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Govt offside on land, diamonds

We as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have always said that the Zanu PF government is no longer fit to govern and should resign. We have also consistently and correctly maintained that Zanu PF has neither capacity nor competence to run this economy and that as long as they are in power, with Robert Mugabe as the head of state, Zimbabwe will remain in the mire.

Tongai Matutu

Walter CHIDHAKWA (2)

To those who think that Zanu PF is capable of reform and consider that it must be supported in its reengagement efforts pursuant to Lima 2015, they must wake up to the hard realities. There can never be reforms without reformers and democrats.

There are no reformers and democrats in Zanu PF.

The publication of the General Notice 34 of 2016 in last Friday’s Government Gazette, in which the government compulsorily acquired 15 pieces of commercial land in the name of land reform is simply not acceptable, sustainable and detrimental to efforts of attracting investors.

The land reform commenced in February 2000 and by 2006 more than 11 million hectares of land had been acquired with more than 300 000 families resettled on the land. In our view, the land reform was effectively over and what remained were the issues of tenure, multiple farm ownership, compensation and so forth.

That 16 years later the land reform is still continuing is unacceptable and counter developmental. There is no reform or revolution that is permanent; parameters must be drawn to put an end to it.

It is apparent that Zanu PF must stop these continued farm invasions, which are in effect undermining property rights, in order to attract investors into the economy. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and there is need for robust policy interventions so as to attract investment in this crucial sector. In our view, the current acquisitions, though done in terms of the law are illegitimate and unproductive to the economy.

The second issue that concerns us is the forced closure of the diamond firms by the Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa over disagreements on a merger which the government was pushing for. While it is common cause that the companies operating in Marange have been responsible for large scale looting of our national resources and thus depriving Zimbabweans of the much needed resources for development, they did so with the express blessing of the same government which today is crying foul.
Since 2009, the nine companies operating in the Marange diamond fields have been exporting diamonds collectively worth US$2 billion annually but the government which had 50% stake in these firms ironically received less than US$300 million in revenue. This is criminal and unacceptable.

As PDP we are further aware that the companies also committed shocking human rights atrocities on the poor people of Marange, murdering them in cold blood, razing down their houses and damaging their environment without compensation.

However, as the PDP, we also believe in the rule of law which demands that there be fairness and just administrative conduct in respect of the principal of the right to be heard. One just can not wake up and announce the closure of a company, it is illegal and immoral. There are many issues to be considered such as benefits to workers and environmental restoration which the companies will get away with given the drastic action by the government.

During the happy days of the diamond operations the ordinary people suffered and it is again sad that as the cozy relationship has turned sour, it is again the people who suffer.

The above decisions confirm beyond the iota of doubt that Zanu PF has no national vision and is incapable of pushing for reforms.

As the PDP we once again make the call for the establishment of the national transitional authority. It is the only hope for Zimbabwe to provide a soft landing for the people after years of ruinous Zanu PF rule and also a guard against an implosion which is becoming highly likely given the toxic politics of ethnicity, hate and violence which Zanu PF has upped.

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