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Community Share Trusts: 'So what?' attitude at play

31 Oct 2014 at 14:06hrs | Views

Talk on Community Share Ownership Trusts has died away. And in the hope to re-awaken the once much talked about programme, Cde Robert Mugabe recently made the following statement, one more similar to many more made in foregone days.

"It is actually in our law to have these community trusts, we need our 10 percent. We will also look at companies that are refusing to comply. We can't be a country that have companies that just want to make profits, which just want to fulfil their tummies, make their 'top management happy'.

Look at these companies that claim they can't afford do it, look at their management; they have many cars, car for the husband and for the wife as well. This is money that is supposed to make people's lives better", so went the President's bidding.

In what seems a brazen portrayal of failure to regain possession of mineral wealth exploited in the country, Zimbabwe is slowly but surely losing track of its entitlement with the indigenization programme heading towards the disaster of a mere pronouncement with little to show.

This can be said comfortably noting that President Robert Mugabe has re-iterated on numerous platforms urging for the community share trusts' candid implementation across the board. What has followed his profuse promulgation has been a deafening silence and a stale reaction on the matter.

The targeted audience to his speeches appearing as if awaiting many more announcement before action.
To some more provable extent, subversion of constitutional mandates has dogged the projects' implementation.

Community Share Ownership Trusts are an intrinsic ingredient to the country's indigenization programme. They are premised on the national desire to 'share wealth'. To evenly distribute profits realized from the country's bountiful resources through commercial shareholding arrangements between communities and qualifying businesses.

The indigenization policy delineates 'qualifying businesses' as business entities exploiting resources in a chosen community. Businesses which meets standards to contribute to Community Share Ownership Trusts stipulated in the indigenization policy.

Community Share Trusts were launched by President Mugabe in 2012. The idea was to activate the indigenization programme through practical involvement of the formerly marginalized local Zimbabweans into the mainstream economic sphere. To facilitate for the creation of jobs and poverty eradication.

And if re-defined in the current lingual bias, community trusts' major contribution today should be to aid in the attainment of the four clusters outlined in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset). Aligning the concept to Zim-Asset, Indigenization and Empowerment falls in the Social Services and Poverty Eradication cluster. But the problem will remain being that of exporting and alienating Zim-Asset in the hope for external support to solely finance its required $27billion bailout.

With rural poverty believed to be at 76%, the major reasoning in 'trusts' concept was to excite Parallel Industrialization (PI) out of the full knowledge that resources, particularly minerals, are finite. The Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZIMSTAT) reveals poverty is worse in rural areas.

Although community share trusts have a direct focus towards rural development, many observe rural communities are being shortchanged as evidenced by a low compliance level shown in the statistics held by the National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB).

Vice President Mujuru over the past, also opined Zimbabwe had nothing to show for its diamond wealth yet foreigners were benefiting beyond measure. The Vice President said this after the country suddenly woke up to realize it had earned far less than the projected sales in Belgium's Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the United Arab Emirates' Dubai Diamond Exchange.
 

Children in a makeshift classroom: Education infrastructure in Zimbabwe's rural communities remain poor.


In the first quarter of the year, concerns were raised over diamond mining fields in Chiadzwa becoming saturated and mineral deposits getting depleted. The issue being mechanization related where a shift from concentration on alluvial diamond mining would be accelerated through a heavy investment in heavy equipment.

What followed was a call for an amalgamation of operators/ the elimination of a few to follow the Botswana example where Debswana is the sole miner with an absolved government partnership.

A move that many believes would circumvent the problem of 'money not going into national fiscus'. That hit a snag. That's how we saw its end and how we sanction social ills. But, the subject affects the entire citizenry. Wretched families leading unequivocally detestable lives in Marange, albeit amid plenty.
As a country we have groomed a somehow fractured monitoring system. A sapless legal framework that leaves perpetrators of social ill and plunders of national wealth dauntlessly asking, "So what?"

In the NGOs sector, projects are given a period of two years as a measure of 'sustainability' and relevance. A project that surpasses this period becomes more or less a liability. Two years down the line since their inception, we seem still struggling and caught up in the quick-sands of perennial conceptualization. The President's PI idea betrayed.

Without a strict monitoring mechanism, as a country, we will forever be unable to audit the value of our wealth and encourage full compliance to the programme as a backdrop for economic resuscitation and community self-reliance.

Exalted proficiency also has reduced us into mere critics of our own intellect. Misguided confrontation of negation to the President's recent China trip proved the fact. Where constructive dialogue around the move to source more funding would have been more helpful, we instead, as now per tradition, engaged in diatribes so political.

Indeed, mining companies are finding residence in the newly found weaknesses within country ranks when implementing enforced policies. The two years that sailed with non-serious legislative attachments to ensure compliance is heightened, companies continued with a careless attitude knowing no fate befalls them. All at the expense of the country's growth. It is now time for government to take a serious re-focus on the Community Share Ownership Trusts premising interventions on the full judicatory strength to save communities from extended suffering.

Zisunko Ndlovu is a Political writer and community development practitioner from Binga. Zisunko can be contacted at kubutonga@gmail.com


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Source - Zisunko Ndlovu
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