I admire Thabo Mbeki. Well, maybe he should have explained himself better about the link between poverty and AIDS. But on Zimbabwe, his views strike a chord. Isn’t there an aphorism that says “better late than never.” President Mugabe may have had other motivations for his indigenization policy. Focusing on his motivation misses the point. Like the former South African president said on 23 August 2013; quoting the New African magazine: “I think we should ask ourselves the question: why is Zimbabwe such a major issue for some people? Zimbabwe is a small country by any standard; there is no particular reason why Zimbabwe should be a matter which the New York Times, the London Guardian and whoever else…why are they paying so much attention to Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe is blazing the trail on resource ownership. It is the one African country that is likely to succeed in turning the tables on how Africans benefit from their resources. Mbeki makes the point that Zimbabwe’s likely success is going to set a precedence that tips the balance in favour of Africa. President Mugabe is not a saint. He’s been in power too long some would argue. But on indigenization, let the powers that be shout all they want. President Mugabe has my respect.
Zimbabwe would likely account for at least 25% of the world’s diamond production according to some accounts. The authorities’ definition of natural resources is a radical but welcome shift. I won’t state the definition here. Go and check that for yourself. What I can definitely tell you is that even the air in Zimbabwe belong to its indigenous people by law! About time. Ghana is not likely to benefit significantly from its oil for a while because of the concessions it granted the companies exploring its oil. African nations in their eagerness to attract investment all but give everything away as if FDI is empathetic capital. People with money are some of the most rational people there are. Let the resources stay in the ground if you can’t find a fair investor. It is not like those other African countries who have extracted theirs have benefited much from it.
Quoting President Mbeki again from the New African article; “As you can see, I get very, very agitated about Zimbabwe, because it’s very, very clear that the offensive against Zimbabwe is an offensive against the rest of the continent…that offensive is not in the first instance about Zimbabwe, it’s about the future of our continent.” Africans should all be agitated.