What I saw recently when I travelled to my rural area are vast tracks of unfarmed land, left unattended, by those who grabbed the farms and reaped where they did not sow. The results of the so-called land reform have been the underutilisation of our fundamental asset – land. Because our economy is agro-based, Zanu PF under the leadership of President Mugabe, prescribed the demise of our economy through the grabbing spree which even paralysed the once famous Kondozi farm. Most of these grabbers must have finally realised that they are not farmers after all. They thought farming was cheap.
Like the land reform, the indigenisation programme is noble but the only problem has to do with the handlers, most of whom disastrously mishandled the land reform project in 2000 when the madness began. Under such circumstances, one would think that we would tread carefully, so that we do not inflict more damage to our already stressed and battered economy.
But who cares? — President Mugabe allowed his lieutenants to grab the farms and loot the farming implements, in the hope that he wins their hearts. He is unwisely doing the same with the indigenisation programme. His cronies are now filthy rich and can afford to buy their way to electoral victory. For example, they can now ferry and feed their supporters for weeks on end so that they demonstrate against the so-called imposition of candidates in the ongoing DCC elections.
Having, on countless occasions, postponed the succession issue in his party, Mugabe is increasingly losing his grip. One is not sure whether the Mugabe we used to know is still in control of his party. Of course he once admitted that he is no longer listened to by his lieutenants. He also said he would not retire leaving his party in shambles.
If he is still listened to, let him compel Information minister Webster Shamu to implement a cabinet directive to dissolve the BAZ board and have it reconstituted properly. He should translate what he said on Independence Day into action.
The ongoing battle in Zanu PF pitting Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, if not handled properly, will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The two deny that they have presidential ambitions during the day, but during the night they are busy positioning themselves to take over.
These are the same people who confessed to successive US envoys that they wanted Mugabe to go. Surely the succession issue is going to have some ripple effect on Zanu PF survival. The only honourable way for Mugabe to correct the situation is to facilitate a smooth transfer of power if he loses the coming elections, which, unfortunately, looks very likely. This will also improve his chances of leaving the political stage with some dignity.
Mugabe still has a role to play for the future of our country. The choice is his to do what is right for the nation he helped liberate, or to please his ungrateful lieutenants at the expense of the majority. Whatever he chooses to do, history will judge him accordingly.