Zimbabwe’s Indigenization policy is untenable

It is noble. But sucked in serious confusion based on the following reasons: While meant to equip young people with economic responsibility in shaping their future and that of the country, the indigenization policy, as it stands, does the opposite. What is termed economic empowerment is economic dis-empowerment. You cannot talk of empowerment without instilling responsibility in the minds of those being empowered.

Dishing out free monies or other resources to young people, actually, empowers the benefactor—not the beneficiaries. Those young people become subservient to the person handing out free monies. So that the benefactor gets empowered, instead. The young people actually find themselves idolizing the benefactor. It does not matter whether the philanthropist comes from some Non Governmental Organization or that the government minister is involved. The undeniable reality is that the philanthropist becomes idolized, due to his/her free handouts whilst those young people serve the needs of the benefactor. This is as goes the saying: He who pays the piper calls the tune.

What remains unclear to me is whether the proponents of the indigenization policy are driven by the desire to empower youths, or simply by the desire to keep them in docile condition. I would forgive such government officials, if honestly caught up in dearth of knowledge. However, if theirs is to manipulate and use such young people for political expediency, then we have a problem that remains, until such political system is replaced by a saner governing system. This article seeks to guide those genuinely in need of adopting workable solutions towards true economic empowerment.

True Economic Empowerment implies equipping the youths with the ability to utilize whatever the resources they have at their disposal. Such resources could be in the form of talents, effects of educational achievements or any other suitable entrepreneurial skills. The reason why the economic empowerment policy should focus on youths is in consideration of them being the vanguards of the future generations. The elderly people could also take advantage, but it is the youth that need to be encouraged to take more responsibility.

The wrong view has always been to suppose that indigenization means taking over the existing businesses from the so-called white settlers, regarded as superior to blacks. The correct view should be to come up with innovations that replace the existing business concerns and be in control of general survival in Zimbabwe. This is not suggesting that the youths should supervise the elderly people. But that they should take control of the economy, as being able to look after the elderly people.

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What, with our universities churning out thousands of graduates every year; yet without anything to show for the production of such levels of education? Where are our graduates? They are mostly in Diaspora, lamenting about lack of employment in their own country and blaming those in authority. This is as they were taught that survival implies worrying about food and acquiring basic necessities of life.

They were taught to submit to being effect, rather than being cause of good things in their own country. They were taught to blame others, rather than blame themselves for all wrongs in their own country. They were not told that there is no value in blaming other people for what needs to be corrected. The sustainable economic empowerment should only be about taking full responsibility.

This is like taking full responsibility to remove some heap of dirt, where everyone else neglects doing so. It also means asking oneself what one has to offer to fill up the gap on what is required in that surrounding. And do so without worrying about how much one gets out of doing so. This is like those who took up arms to fight for the liberation of this country. They volunteered to venture into unpredictable outcomes of war, without necessarily worrying about immediate gains. They had vision. Our youths should pick up the mettle from where the war veterans left and move forward.

This is not intended to suggest that the former liberation fighters were necessarily better than the current youths. The current breed of youths reflect the calibre of their fathers. This is about encouraging the youths to take up the responsibility to change the situation for the better. It is not necessary to sing about heroism of yesteryear, but extremely necessary to aim for heroism of today.

Our youths need to be guided to appreciate that empowerment is not about self-gratification. Currently, our Universities serve to provide suitable manpower to other countries. That behaviour is viewed by many as projecting intelligence and wisdom. But I am obsessed in lamenting the foolishness of such misguided behaviour.

No foolishness can actually surpass the folly of taking comfort in joining the chorus of those lampooning one’s own country. All because of satisfaction in fringes offered for own benefits? Those nations had their own heroes who developed their economies. How can we help the so-called economic refugees realize their apparent deep-seated folly?

Self-centred people suppose that wisdom is about catering for own selfish needs, without bothering with what happens to other people. However, wisdom is about providing for the needs of other people. Being committed in service, more than worrying about being served. The problem with self-centredness is that human’s wants are insatiable. Such people die without ever achieving the satisfaction that they desire.

Nevertheless, those thinking about giving value to their own countryman, can receive sufficient accolades from their peers. They become the foundation of better things to come. They become heroes in the making. This happens to be my own definition of true indigenization and empowerment, which, if adopted, brings in a new civilization.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.