Friday, August 26, 2011

Of Indigenisation and Sudden Death

I have been away and back again. My wife and I spent time in the UK and in Crete. It was an awesome holiday and I use the word awesome in its proper context. I learned so much from my son who has learned that a fulfilling life is far better than a pot of money, but he has also learned that you need enough money to enjoy a fulfilling life. Crete was an experience for an African like me with so little experience of how other people live and work.

Of course everyone we met wanted to know how we still managed to live in Zimbabwe. Travel always broadens the mind and enables one to think about life in a far better perspective. The answer is that compared with other countries of this world, Zimbabwe is quite acceptable as a life for me and my wife, though it may not be for many others – particularly the poor black people who are subjected to hateful, spiteful and terrifying acts committed on them by the few highly privileged people who believe that Zimbabwe belongs to them and them alone.

The worst of life for us is the electricity load shedding which is frustrating in its randomness and maddening in its frequency. If it was equally shared between all it would be less irritating and less maddening. Last week our home was subjected to eighty-six and a half hours of load shedding while others I know were not subjected to a single minute. It all depends, it seems, on who lives in your street or zone that might be considered a ‘VIP’.

We learned this last week when Rex Nhongo alias Solomon Mujuru was found burned to death in his farmhouse in Beatrice when the authorities reported that he should have electricity because he had a direct line into the local substation. Rex Nhongo was a guerrilla who at the onset of independence was given the job of commander of the Army. I met him once – summoned to tell him about a management programme that we were running. He wanted to enrol his senior officers. I told him that the programme was for commerce and industry, not the military. He responded by telling me that that was exactly why he wanted his officers to attend because there was no more need for a massive army in the peace that reigned in the country and his officers needed to leave the army and get out into commerce and industry. We ended up training 30 of his officers – some of whom are still in the Army at very senior level, some of whom are in business and many of whom have long since died.

There are hundreds of questions about Nhongo’s death. Was he murdered? The few facts that we know suggest that this is very likely, but the burning question is who would have done it. He was a threat to some people in the ZANU PF hierarchy, principally because he was a ‘dove’ and the ‘hawks’ are trying hard to reign supreme. But he was also involved in diamond mining and there is a red-hot story – a true one at that – that his partner was killed in a road accident the week before. And we all know the diamond finds in this country in the last couple of years have spawned a breed of unparalleled selfish and greedy people.
As for the rest of the politics – it meanders on and on. Saviour Kasukewere – who would appear to be Zimbabwe’s answer to South Africa’s Julius Malema, is very busy stirring the indigenisation pot, demanding that the three remaining international banks submit their indigenisation plans within seven days or they will be forfeited to the state. Gideon Gono, for all his miscalculations of the now hardly remembered years of hyper-inflation, is aware of what such an act will do to the teetering economy and is trying to regain him in. But will he? Will the international banks call Kasukewere’s bluff? The International banks have little to lose but the people who work for them here have everything to lose and the depositors will be jittery at best, in panic mode at worst.

While this bumbles along Jacob Zuma is said to be getting very tired of Zimbabwe politics. Aren’t we all!