Matabeleland region never enjoyed the fruits of independence

The Matabeleland region has been a victim of well-orchestrated strategy of alienation, subjugation, under development and economic strangulation. This can be traced back to the first 7 years after the independence, period 1980 – 1987. The Zimbabwe economic history began with the transition to majority rule in 1980 and Britain’s ceremonial granting of independence. The new government under Prime Minister Robert Mugabe promoted socialism, partially relying on international aid and sang equality for all. The new regime inherited one of the most structurally developed economies and effective state systems in Africa. The government propagated a whole range of new economic policies, introducing a minimum wage and virtually eliminating the right to fire workers, total spending on education nearly tripled (from Z$227.6 million to Z$628.0 million), as did government spending on healthcare (from Z$66.4 million to Z$188.6 million), between 1979 and 1990, The new government maintained much of this intervention such as restricting the use of foreign currencies, whilst increasing taxation and government spending to reduce poverty and inequality.

Matabeleland suffers vindictiveness and lags behind from the onset

Despite all this rapid growth experienced by the country, Matabeleland remained stagnated and plagued by indiscriminate violence against citizens, crimes reported during early 80s to mid-80s by some journalists, medical practitioners, missionaries were such as arbitrary searches, destruction of essential infrastructure, looting of shops, rape, torture and massacres and also denial of family members to bury or mourn their loved ones as the prize for defiance was death. A study by the Swedish government revealed that the period between 1980 – 1989 Zimbabwe had 4500 primary schools, a number of high schools and colleges all over the country and the majority of these were in Mashonaland regions, one will argue that it is a reflection of demographic figures in Zimbabwe but empirical evidence proves that there are no colleges in Matabeleland region in particular in the northern parts of the province. It further gives credence that Matabeleland did not benefit from the rapid growth experience a few years post-independence and even up to date.

Inherited debt, lack of foresight and its implications

Moreover at Zimbabwe’s birth in 1980, the country inherited a $700 million debt from the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith. The loans had been used to buy weapons in the 1970s, breaking UN sanctions. The new government came under international pressure to take on the debt, whilst being promised over $2 billion by western governments for reconstruction and development. This debt grew through the 1980s due to drought, questionable development loans, and ‘aid’ loans from western governments tied to buying exports, including military aircraft. By 1990, to keep paying the debt, Zimbabwe had to take out bailout loans from the IMF and World Bank. In return, the economy was liberalized and public spending cut. Growth slowed, a trade deficit was created and poverty and unemployment increased. The government could have focused on beneficiation and value addition to produce primary products and created jobs than to get loans to purchase military aircrafts and falling for economic structural adjustments programmes.

The lost plot and betrayal

Between 1981 – 1989 the Zimbabwean received 14 banks loans and four Infrastructure Development Aid credits, totaling to US$ 657 million, US$51million towards agriculture, what comes to mind is the drought of 1982 -84 what happened to the loan if people starved with such huge sums of aid meant food and agriculture. The other US$136 million was meant to support the rehabilitation and expansion of exports. US$ 141 million was channeled to the transport sector and again I wonder if the region benefited from the funding since many roads and transport infrastructure has not been developed since independence. In my view I think this where the government lost the plot to believe the British. This also speaks to complicit of the British in Gukurahundi massacres. One begins to suspect that parts of the loans were used to fund the militia announced by the then prime minister to combat malcontents in Matabeleland regardless of the claims made by the then minister of state who told parliament that North Korea had given Zimbabwe a grant of 12.5 million pounds towards purchase of military hardware. Perhaps these are loans that are still hanging on Zimbabweans people necks that came guised as grants and have ballooned into billions of dollars. My conclusion is that loans that were taken by the government did not benefit the region; instead it appears they were used to fund the war against defenseless citizens. Up to date the region still suffers from underdevelopment and it is feeling the pinch of the debt that never brought positive change to their lives. For example schools and other infrastructure were destroyed during the period under review when loans and development aid was flowing to the Zimbabwean government.

Display of dwarfism, wrong turn and foolishness

The government of Zimbabwe was also fooled by the UK which gave ‘aid’ loans and tied Zimbabwe to buy products from British companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse. I find this as absurdity at its highest level that the government was that drunk to accept such an offer and it even borrowed money to fund planting of tress from the World Bank, so that local people could use cheaper wood rather than expensive coal, what if the government had borrowed to increase coal production. And having planted the trees the government discovered that locals already had plenty of wood. What a sick joke is this. The UK backed further loans for the Zimbabwean government to buy British made Hawk aircraft and the government accepted, which were later used in the war in Congo in 1998 which also contributed in the destruction of the economy. This proves beyond reasonable doubt the cluelessness of our government since independence, some decisions did not need advice from a rocket scientist not be made. It is just exhibition of foolishness and lack of foresight albeit with such high literacy rate that Zimbabweans flaunts everywhere. Interestingly since 1980 Zimbabwe has been lent $8 billion but repaid $11 billion. Despite this it is still said today to have a debt in excess of $7 billion, from loans for structural adjustment to Land Rovers and planting trees. In addition, research by various organizations indicates that the Zimbabwean government has been in default on most of its debt owed to the rest of the world, currently estimated to be around US$7 billion. Like seriously, to be a country notoriously known for defaulting when it is richly endowed with natural resources and even alluvial diamond that were discovered lately, how embarrassing.

It is our time to be the beacons of hope

This is the moment for people in Matabeleland to converge and begin to find lasting solutions to socio- economic and political problems that are bedeviling the region. There is need to work together and create opportunities for the young generation to empower themselves and take the region forward since the old generation has failed. Skills development will be useful for the youths to create their own jobs and have their own wealth. Matabeleland business people both local and beyond the borders must find ways support with seed capital so that youths do not end up being used by selfish politicians and other soulless infidels whilst begging for capital to start their initiatives. There is also the need to identity ways that can support the education for those that have the potential to be game changers in the communities. And lastly civic education on socio- economic and political rights remains an integral tool for critical conscientization.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com

Twitter:  @mdladlaspeaks

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Xenophobia attacks – a tragedy failure of African leadership

First and foremost I condemn the killing of human beings, committing of other heinous crimes   and deplore such barbaric acts in South Africa. However I have decided to take a breath and reflect on what could be the other problem that has led to xenophobia in South Africa. A brother turning against a brother though we have seen genocides and murdering of innocent civilians for holding a different view on socio- economic and political issues  and civil wars that have left trails of destruction and a  number of families broken in some African countries and my country included. My conviction is that human beings are not born with hate or anger. I am of the conviction that society teaches us to hate or love, our experiences also influence our behaviors and attitudes.

The xenophobic attacks are an indicator of tragedy failure of those entrusted with the mandate to lead the continent from its many abyss.  The continent has failed to make an effort to create many centers of economic power like other continents have done. A glance in Asia shows that Asians do not flock all of them to Hongkong, they have other Asian tigers; Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea. In Europe, people do not flock enmasse to London in UK, they have Germany, France, Italy and others. In America people do not flock to enmasse to USA some go to Canada, Brazil, Argentina and others but when you look in Africa its South Africa, Johannesburg to be precise.   Now Africa and perhaps the world have turned the African problem into a South African problem but no all Africans are in complicit. We must own up as Africans.

Look at Zimbabwe had she not destroyed what she inherited from the Smith regime people could be flocking to the country to look for opportunities. Statistics are available to support the number of people who came to Zimbabwe to look for opportunities soon after independence when the economy was at its rapid growth. The pressure could have been reduced in South Africa. If other regions had embraced democracy though foreign as people argue; a semblance of stability was going to be realized.  If countries like Libya had embraced political freedoms perhaps we could be far as a continent. If we had not involved ourselves into wars and killings each other through genocides in Rwanda, Zimbabwe and dealt with avoidable civil wars perhaps we could be far. Today it seems there is sudden shift and people are preaching brotherhood after so many years of merciless of killing each other. Are people suddenly becoming real. Is this the real radical transformation that will value human life forever? It is now Africa renaissance or its just pretense, have people now learnt that human rights are universal regardless of race, creed, sex and tribe. I hope it is not our usual hypocrisy that when we err and others make an effort to correct us we hide behind the neo-colonization mantra and argue African solutions to African problems.

Michael Mdladla Ndiweni  aka Rebel 33

Boycotting Bignuz does not solve our problems it only halts the attacks.

While I do not condone the killing of a human being by another and as such my heart bled when I saw the report of the two Ethiopians who were locked in container and burnt and other graphic images circulating in the social media. At the same time while empirical evidence  show that we helped black South Africans through ZAPU  to fight the  racist apartheid regime so that they enjoy the hard work of the Boers who had put in place very good infrastructure.  These barbaric xenophobic attacks got me reflecting on Zimbabweans becoming economic refugees due to the running down of once a jewel of Africa by the current regime and as such the pain that my brothers and sisters are going through and I included. Maybe my views will make me lose some friends but that is how I view the saga that has been unfolding since the  2008 attacks.

Perhaps it will give us more energy to come home and deal with our problems and begin to rebuild the tattered Zimbabwe. To me the Nyovest, Big nuz are just small boys and we are aiming at the wrong people, boycotting the show will not aid our economy to create or help create an environment conducive to create our own jobs but speaking to the ills, excesses of the current regime and the regime owning up by fixing the economy so that our brothers do not flock to South Africa to work as slaves emakhishini and firms and paying the highest prize of  a  failed regime.

And while boycotting the show will rally the local and international community to put pressure on SA to put measures in place to halt xenophobic attacks but it will not solve our problems/ challenges.  This has become a latent conflict that will periodically reoccur and there is need for serious introspection as a country to try to find solutions to our myriad of problems and one of those if acknowledgment of failure then building a an inclusive national consensus on the way forward.

I am alive to the fact that human beings will continue to migrate to other countries to look for greener pastures but ours are no longer even green that is the reason why people are crossing the border enmasse and other scaling the fence to South Africa. I was happy that the president of the country admitted for the first time that there is problem in the country during the press brief in Union Buildings.

A friend of mine had this to say on the issue “It was justified and still is justified when Zimbabweans chased out/beat up white farmers whose forefathers where born in this country because of the color of their skin. Just a few days a go the very leader of Zimbabwe expressed his racist tendencies when he said he doesn’t want sight of a white man near him. If this xenophobia fight is purely about human rights and dignity then I believe charity begins at home”

Matabeleland region never enjoyed the fruits of independence

The Matabeleland region has been a victim of well-orchestrated strategy of alienation, subjugation, under development and economic strangulation. This can be traced back to the first 7 years after the independence, period 1980 – 1987. The Zimbabwe economic history began with the transition to majority rule in 1980 and Britain’s ceremonial granting of independence. The new government under Prime Minister Robert Mugabe promoted socialism, partially relying on international aid and sang equality for all. The new regime inherited one of the most structurally developed economies and effective state systems in Africa. The government propagated a whole range of new economic policies, introducing a minimum wage and virtually eliminating the right to fire workers, total spending on education nearly tripled (from Z$227.6 million to Z$628.0 million), as did government spending on healthcare (from Z$66.4 million to Z$188.6 million), between 1979 and 1990, The new government maintained much of this intervention such as restricting the use of foreign currencies, whilst increasing taxation and government spending to reduce poverty and inequality.

Matabeleland suffers vindictiveness and lags behind from the onset
Despite all this rapid growth experienced by the country, Matabeleland remained stagnated and plagued by indiscriminate violence against citizens, crimes reported during early 80s to mid-80s by some journalists, medical practitioners, missionaries were such as arbitrary searches, destruction of essential infrastructure, looting of shops, rape, torture and massacres and also denial of family members to bury or mourn their loved ones as the prize for defiance was death. A study by the Swedish government revealed that the period between 1980 – 1989 Zimbabwe had 4500 primary schools, a number of high schools and colleges all over the country and the majority of these were in Mashonaland regions, one will argue that it is a reflection of demographic figures in Zimbabwe but empirical evidence proves that there are no colleges in Matabeleland region in particular in the northern parts of the province. It further gives credence that Matabeleland did not benefit from the rapid growth experience a few years post-independence and even up to date.
Inherited debt, lack of foresight and its implications
Moreover at Zimbabwe’s birth in 1980, the country inherited a $700 million debt from the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith. The loans had been used to buy weapons in the 1970s, breaking UN sanctions. The new government came under international pressure to take on the debt, whilst being promised over $2 billion by western governments for reconstruction and development. This debt grew through the 1980s due to drought, questionable development loans, and ‘aid’ loans from western governments tied to buying exports, including military aircraft. By 1990, to keep paying the debt, Zimbabwe had to take out bailout loans from the IMF and World Bank. In return, the economy was liberalized and public spending cut. Growth slowed, a trade deficit was created and poverty and unemployment increased. The government could have focused on beneficiation and value addition to produce primary products and created jobs than to get loans to purchase military aircrafts and falling for economic structural adjustments programmes.
The lost plot and betrayal
Between 1981 – 1989 the Zimbabwean received 14 banks loans and four Infrastructure Development Aid credits, totaling to US$ 657 million, US$51million towards agriculture, what comes to mind is the drought of 1982 -84 what happened to the loan if people starved with such huge sums of aid meant food and agriculture. The other US$136 million was meant to support the rehabilitation and expansion of exports. US$ 141 million was channeled to the transport sector and again I wonder if the region benefited from the funding since many roads and transport infrastructure has not been developed since independence. In my view I think this where the government lost the plot to believe the British. This also speaks to complicit of the British in Gukurahundi massacres. One begins to suspect that parts of the loans were used to fund the militia announced by the then prime minister to combat malcontents in Matabeleland regardless of the claims made by the then minister of state who told parliament that North Korea had given Zimbabwe a grant of 12.5 million pounds towards purchase of military hardware. Perhaps these are loans that are still hanging on Zimbabweans people necks that came guised as grants and have ballooned into billions of dollars. My conclusion is that loans that were taken by the government did not benefit the region; instead it appears they were used to fund the war against defenseless citizens. Up to date the region still suffers from underdevelopment and it is feeling the pinch of the debt that never brought positive change to their lives. For example schools and other infrastructure were destroyed during the period under review when loans and development aid was flowing to the Zimbabwean government.
Display of dwarfism, wrong turn and foolishness
The government of Zimbabwe was also fooled by the UK which gave ‘aid’ loans and tied Zimbabwe to buy products from British companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse. I find this as absurdity at its highest level that the government was that drunk to accept such an offer and it even borrowed money to fund planting of tress from the World Bank, so that local people could use cheaper wood rather than expensive coal, what if the government had borrowed to increase coal production. And having planted the trees the government discovered that locals already had plenty of wood. What a sick joke is this. The UK backed further loans for the Zimbabwean government to buy British made Hawk aircraft and the government accepted, which were later used in the war in Congo in 1998 which also contributed in the destruction of the economy. This proves beyond reasonable doubt the cluelessness of our government since independence, some decisions did not need advice from a rocket scientist not be made. It is just exhibition of foolishness and lack of foresight albeit with such high literacy rate that Zimbabweans flaunts everywhere. Interestingly since 1980 Zimbabwe has been lent $8 billion but repaid $11 billion. Despite this it is still said today to have a debt in excess of $7 billion, from loans for structural adjustment to Land Rovers and planting trees. In addition, research by various organizations indicates that the Zimbabwean government has been in default on most of its debt owed to the rest of the world, currently estimated to be around US$7 billion. Like seriously, to be a country notoriously known for defaulting when it is richly endowed with natural resources and even alluvial diamond that were discovered lately, how embarrassing.
It is our time to be the beacons of hope
This is the moment for people in Matabeleland to converge and begin to find lasting solutions to socio- economic and political problems that are bedeviling the region. There is need to work together and create opportunities for the young generation to empower themselves and take the region forward since the old generation has failed. Skills development will be useful for the youths to create their own jobs and have their own wealth. Matabeleland business people both local and beyond the borders must find ways support with seed capital so that youths do not end up being used by selfish politicians and other soulless infidels whilst begging for capital to start their initiatives. There is also the need to identity ways that can support the education for those that have the potential to be game changers in the communities. And lastly civic education on socio- economic and political rights remains an integral tool for critical conscientization.
By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni
I write what I want – let’s get talking

Social indicators show governments` failure to deliver basic needs.

Accessible and affordable education
An assessment using social indicators in my view proves that the government of Zimbabwe has indeed failed to meet basic fundamental human needs. For example in the education sector, the Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare committee was informed in July 2014 by the principal director in the ministry that for BEAM the education ministry got $15 million instead of $73 million and the allocated budget assisted 83 000 against the targeted 250 000 vulnerable children. 167 000 children did not get support or access education and your guess is as good as mine on the fate of all these helpless children. The Committee was told that 75 percent of the more than two million people are in need of food aid and the government failed to provide assistance. I do want to talk about tuition fees paid by many young people at universities , education is now a privilege for the few not a right and some are even failing to supplement their ordinary due to unaffordability and others also it is lack of access as schools are sparsely populated.
Accessible and affordable health care
The healthcare has also failed to deliver accessible and affordability health service delivery. Giving birth in a government or municipal health facility costs between US$30 and US$50 per night and many people struggle to raise such huge amounts. These costs are prohibitive, leaving some women to give birth outside the health system and everyone knows the risks. In 2012 Parliament was informed that the maternal mortality ratio was 790 per 100 000 live births, compared with 390 per 100 000 in the 1990s. In the rural areas health facilities are sparsely populated, pregnant women walk long distances to receive pre-natal services and the chronically ill and the sick are also in the same predicament.
Clean water and sanitation
The conditions that allowed the cholera epidemic to flourish persist in Harare’s high-density suburbs and just a few weeks ago a cholera outbreaks was reported in Chiredzi district leading to temporary closure of port of entry. On 05 March 2015, 8 cholera cases were reported in Mudzi, Beitbridge and Chiredzi. Cities like Bulawayo and Gweru continue to face perennial water shortages and every year are marred with water shading. The government has not done anything meaningful to find a lasting solution to this problem save for efforts made during the inclusive government and other projects have stalled like the centenary Matabeleland Zambezi Water project.
Rights and protection
Various reports asserts that although cases of politically motivated murders have not been reported in 2014, but suspicious abductions and disappearances, torture and intimidation has been recorded raising fears from an ordinary persons to express themselves and exercise their political rights as the constitution guarantees those rights in chapter four. There are ongoing serious human rights abuses, including the selective application of the law, for example wanton land seizures from black indigenous locals in Matabeleland South guised as the land redistribution. There is also tight control of electronic media especially the public media. The government continues to stifle independency of the media and depriving citizens’ uncensored critical information on performance of government and its excesses.
Corruption levels
A massive corruption scourge continues to hamper meaningful development in the country as billions of dollars leak behind the scenes in the illegal sale of diamonds, other precious minerals and shady deals by some government officials. Zimbabwe was ranked 156 out of 175 highly corrupt countries in 2014 Global Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International. The political will has lacked from government to strengthen the Anti-Corruption Commission to fulfill its constitutional mandate.
Economic Activity
The informal has increased and no clear policy has been promulgated to deal with it. Threats deal with vendors from the central government and local governments have been an order of the day. The sector is ever increasing, many people are now into vending and trading imported cheap products. The government has failed to put measures in place to produce primary products. Income levels remain low and the largest employer the civil service has a ballooning wage bill of over 80% from total revenue and disposal incomes continue to dwindle as government has failed to make meaningful salary adjustments.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni