of sweeping statements minus any specifics. It was his usual ‘stolen election mantra’ and a veiled invite for further interference from what he casually terms ‘the international community’. He dragged on about the past elections, the so-called disputed polls and his futile and meaningless quest for the voters roll to be made public.

The Chatham House address by Tsvangirai was clear as mud, to put it kindly it was tired, devoid of any substance and pointless all together. How is Zimbabwe going to benefit from this lacklustre lecture, a repetition of the usual MDC-T themes of demonising the ruling party and mobilising western support for own self-serving motives? It sounded like a manipulative child enlisting the favours of a parent by telling on others. The whole address was predominantly about what the government is not doing and no mention whatsoever of what the government should be doing to improve the economic fortunes of the country. There was no presentation of the shadow strategy to the country’s economic woes. It seems the speech was specifically meant to appeal to his usual donors and ‘international community’. It was all doom and gloom and this is from a man who was in the government of national unity for five years and the economic challenges he was going on about he failed to address when he had the opportunity then.

Tsvangirai went on to lecture the audience on how ‘Zimbabweans have no faith in the government in Harare because they know they did not vote for it’’. I am not sure if Tsvangirai is aware that over 60% of Zimbabwe’s electorate voted in favour of the ruling party? I am not sure if his entourage told him? The opposition disputed the election results and were well within their rights to challenge the result and file a petition at the Constitutional Court which upheld President Mugabe’s victory. The International community (another term for the US and Europe) expressed and have continued to express reservations publicly on the ‘credibility’ of the electoral process which has meant delays in their re-engagement with the Zimbabwe government. During this dreary address Tsvangirai provided details of what he fondly termed ‘’global players and stakeholders’’ and what they had to say about the supposedly ‘disputed’ election. The names were exclusively ‘international’ and included US Secretary of State John Kerry, Former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and of course the ever-submissive government of Botswana. This list is telling and true reflection of Tsvangirai’s naivety and unhealthy preoccupation with what he terms ‘the international community’. The names Tsvangirai provided here are from countries that did not participate in the monitoring of the general election. There are no names of the African countries that actually monitored and concluded that the elections were free, fair and credible. Tsvangirai’s address was not reassuring, at most a public quest for readmission to the elite neoliberal circles he so thrives in. Here is a man regurgitating the party line of ‘chaos in Zimbabwe, come and rescue us those from the ‘international community’

Tsvangirai also made a futile attempt at mentioning the state of the economy and here is where lines should be drawn and Tsvangirai should stick to what he knows best. I have no idea what that is but he should stick to that. In his address he provided the audience with some spurious and ill-researched economic indicators from the World Bank’s Doing Business Report ranks. He confidently tells the audience that Zimbabwe was 133 out of 143 countries and your point Mr Tsvangirai? What Tsvangirai does not realise about these Doing Business indicators is that they are highly subjective and not symptoms of the economic downturn facing the country. He also made some sweeping statements about the liquidity crunch, FDI flows into the country and he also mentioned a US$1 billion figure that was ‘spirited out of the economy barely a week after the election’. What Tsvangirai did not address was his continued stay in the state provided dwelling in the plush and leafy Harare Dales and his expensive playboy lifestyle on the high seas. Now those are economic indicators worth exploring from a man who claims to be the champion of the economically abused Zimbabwean people.

In the final part of his address Tsvangirai made some frail attempts at ‘mapping a way forward’ and his first statement was about national dialogue and from that he seemed to be eluding to another government of national unity. Tsvangirai termed it ‘an internationally brokered national dialogue of all stakeholders’ and we know very well who he is referring to when he talks about the ‘international community’. He chastised the government’s Look East policy saying it had not yielded direct financial support. Hence why earlier it was indicated that Tsvangirai should stick to what he knows best whatever that is. It is an open secret that China is currently the country’s biggest source of FDI. Figures from the World Investment Report (2013) indicate that FDI inflows from China in 2013 amounted to in excess of US$400 million whilst those from the EU countries fell below the US$100 million mark. Even the EU has been borrowing money off China. So Mr Tsvangirai I ask again, under those circumstances would you not look east?

Tsvangirai continued with his painfully tedious monologue about dialogue and re-engagement with the EU yet seemed oblivious to the fact that the government of Zimbabwe has remained widely open to positive re-engagement with all its international development partners, former and present. Following on from the landslide victory in 2013, the government has put emphasis on economic revival. There has been a genuine commitment to address the issues of re-engagement with the ‘international community’, employment creation and regenerating the desolate and dilapidated infrastructure. The finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently went to the IMF and World Bank as part of the re-engagement process and to reopen lines of credit and attract the much needed direct foreign investment. The IMF has placed Zimbabwe on a Staff Monitoring Programme (SMP) as a condition for re-engagement with Zimbabwe if successfully implemented. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry delegation was also recently on EU wide re-engagement drive.

Lastly Tsvangirai went on to lay down ‘the conditions’ for the removal of sanctions saying ‘removal of sanctions without a framework that plods and entices the nation towards full democratic values’. This is very disturbing and we have history to back this claim. The sanctions are illegal and should never have been imposed in the first place. It is Tsvangirai and clueless lieutenants who advocated for these devastating economic sanctions and when he starts like this the nation should seriously start to worry.
Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on


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