The following is the full text of a speech by New Zimbabwe.com blogger Psychology Maziwisa delivered at the Zanu PF Economic Cluster Conference held at Rainbow Towers in Harare on June 28, 2012:
I HAVE only this morning been asked by my dear colleague Prosper Masenyama to prepare a few notes for this conference. I didn’t see any of this coming and so this is pretty much an impromptu presentation. But that is not my only limitation, I’m told by Amai [Oppah] Muchinguri that I have just a few minutes to address you and so I will try and be as brief as I possibly can.
Let me start, though, by acknowledging and thanking Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, Cde Didymus Mutasa, Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Honourable Obert Mpofu, Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere, Zanu PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo and Secretary for Women Affairs, Amai Oppah Muchinguri, for affording me the chance to address this very important economic cluster conference.
It is really an incredible honour and I believe it is much more than I deserve, so thank you very, very much indeed.
Madam chair, for most of my adult life, bad news about Zanu PF was all I heard: Corruption and greed amongst senior party officials; national funds being used for private purposes, dilapidated buildings and un-serviced roads; children succumbing to preventable diseases, a government unable to feed its own people and so on and so forth.
All of this was true of course and some of it has remained so to this day. Yet it can no longer be denied that Zanu PF is finally restoring Zimbabwe to its glorious days.
Consider this: for the past four years, Zimbabwe has been on the move economically. We have managed to reduce inflation from over 200 million percent to less than 3%. Our economy has grown steadily in the same period, growing by a massive 9% in 2009 and projected to expand even further in the years ahead. Zimbabwe is presently amongst the fastest growing economies in the world.
Most of our communities are enjoying economic development for the first time since independence. These communities, of which the most notable are Mhondoro-Ngezi, Zvishavane, Shurugwi and Gwanda, are able to empower their people, improve their infrastructure and create employment for scores of young people who have been jobless for quite sometime.
This progress is easy to explain: Zanu PF policies are beginning to bear fruit. What makes Zanu PF a great party, different from many parties in Zimbabwe and beyond, is that in crafting its policies it is not motivated by politics or any such thing. Rather, Zanu PF is always driven by principle and conviction, the desire to ensure total economic emancipation for millions of our people, whatever the odds. This, in my opinion, is what sets Zanu PF apart.
We saw this sense of purpose with the land reform which received almost universal condemnation at the initial stages. Today, hundreds of thousands of our people are helping feed the nation. Many have ventured into tobacco farming and are making fortunes for themselves. Lives have drastically been changed.
Currently, the indigenisation and empowerment policy is transforming our country in a very special way. For the first time in a long time, scores of our communities are benefiting directly from our natural resources through community share ownership trusts.
Minister Kasukuwere indicated just a few minutes ago that more such trusts will be launched in the not distant future across the country. He has particularly hinted that there will be a community share trust in Manicaland as soon as we know what’s going on with President Mugabe’s schedule.
Indeed, more than $40 million has been mobilised under the indigenisation programme and channelled through the Youth Fund for the benefit our youth. This is truly commendable work and it is a sign that Zanu PF is committed to the wellbeing of our people.
The challenges we face of course remain considerable. For example, we are operating under a heavily sanctioned environment. The unwarranted sanctions imposed on this country in 2001 have constrained our ability to access lines of credit. They have caused our industries to shut down – a state of affairs which has resulted in widespread joblessness. Nor have the sanctions made the sale of our minerals particularly easy.
Time and again, we have been denied permission to trade our diamonds profitably under the guise of non-compliance with certification requirements. Of course we finally got the green light from the Kimberly Process, but there remain some overt attempts to further constrain Zimbabwe’s ability to freely sell its resources for the best possible value.
These are some of the challenges we continue to face. Yet there is no doubt that our economy is changing for the better. People’s views on Zimbabwe are also changing. Not so long ago, the United Nations Human Rights Chief, Navie Pillay, said that sanctions on Zimbabwe had had a devastating effect and should be removed completely.
My feeling is that these sanctions are not long for this world, they will go at some point or other and then Zimbabwe can be free again, free to do trade with other nations, free to determine what to do with its own resources and free to implement its policies.
But while we patiently wait for that great day to come, let us continue to act for the good of our people. I am pleased to note that there is a new generation of leaders in Zanu PF, leaders who don’t simply have a great capability in terms of how to execute the tasks before them, but leaders with a new attitude, a new way of thinking and a new way of looking at things.
I am under no illusion about the difficulties that lie ahead. But I do believe that Zanu PF has taken some huge steps in the right direction. The evidence is there, the outlook is positive. Zimbabwe can be an economic hub within a generation.
Thank you, thank you very much indeed.