ZIMBABWEANS should not be tricked into believing Eric Bloch’s flagrant lie that he is committed to the empowerment of indigenous Zimbabweans. Of course he is merely paying lip-service. Crocodiles cannot fly. By most accounts, he remains a champion of the privileged few and a hater of the many.
Three weeks ago, I challenged Bloch to be as objective as possible in his evaluation of the law on indigenisation. Quite evidently, it was too much to ask. In an article that might as well have been titled, Discrimination: Setting the record straight, (Zimbabwe Independent), Eric did not do much to address this writer’s apprehensions. Bias and prejudice can be addictive!
I put it to Bloch, for instance, that while he had spent an awful lot of his time obsessing about supposed property rights of foreign investors, he had conveniently turned a blind eye to the real plight of impoverished Zimbabweans who lose, almost on a daily basis, not just their property but their livelihoods to municipal police. In fairness to him, he provided quite a sensible answer, arguing that people “must keep, comply and conform to Zimbabwean laws”. But, then, Eric needs to tell that to the real culprits.
Does he think the law on indigenisation was crafted merely to decorate the statute books? No one is above the law. What’s good for the one is good for the other. It’s a cliché but it drives the point home perfectly well.
Meanwhile, Bloch argues that the law on indigenisation and empowerment has the resultant effect of rendering foreign investors “totally subordinated to the whims and determinations of (Zimbabweans)”. But that’s exactly as it should be, isn’t it?
Why should it be objectionable- indeed unconscionable for, shall we say, a black Zimbabwean to enjoy financial supremacy over a white Zimbabwean let alone a foreign one but OK if it is the other way around? It’s a mind boggling mentality and a sign that Eric and company want the worst not the best for our people. The battle against racism is far from over. It’s unfair to single out Eric Bloch. The bigotry is a tad more widespread. Suffice it to say Eddie Cross is part of the mafia, but that’s a debate for another day.
Over the years, fictional arguments have been invented to discredit even the most progressive of Zanu Pf initiatives. It happened with the land redistribution programme with the usual suspects calling it ‘land grabbing’. A few years down the line, Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector is picking up at a remarkable pace. Yet Eric has kept his mouth shut.
The same trickery is being employed to dishonor the indigenisation law with Eric calling it ‘theft’ and ‘expropriation’. It’s all too familiar. Does anyone any longer take this bloke seriously?
Besides, it’s the intent that matters, not the method- and Zanu PF will be judged precisely by that standard. The question is whether Eric’s intentions will pass muster. For a man contending that a whole nation, the value of its vast resources notwithstanding, should satisfy itself only with money derived from royalties, taxes and customs duty, it’s a bit more than any sensible man can stomach.
At best, Eric’s constant reference to foreign investment is deceitful. Why did foreign investment fail to do the trick in the 1980s, when Zimbabwe’s diplomatic relations were at their warmest and most affectionate? Nothing changed in Dotito, Murehwa, Rusape, Masvingo- indeed across the nation. Who does Eric want to fool by talking of foreign investment in such glowing and patronizing terms as if it were everything?
Besides, Bloch’s track record as an economic advisor is deprived of any appeal. He is in no position to open his mouth. It’s time to empower the people of this country and those opposed to the implementation of the idea have no business providing unsolicited advice. The indigenisation drive is providing an opportunity to excel, a chance to emerge from deep poverty, to fulfill the aspirations of the many.
For the benefit of Bloch, it is worth reiterating that: In a country considered the world’s second largest producer of platinum, with diamond reserves tipped to account for a substantial portion of the world’s total output, 49% is a staggering share. The despondency is really unwarranted, everyone ought to celebrate.
Equally worth repeating is the fact that these resources belong to Zimbabwe and its people. All the more reason to be surprised when he talks of fair value. All the more reason to feel insulted when he calls it theft. All the more reason to question his motives.
As far as Bloch is concerned, nothing progressive can ever come out of a Zanu PF initiative. But, then, that’s a mistaken perception. Zanu PF has many achievements to its name not least the creation of one of the finest educational systems in the world- indeed the best in Africa.
Admittedly, it has had its fair share of mistakes which it could do well to confront as a matter of urgency. But anyone looking for perfection in any party or any government for that matter has a long search to conduct. Better to look at the best in people, rather than the worst.
I have lately become supportive of Zanu PF not because of what it is, but because of what I hope it can be. Indeed, Zanu PF’s several achievements may have been overshadowed by its failings, but it still has the will-power, the determination to do what is right. In that regard, it is well equipped to push the indigenisation law forward.
That Saviour Kasukuwere is the man in charge ought to be sufficient reason to believe. And to hear it from a man who witnesses the way he works so hard for this country, observes his commitment to its total emancipation, and sees how he moves, for example, from one Independence Day celebratory party to another until the wee hours of the morning preaching the gospel of self-sufficiency, ought to be good-enough an assurance. Only hard-core pessimists can afford to continue to see him in a different light.
All told, no one can afford to remain ceaselessly skeptical and expect to be counted among forward-thinkers. Cynicism can be a man’s downfall, indeed a nation’s undoing. Bloch’s problem is not difficult to state: he lacks the desire to believe, a willingness to trust. Compared to him, Doubting Thomas was a true believer. It’s a curse not a virtue.