YOUTH Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao needs help!We are really concerned by the policy ignorance he publicly flaunts like a badge of honour as it does not bode well for the public’s confidence in Government.
As we report elsewhere in this issue, while addressing a youth seminar in Harare yesterday, Minister Zhuwao failed to locate the Command Agriculture Programme within Zim-Asset, Government’s economic blueprint, as he accused us of promoting the programme at the expense of Zim-Asset.
What made Minister Zhuwao’s howler even more regrettable is that it came at a time his principal, President Mugabe is addressing nationwide Youth Interface Rallies appraising youths on Government policies including the highly successful Command Agriculture Programme.
Minister Zhuwao claimed our positive coverage of Command Agriculture was aimed at enhancing the political career of an unnamed individual. We have news for him. We report on Command Agriculture not because it uplifts any individual but because it is a highly successful Government programme that uplifts the nation.
If Command Agriculture can be accused of uplifting anyone, then it uplifts the originator of the idea First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, it uplifts and speaks to the vision of the author of Zim-Asset who is President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and uplifts the Government he leads in the eyes of the governed.
What is ironic is that Minister Zhuwao accuses us of what he is guilty of: Trashing Command Agriculture in the belief it promotes the profile of VP Emmerson Mnangagwa who was assigned by President Mugabe to supervise the programme in his capacity as chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food and Nutrition.
Minister Zhuwao also had the temerity to accuse our editor-in-chief of posing as the repository of ideas. While we concede that being an editor does not suggest a monopoly of knowledge, we find it very disturbing that a Member of Parliament who is also a minister in Government shows such appalling ignorance of policy.
Minister Zhuwao appears to be hostage to his own erroneous interpretation of Command Agriculture to the extent that he does not see Command Agriculture as Government policy, but a means to an end in the calculus of succession politics.
This is quite regrettable.
On our part, we see Command Agriculture as evidence of visionary leadership, far-sighted leadership that sees beyond the transient politics of succession.
It, however, is not lost to us that if Minister Zhuwao had a constituency, he would probably be in touch with the pro-Command Agriculture sentiment in the countryside in light of the bumper harvest that will see the country harvesting over four million tonnes in food crops according to the latest crop assessment.
But because he deservedly lost his constituency to Cde Francis Mukwangwariwa, Minister Zhuwao appears to have equally abdicated his responsibility to the rural poor who stand to benefit from Command Agriculture.
We advise him, in his own interest, that those who want to have long careers in politics must know that the power brokers in Zimbabwe are the farmers in the countryside.
But expecting Minister Zhuwao to comprehend this requires a massive leap of faith given that he is the same minister who prompted President Mugabe to issue a statement on April 11 last year clarifying Government’s position on the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Policy after successive howlers!
Well, we know the politics that Minister Zhuwao was following prior to being brought back into line!