Poultry By-product Dumping into Zimbabwe an Issue


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIZimbabwe’s well established poultry industry has excelled during the last year despite many challenges facing producers within the sector. More recently the Zimbabwean government imposed duty surcharges on foreign produced dressed poultry products, amongst other food imports. This is an attempt to further protect local industries against competitive imports, a lead issue for egg and broiler meat producers. Local production has been frustrated by several factors, the more significant being production costs versus those of other regional players, giving rise to import demand. The principal reason for higher costs has been the price of non-GMO grain and soya imports to sustain the industry, higher power costs and the non-implementation of brining techniques on a larger scale.

Poultry meat production is the top protein in output, followed by beef and then pork in Zimbabwe, a significant change from the days when the beef industry ruled supreme, before year 2000. Industry estimates for broiler meat production through recognised abattoirs in 2011 are in the region of 25 thousand tonnes (20,000 tonnes 2010). There is a huge informal production sector, gauging from broiler chick sales, which is estimated to deliver a further 44 thousand tonnes in locally produced meat. Presently broiler meat production stands at 590 tonnes a week; about 2,540 tonnes a month, yet importers are still finding markets for their cheaper cuts and offal imports.

Obtaining import statistics from reliable sources is difficult. There is little doubt that graft and corruption have crept into the lucrative and sometimes illicit import chain; added to which there is the embarrassment that a one-time net exporter of poultry products and its principal inputs has to admit being a net importer. Industry estimates are often based on hearsay and unofficial sources in consequence.

In 2010 some sources indicate that 17,000 tonnes of dressed meat entered the country, while other sources indicate that only 13 thousand tonnes should have entered, based on veterinary permits issued, thus giving rise to a 4,000 tonne discrepancy (then over 6% of market demand). Added to this, most of the imports were cheap cuts or offal, the latter being supposedly banned from importation (like pork bones which are still coming into the country). Guesswork suggests that upward of 20 containers a week of low quality South American chicken imports are presently coming onto the market (some say that over 2,000 tonnes of cheap meat is being imported monthly), at the same old prices, yet little intervention by responsible state agencies is apparent. It raises questions.

Day old chick production peaked in September 2011 at 5,6 million broiler birds for the month. This is an important part of the industry; servicing large scale commercial, small scale and private growers, the latter mostly for own or local community consumption. It is estimated that broiler day old chick production in 2011 was near 52 million birds (38 million 2010). Table egg production reached 23 million dozen in 2011 versus 16 million dozen in 2010. Zimbabwe has a combined hatching capacity of 76 million birds a year, apparently. Industry officials believe the broiler industry is set to show tremendous growth in 2012 as a result of these trends. One industry source indicates that rural demand for day old chicks present stands at 570,000 per week, which is being met.

While buoyancy is apparent, Zimbabwe’s producers have issues to concern themselves with. The nation’s on farm production of soya beans and maize has fallen, giving rise to import supplementation. The prohibition on using cheaper GMO varieties of maize and soya (supposedly to protect a beef quota into GMO sensitive Europe; which is not being used) has placed the industry in a quandary. The ban is blunting the industry’s competitive edge and making Zimbabwean broiler meat production 20-50% higher than the larger integrated operators in South Africa. Leading producer nations such as the United States and Brazil are landing chicken in southern Africa at nearly half the cost of local production (for whole birds, which Zimbabwe is not importing). What Zimbabwe is importing are even cheaper waste products, chicken backs, skins, discounted leg quarters and offal which are a problem in their countries of origin. Brazil’s recent dumping initiatives into Africa have even the South African industry worrying and scurrying for import controls.

The poultry industry is obviously a large user of soya in its feed mixes and it is estimated that in 2010 demand for soya for the poultry industry alone was in the region of 102,000 tonnes, versus local production estimates at just 20-30 thousand tonnes, meaning a reliance on imports to sustain the industry. In 2011, and no doubt this year, that demand will have increased significantly, yet local farm production of soya beans will have remained static, if not dropped. The availability of soya meal from local oil expressers has also declined with duty free imports of essential cooking oils too. Government announced the removal of a 5% duty on imported soya meal, but are yet to implement this.

Maize supplies to the industry follow a similar pattern. Demand from the poultry sector reached 87,000 tonnes in 2010 (based on day old broiler chick sales), 120,000 tonnes in 2011 and expectedly larger in 2012. Maize meal is the staple in Zimbabwe and total demand for maize was in the region of 1,2 million tonnes (circa 2010) versus local production of just two thirds of this, making the entire nation mostly reliant on maize imports. Local producers will need to concentrate their efforts on acquiring locally grown soya and maize at reasonable prices, since those unable to do so will have the daunting task of importing expensive GMO free maize and soya meal, which is a logistical nightmare, and then looking to other areas where they can cut costs.

There are of course other efficiencies which local producers can attend to, including feed conversion efficiencies and energy usage (bearing in mind the vagaries of supply and the need for generator supplementation); the integrated abattoirs might well look towards matching import values with a reasonable level of brining too. It would be folly for producers to take the easy route and raise their prices to consumers, in the comfort of the newly imposed 25% duty surcharge on chicken imports, although this is somewhat inevitable with higher grain prices on the international market.

The issue here is that an apparent lack of import controls or, perhaps, corruption can easily circumvent duty surcharges; as they have permit-less and illicit imports in the past. This ‘grey trade’ is potentially a threat to human health and poses a serious menace to the local livestock industry. Unless the state gets properly and ethically involved with import controls, local producers will continue to operate on the downside of an unlevel playing field.
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Sources
– Zimbabwe Poultry Association statistics
– TechnoServe – Zimbabwe Poultry Sector Study, September 2011
– Dr Chrispen Sukume – Constraints Affecting Poultry Competitiveness, August 2011

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Power: The Indigenous Hiccough and Coal


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIThe exploitation of vast resources of coal in Botswana into viable exports to Asian and eastern nations, such as India and China has, apparently, a Zimbabwean impediment. Studies into the more viable routes to get Botswana’s coal reserves to the sea opt for routes which transverse either Namibia or Mozambique (via Zimbabwe). The latter, with its port at Ponta Techobanine, is considered the better choice. But Zimbabwe, through which this route would pass, is considered too much of a sovereign risk to would be investors.

In a loose kind of way, there are three power bases at stake in this tale of economic woe, the power of coal, electricity and then politics. Zimbabwe’s economy, it would seem, has been traumatised by each of them and there is no letting up as to when this might subside.

Zimbabwe is not without its huge coal reserves, a source of power, the better known being Hwange, but the larger comprises the huge untapped resources of the Sengwa, with its high coke value ore. Export route viability studies have actually considered the Sengwa fields as a potential partner in a rail route which would transverse Zimbabwe. One may well question quite why the Sengwa coal fields are not being fully exploited and perhaps why Zimbabwe was not ahead of Botswana in not only resourcing viable export routes to the sea, but fully implementing them too.

Electrical power is not abundant in Zimbabwe, in fact load shedding of electrical power is essential to help shoddy supply keep up with growing demand. There is a 700 megawatt shortage on the grid, and South Africa is a major supplier of the deficit. Conservative estimates suggest Zimbabwe has unpaid bills in the tune of US$150 million with its southern supplier and Zimbabwe is not ‘coughing up’. Sengwa lays for all purposes mostly idle, despite its huge indirect potential in power and export revenue generation, and Hwange is certainly not up to steam in either too.

The single most damaging power is that of the political variety or persuasion. Zimbabweans are so thoroughly pre-occupied with the consuming, if not petty, power play between one party and the other, that they seem not to be seeing the wood for the trees on the economic front which affects them most. One of the principle deterrents to foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe is the nationalist vogue towards indigenisation. Appropriation of majority stakes in foreign enterprise has become a misdirected priority. It is a highly emotive issue for local people, the majority of whom, in the long term, are really unlikely to reap its alleged empowerment benefits. Indigenisation is the tree obscuring the wood.

If anything, indigenisation has done more to scuttle economic growth in Zimbabwe than any other post inflation debacle policy. For a nation which so desperately needs foreign direct investment in its mining sector, not to mention others, Zimbabwe’s nationalist politicians are giving out all the wrong signals. The mining sector has borne the brunt of the first phase of indigenisation. Large mining houses have stopped all new developments; the stock market has consequently suffered a long marked depression, especially in mining counters; there is a liquidity squeeze; and no hope on the horizon that the folly might subside. Clearly, it is all a little too much for the limited minds of some politicians who espouse such damaging philosophy.

Part of the prejudice lies in the fact that Sengwa coal is not streaming down the rail routes to the sea; nor is local coal generating sufficient power to supplement the grid; nor is Zimbabwe reducing its dependence of direct foreign power imports; and now there is little hope that massive exports of Botswana’s coal will transit Zimbabwe, thus generate employment and enterprise.

It is a ludicrous state of affairs with much blind fumbling in the cesspits of political chicanery. Surprisingly, Zimbabweans are not questioning the lunacy, most likely in the naive and unlikely hope that perhaps the politicians might be right: that it will lead them to the holy grail of empowerment, wealth and happiness. Ice will form in burning coal furnaces before that happens.

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Corrupt States: Outcome Choices – Democracy or Revolution


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XI
One may ask, is there some correlation between democracy and corruption? It would seem there is.
Those countries with autocratic or ‘president for life’ dictatorships, or those that suffer democracy challenges, seem to have a higher ranking, for being lofty in their corruptness, than those with more stable democracies. The recently released Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010 appears to suggest this when compared with other indices.

It is common purpose for lesser free nations to impose extreme controls to sustain their autocratic rule, and this depends upon an array of punitive legislation; a strong securotocracy of partisan service chiefs; systems of patronage, where Peter is robbed to pay Paul, in other words, the party faithful; and a generally kleptocratic ethos, opening up the stratagem for filthy corruption. Sound familiar? Zimbabwe is no stranger to this and is certainly no alien to its poor ranking on the corruption scales.

Zimbabwe, which was ranked joint 154th (with 11 other nations), of the 182 countries surveyed, joins a few other countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region with similar poor ranking and likewise dodgy democracy records. Within the SADC region Zimbabwe is brought together with two others at the bottom of the corruption cesspool, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The top three (least corrupt) in SADC are Botswana, Mauritius and the Seychelles (Namibia and South Africa follow, regionally, in 4th and 5th place respectively).

If one looks at the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index rankings… there is a striking resemblance in their rankings, give or take a few juxtaposed grades and one major exception. Swaziland ranks highly amongst least corrupt, but is rated low on the democracy rankings; synonymous with its monarchic plutocracy, perhaps. Despite this, generally, rank correlation between democracy and corruption is distinctly apparent.

The EIU index places Zimbabwe, Angola and the DRC at the bottom of the SADC democracy standings, while Botswana and Mauritius are top ranking (most democratic) SADC nations (the Seychelles seems not to have been surveyed by the EIU). Here of course is another exception, the Seychelles has strayed from democracy in recent years and perhaps it is only time before the corruption sets in there; if the supposition is correct.

If this hypothesis is anywhere near decent, then, clearly, the solutions to Zimbabwe’s corruption lay with re-democratization of the nation. The people seem to want this, but are far from ready to demonstrate their will. Some years back, Zimbabwe was actually ranked 65th in the TI rankings. This is when the economy was faring reasonably well and the then popular party was getting its own way in power sustenance. There were no threats against the king. Perhaps the corruption ranking was skewed.

Then, about came change…the politicians went and spoiled it all. There was popular resistance to constitution change, which would have entrenched the Mugabe regime; then mindless forays into the DRC to fight another dictator’s squabbles; land seizures, theft and gluttony; denial of freedoms; suppression of transparency; explosion of inflation and consummate hunger; and now indigenisation; and some even say a military coup by proxy.

The people began to resist autocratic leadership and from there on it has been a slide down the slippery slope of political self indulgence, benefiting only the kleptocracy and its patronised bureaucracy. Zimbabwe skidded to its worst on record corruption ranking in 2009 become the 11th most corrupt nation of 180 countries surveyed. All that in just 10 short years, the root cause being simply to sustain a single individual in power, so they say; with his lackey coterie reaping the trappings of his protectionism and patronage. The once popular party now has some of the wealthiest politicians; one has to presume, being the product of lousy, edacious graft.

Some may take heart that Zimbabwe has actually climbed the rankings in 2010. Can we say this is probably the prize of a Government of National Unity (GNU), with ‘new kids’ on the block? Well perhaps not. It does not seem that those ‘new kids’ will be any different. There is a growing cynicism, a new mood, which suggests any new broom, brought about by greater democracy, may not sweep quite as clean as it should. This goes against the theory.

More recently people have been pointing at the nation’s pro-democracy Prime Minister and his apparently scandalous personal affairs presently in the public domain. This is sad and consequently issues of trust are now being raised, personal failures translate to susceptibilities elsewhere. Add to this Zimbabwe’s recent, wealthiest in the World, discovery of diamonds, and one might surmise, unfairly perhaps, that the scales will tip even further down the corruption order, no matter how democratic the nation becomes.

This should be troublesome indeed for Zimbabwe’s new breed of politicians, while the older ones look over their shoulders. The race here must be who gets to the post first, true democracy or the powder keg of violent revolution. We should draw from the fact that famine may purge southern Africa in the months ahead… if we are to believe this, then Zimbabwe could well run short of food, a clear melting pot for dissent. North Africa chose violent revolution, and while the parallels are few; corruption, personal and political self indulgence were core causes. In those primers there are parallels aplenty for Zimbabwe.

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Back to School Blues: Zimbabwe gets the Dunce’s Cap


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIRecently, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation published its extremely comprehensive rankings of African governance providing a pretty interesting insight. On their web site, the Foundation indicates that it compiles its measure of ‘effective delivery of public goods and services to citizens’ from no less that 86 indicators and from 23 data providers. Saliently, Zimbabwe is not doing too well. Out of the 53 African countries surveyed, Zimbabwe ranks 51st. That is shocking, though not surprising.

The categorisation of governance into four principal areas and Zimbabwe’s ranking therein must surely be a cause for concern. Principally Zimbabwe ranks second last in the category “Sustainable Economic Opportunity”. This surely cannot be too proud a moment for Zimbabwe’s leadership, beating only Somalia (score of 3.6/100 versus Zimbabwe 24.5) as the worst country in Africa within the category. The sorriest sub-category is apparently Zimbabwe’s business environment – ranked 52nd (scoring a mere 9.3 %) – perhaps a true reflection of government’s racist and xenophobic policies angled towards indigenisation. With a per capita GDP of just US$131, one may guess, one should not expect more.

In the category “Safety and Rule of Law”, Zimbabwe steps up to 51st place with a score of only 28.2%, whipping the two bad boys in the class, Sudan (21.0%) and rotten Somalia with 4.8%. Not surprisingly within the category Zimbabwe ranked poorly with respect to Accountability, but also a very low score for “Personal Safety”. That latter score needs to be opened up a bit, since for all intense and purpose Zimbabwe is a peaceful country, except when it seemingly spills blood in election campaigning mode. The nation has not had elections recently, but reported incidents of party political violence continue to sully the record.

FlickrHarareFirst

The nation is ranked 47th in the category “Participation and Human Rights” and 42nd in “Human Development”. It is not all bad, Zimbabwe did not do too poorly with a sub-category labelled “Infrastructure”, but then we know Zimbabwe inherited one of the best structured nations in Africa, probably only second to South Africa at the time, from its Rhodesian or perhaps colonial benefactors. Zimbabwe ranked 15th for Infrastructure. Encouragingly, Zimbabwe ranked 24th in Africa for Education. Top scores in the survey, for Zimbabwe, were in the categories Health (56/100) and National Security 55%. Those are the only two subjects passed!

Zimbabwe’s overall score card is a sad 31 percent, which in most of our books is a failure, it is well below the African and the regional Southern African averages, and has been for the last few years. Clearly, it is back to school for Zimbabwe. The nation should not object to wearing the dunce’s cap and standing in the corner, but the fact is there is no headmaster nor wicked teacher to punish not so sparingly with the rod.

Political self criticism is just too suicidal in Africa, no politician can do wrong, so it will be up to the people to bring about change. The problem is that the people don’t see these indicators as a measure of success or failure, it is they who are getting the stick from those who should be sanctioned for this abysmally poor performance. Does anyone care?
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Source:
Mo Ibrahim Foundation – http://www.moibrahimfoundation.org

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Poultry Shortage Looming


By Andrew Field
Flickr_Andrew_XIZimbabwe’s poultry industry is on the brink of a shortage with the recent banning of dressed poultry imports. In an emotional and very public appeal, poultry producers sought to effect a protectionist ban on imports. They had panicked with growing meat stocks and offered a series of deceptions with which, some consider, the Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) had sullied itself taking issue with brining and genetically modified organisms (GMO), accusing importers of defrauding the Zimbabwean consumer.
The issue of brining has long been an issue for ZPA members, yet this is an internationally acceptable practice. Brining is a flavouring process adopted by some local abattoirs. One of the tell tale signs of excess brining is water retention. The ZPA argued that poultry meat imports were high in water content, but there are internationally acceptable levels for brining, also lawfully regulated in Zimbabwe. The Department of Veterinary Services was quick to address false claims of over-brining against one external producer. Chicken meat is naturally hygroscopic and during a series of tests, conducted privately, it was the locally branded chicken that contained the higher water content.
One leading abattoir in Zimbabwe is contemplating the importation of brining equipment and the other has already adopted this practice, making thorough folly of the ZPA issue on brining. Local producers still have the awful habit of stuffing a giblet bag into the carcass of whole birds and charging higher meat prices for offal content. Offal imports have been banned for some time, so the imported product actually represents much greater value for money.
The use of genetically modified grains in livestock production is naturally a highly emotive issue, which the ZPA used to play upon the fears of consumers. Imports were referred to, quite mischievously, as ‘GMO chicken’ by one local executive, yet there is no evidence to support the theory that imported chicken uses GMO cereals in its feed cycle, just speculative probability. One issue needs to be made absolutely clear to worried consumers. No imported chicken has been genetically modified. When GMO maize is used to feed broiler or layer chickens, this does not change the genetic structure of the end product.
The spinners of the GMO argument need to be very careful in their assumptions. The entire commerce of food imports would be in jeopardy, opening to question the type of grains used to feed livestock supplying all dairy and meat imports, to manufacture breakfast cereals, maize meals and bread flours, not to mention the origins of grains used for feeding various sources of mechanically deboned meats used in the local meat processing industry.
If the GMO card is played across the spectrum of all foods, and were it possibly to police this, the reality is that Zimbabwe’s Supermarket shelves would be empty once more. Besides, local livestock producers are in fact being a touch insincere. Prior to ‘exposing’ the GMO issue, producers had approached the Ministry of Agriculture to import cheaper genetically modified grains for stock feed. This had been declined, but appeals are presently ongoing.
Many of these same producers had also scrambled to secure import permits for the same ‘over-brined’ and ‘GMO poultry meat’, before a change of face. Three large poultry producers have recently been granted permission to import hatching eggs to sustain demand, which is encouraging, but these consignments originate from the same ‘GMO chickens’ as the banned meat imports, and from a Rift Valley Fever quarantined area, South Africa. This strikes of double standards.
Quite surprisingly, some producers thought imports would destroy the local industry, yet still managed to increase production levels in the face of ‘threatening’ imports from 320 metric tonnes a month in January 2009 to 1,670 metric tonnes in March 2010. This trend hit a plateau when the Ministry of Agriculture banned poultry imports for three months in early April, 2010. Of course, Zimbabweans are well versed in the economics of limiting commodity supplies.
Animal protein availability in Zimbabwe is now approaching crucially low volumes. Not only have retail prices risen in the absence of competition, but chicken meat is becoming short and, as expected, a small illicit market in imports has sprung up. Despite an apparent seasonal decline in off take, Zimbabwe’s chicken producers are now far off the mark in servicing demand. Estimates out of the industry would suggest production levels are currently averaging 1,900 tonnes per month versus consumer demand of near 3,500 tonnes per month in the formal market.
Producers are thus caught between their inability to sustain supply, and import substitution being more competitive that perhaps they would like. There are other issues. Producers have not responded to the local consumer market trend towards individually quick frozen (IQF) products, commonly known as mixed portions in the local industry and away from whole birds. This follows the market trend in both South Africa and Namibia. Local producers are still locked into producing frozen dressed whole birds, and much of their earlier stockpile (estimated at 1,400 metric tonnes in February/March) comprised whole birds, in lesser demand.
Many producers have run out of product for the market. Customers and distributors have been denied product from most of the smaller abattoirs. The two leading abattoirs seem to be servicing some demand but not fulfilling their markets, one of them being heavily over-priced.
Producers have got what they really wanted, the ability to limit the market and sell their production at considerably higher prices in the absence of import competition. This has rebounded on the consumer, somewhat, since a shortage is now apparent. Yet the competition generated by imports on the local market seems to have rung a few alarm bells within the producer camp. They have been compelled to react and look inward at their production costs and to meeting demand, which can only be good for Zimbabwe’s consumers. Local abattoirs will not, however, fill the expected void likely to be sustained by imports within the foreseeable future. Clearly there is place for controlled imports without risk to local production.

Pillage, Plunder and Patronage


By Andrew Field
Flickr_Andrew_XIZimbabwe’s ruling elite have certainly demonstrated their ability to ‘hoist with one’s own petard’! The recent legislation concerning the ‘indigenisation’ of business in Zimbabwe is so much a case of ‘cutting off one’s nose’ that one can only marvel at the sanity of its originators. Africans most certainly bore the burden of colonial subjugation, but eventually gained their freedoms and acquired well developed countries with working infrastructures in the bargain. Mr. Mugabe certainly did. The people of Zimbabwe inherited a southern African powerhouse, a land flowing with milk and honey.
One would have thought that with freedom gained, the new regimes of Africa would have treasured, nurtured and developed further their new won nations. Not so. For some reason, which remains elusive, Africans have managed to reduce their nations to proverbial dumps, created untold death and destruction, and relegated their populations to pauper status in endemic proportions. And while this, so uniquely indigenous, degradation is taking place, the ‘colonialists’ continue to take the blame. They respond by pouring in aid, while clearly looking the other way.
Zimbabwe has just suffered the worst ten years of its existence. It was the era of racist revenge and vindictive pillage during which a tiny class of people of Caucasian origins were isolated, victimized and deprived of their land and property, their homes and their livelihood. In the bargain a significant proportion of the ‘indigenous’ population were impoverished through the loss of their livelihood and homes on the farms. This inhumanity could never be and will never be justified, yet, stunningly, Africa’s often corrupt now ‘dump dog’ despots, still hold the wrongdoers in awe. The Western world conveniently looked the other way.
The knock on effect of destroying commercial agriculture, second only to mining, in wealth generation, was the near collapse of the Zimbabwe economy. The nation experienced some of the worst inflation any nation has sustained with the ultimate collapse of its currency. The Zimbabwe dollar was globally reduced to ridicule. Those who benefited from all this racist plunder were a mere handful of party faithful and useless wealth grubbing sycophants. Political patronage reared its ugly head. Yet clearly this was not enough for these artful architects of hatred.
Now, apparently, the nation is to sustain another five years of pillage and destruction which will echo around all the corridors of commerce and industry. Mugabe’s ‘men in black’ have been scheming, clearly ultra vires, to usurp even the pillars of constitutional law in the making of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Regulations. These are designed to empower black people with 51 percent stakes in all companies of reasonable wealth, basically without compensation to their owners. As heroic as that may sound, and, yes, it is already being heralded as the 4th Chimurenga, in reality, it is yet another scheme to deprive that tiny class of people of Caucasian origin of ownership.
Any Zimbabwean worth his salt, who has any aspirations towards self employment, ownership of business and contributing to the growth and well-being of his country, would have bust his back to achieve this, during the last thirty years. Many did and much wealth transferred to black Zimbabweans in the process. There is absolutely no hope though, for those who waited in anticipation, to piggy back upon the party gravy train, with lucrative endeavour, seeking unearned gains.
Business is an intricate matrix of networking and experiences, vulnerable to the sensitivities of both, and no place for those who are gutless and cannot invest their money and energy in its success. The Government of Zimbabwe has created a conduit through which many aspiring businessmen will now have false hopes of reaping where they have not sewn. The failure of land reform, and the collapse of commercial agriculture, as we knew it, should have been sufficient a deterrent to those who structured the Indigenisation and Empowerment scheme, unless they were clearly intent upon wrecking further havoc and ruin on Zimbabwe’s economy. There should be no illusions here.
What, one may ask, prevents Zimbabweans taking courage and exposing themselves to the risks of developing their own business networks, integrating with existing networks, building their own companies and getting onto the competitive platform that any existing company has had to do? Do they really lack the guts, courage and determination, so much so, that they cannot be self made men and women? Are Zimbabweans really reduced to receiving patronage for the rest of their days? We think not, so what magical formula is there in disenfranchising a small class of hard working people on the grounds purely of their race?
Zimbabweans need to tread very carefully upon this evil and perilous road of political patronage and handouts. Unwittingly, perhaps, they will be placing yet further misappropriated wealth into the hands of the same buffoons who failed them with the land reform programme. It is the same vindictive and vengeful formula, but with concrete, machinery and trading stock as the toys, rather than mealies, tobacco and livestock.
Yet, strangely, Morgan Tsvangirai believes that ‘indigenization program aims to promote broader-based economic participation, not discourage investment’. With such a thoroughly naive view, little wonder the hawks are sharpening their beaks in anticipation. White Zimbabweans are just as Zimbabwean as any black Zimbabwean, Mr Tsvangirai. There is no excuse for this blatant discrimination. Martin Luther King’s words seem appropriate here, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”