Cde Patrick Zhuwao is out of order Patrick Zhuwao
Cde Zhuwao

Cde Zhuwao

Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Recent utterances by Zanu-PF Politburo member and Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Cde Patrick Zhuwao, that “Zanu-PF (is) full of idiots” (The Standard, May 14, 2017); and his latest attack on The Herald over what he called “bastardised” editorial policy, cannot go unchallenged. For those who may have missed these two instances — in a series of self-serving and arrogant bluster — the minister was in the former case describing those who disagreed with him in the now notorious Zanu-PF factional wars and in the latter, he faulted The Herald for supporting the Government programme of Command Agriculture.

In both incidents, Zhuwao is fighting in a factionalist corner, namely that of rabidly undermining Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for his alleged successionist ambitions.

It is an equally notorious fact that Zhuwao is identified as one of the kingpins of the so-called G40 faction, along with Cdes Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere.

Their opponents are the Lacoste faction, which is said to support VP Mnangagwa, tipping him to succeed President Mugabe.

Of course, all these public names deny allegations of leading or supporting factions.

Sometimes unconvincingly so.

Luckily, for some of us, the narrative, plot and intrigues of factionalism do not interest us at all, neither are we part of the charade.

There is a strong temptation to be personal, which is unhelpful.

That said, it is critical to hold the minister to account, especially over what he has and has not done as the face of a critical policy and programme in Zimbabwe.

That way, we also have a chance to locate his political bluster and sophism which he seems to be enjoying by the day.

It is a fact that many people have lately come to see the minister as a factionalist crusader who has done precious little in his brief as Youth and Indigenisation Minister.

The issue of indigenisation and economic empowerment in Zimbabwe is important and it is no wonder that the policy and programme were dubbed the Fourth Chimurenga, with Prof Jonathan Moyo at some point actually contending that it was the last chimurenga.

The policy was designed to give expression to economic sovereignty of Zimbabweans and do in the productive and commercial sectors what land reform did in transferring ownership and means of production. The indigenisation agenda was successfully championed by Cde Kasukuwere, who to this day remains identifiable with the programme and its lofty ideals.

The last election, which Zanu-PF won convincingly in 2013, was won on the back of the message of indigenisation.

It is a programme and message that Tendai Biti admitted was superior to the abstract and unappealing manifesto of the main opposition MDC-T, where Biti was secretary-general.

Zhuwao was appointed to the ministry in 2015.

He has been a disaster, and that is being charitable, actually.

With him at the helm, indigenisation has all but disappeared from national discourse and whatever is left of it on the radar is just nostalgia over what it was under Kasukuwere and the massive potential it has now lost.

This is a serious matter.

Indigenisation as a policy and political statement is something Zanu-PF and Government would have done well to pursue post-2013.

On the morning of August 1, 2013 people would have wanted to see and feel indigenisation.That was the manifesto.

That entailed the two million odd jobs that Zanu-PF promised.

Zhuwao ought to have been the face of indigenisation, empowerment and employment creation. The youth constituency would be at the centre.

Zanu-PF would reap the benefits in five years’ time. Now, for the balance sheet?

Zhuwao has failed.

It is good that he admits as much.

Last month he was quoted by a newspaper claiming that, “. . . unfortunately the only job available is to make spikes and sell them to the police.”

We are not even sure if Zanu-PF as a party would be happy to be projected as such abject failures when one of the biggest flops is none other than Zhuwao himself.

The matter of two million jobs is as much a political issue as it is a technical one.

One of the earliest things that Zhuwao did as minister was to actually disown what Zanu-PF had promised.

“The ruling party never promised any jobs but indicated the potential of the economy to create jobs,” he obfuscated (Southerndaily Sept. 15, 2015).

Zhuwao is the withered political persona in the face of hard questions being asked of Zanu-PF, especially so ahead of elections in less than a year.

Suffice to say, he is not charismatic as a politician and has failed to deliver from a technocratic point of view.

(It will be remembered that Zhuwao likes to flaunt himself as educated and in continuous search for intellectual fulfilment, which he rationalises as being the cause for his presence at Sapes Trust recently, where he accompanied Prof Moyo.)

This is the first time that you may see this in print, but we are qualified to tell you here and now that Zhuwao has even failed to inspire confidence at his ministry, leading to policy paralysis.

On the street, many youths and black entrepreneurs have become disillusioned.

They ask, what happened to indigenisation and in particular the reserved sectors?

Foreign businesspeople continue to squeeze out locals from such banal activities as cooking sadza, making bricks and cutting people’s hair.

Foreign businesspeople are leasing buildings from council and other owners and sub-leasing to indigenous people at exorbitant rates.

Rentals have spiralled out of control and traders and prospective shop owners have had little choice but to trade their wares on the pavements, car trunks and in travellers’ bags.

Next time you see a crowded pavement, it’s largely due to Zhuwao’s supine approach to indigenisation.

Sadly, the chaos is blamed on Zanu-PF.

Even more ironic is that Zhuwao’s brother, Robert — who has a far richer history on indigenisation matters and leads a chapter of the National Business Council of Zimbabwe, which was formed by another indigenisation guru Dr Keith Guzah — has been vocal about the loss of the indigenisation trajectory.

Robert has faced numerous battles on behalf of informal businesspeople in Harare.

Ordinary informal businesspeople, be they a Cde Bla Max at Copa Cabana in Harare or a Nyoni in Bulawayo, have been left to hang by Minister Zhuwao.

This is a self-evident fact.

There is no need to be seeing factionalist shadows at all.

Indigenisation has been failed by Zhuwao.

And if any more evidence were required, we just point to the Barclays Bank saga.

Global UK giant Barclays has just disposed of its Africa units, including in Zimbabwe. Much to the consternation of Zimbabweans, and derision of Zanu-PF as a ruling party, the bank was snapped up by Malawians.

So much about indigenisation of which Zhuwao is the face!

Just for reference’s sake, in neighbouring South Africa, the majority stake has been taken up by five locals.

Many would have expected Zhuwao to lead the charge for the indigenisation of the bank — best of all times, without conflict!

Let’s not talk about the so-called Empowerment Bank, which knowledgeable and concerned people have noted as redundant.

Now, against this background, when we hear Zhuwao calling people idiots and trying to deploy big words to demean those he does not agree with, including The Herald, we tend to become uneasy.

It has also to be noted that outside of what he thinks of himself, Zhuwao does not amount to much politically and many people have since pinned his arrogance to his abuse of his filial relationship with President Mugabe, who is President and father figure to all of us.

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