DISGRUNTLED Zanu PF youths and Manicaland residents have blasted the indigenisation programme spearheaded by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, describing it as a project meant to rob the nation of its resources by a few well-connected individuals at the expense of the majority.
The Zanu PF youths were particularly concerned by the alleged looting of diamonds in Chiadzwa by influential people from outside Manicaland while the public is not happy with the composition of the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust.
The secretary-general of Marange Youth Empowerment Trust, John Kaisi, who is a Zanu PF youth member, said the promises given to youths and people of Manicaland during the launch of the trust had come to naught.
The trust was launched by President Robert Mugabe at Gomorefu High School in Marange in June last year.
Youths and Manicaland residents in general were promised claims in Chiadzwa as part of initiatives to empower them.
“What is surprising and saddening is that we are suffering yet we have diamonds in our midst,” said an emotional Kaisi. “We do not have anything to talk about in terms of development here (in Manicaland), yet the diamonds are being taken by others from outside the province. Diamonds should benefit the whole province instead of a few individuals.”
Kaisi said indigenous people had not benefitted from the Marange diamonds which he said was against the spirit of indigenisation.
“We should also have a stake in the mining sector, but we have not been given the opportunity. That alone means that the indigenisation programme is fake,” he said. “How many indigenous people have benefitted so far? Is there anyone with genuine evidence to show us how they have benefitted from the indigenisation programme?”
Another youth member, Julia Gurure, who is facing difficulties in registering a mining claim in Penhalonga, said her experience had proved the indigenisation programme was a “farce”.
“We can’t talk of indigenisation without empowerment. Indigenisation without empowering the broad majority is a sham,” Gurure said.
While Zanu PF youths are angry over the lack of benefits from indigenisation, people from Manicaland are not happy with the trust which they feel is not representative, as it is dominated by those with Zanu PF links. The trust is composed of local government officials, traditional leaders and some community leaders handpicked by chiefs and local government officials.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Natural Resource Dialogue Forum (ZNRDF) has expressed concern at the secrecy surrounding the Marange-Zimunya Community Share-Ownership Trust, saying this could create a haven for looting.
In an interview, the Manicaland Co-ordinator for ZNRDF, Freeman Boso, said the secrecy had resulted in lack of transparency, accountability, and community participation in the trust’s activities.
Saviour Kasukuwere maintains the indigenisation programme would carry on despite allegations of corruption and growing criticism.