Home » Governance » Musings On ‘Bad Boy’ Kasukuwere

Before writing this piece, I had been thinking of remarking on the unhealthy obsession that some of us, especially in the media and politics, have with personalities rather than issues and content.Part of this obsession has been with other people’s health — a kind of hypochondria or worse. And incidentally over the weekend we received the sad story of the affliction of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

Of course, in our inordinate focus on his nemesis, President Mugabe’s health, we may have wrongly assumed that Tsvangirai never fell ill or would succumb to the worst.

It is to be sincerely hoped that Mr Tsvangirai gets well soon. Otherwise, life goes on. Talking of the politics of personalities, one name that comes to mind readily is that of Saviour Kasukuwere.

Kasukuwere is the former Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment which oversaw the policy supposed to see indigenous Zimbabweans owning a majority stake of economic activity through ownership and control.

Kasukuwere has not been the darling of those opposed to the policy of indigenisation, both in its letter and its spirit.

His “crime” has been demonstrated as having been too “combative” or “aggressive” or “hardline” in implementing — well, before he was reassigned — the indigenisation policy and law.

His critics are not content that he has been assigned to another ministry but seem to have a particular nose for his blood for his unforgivable sins of the past.

His cause has not been helped by the emergence of ready and loose fratricidal canons from his camp.

Here are some of the headlines and titbits from stories in the “independent” media and a particular paper which seems to have a special brief with the hapless Kasukuwere:

“Mugabe exposes Kasukuwere” was the headline of a story on Monday in which we are told that changes to the indigenisation law “has left former minister of Indigenisation, Saviour Kasukuwere with egg on his face.”

In the stories announcing the changes, the person of Dr Gideon Gono, who was once involved in what should have been academic verbal sparring with Kasukuwere, is resurrected not only as having the last laugh at the expense of Kasukuwere but also the whole indigenisation policy.

Among his many “sins”, Kasukuwere pursued a “hard stance” and “was aggressively pursuing the policy, in a wayward manner viewed as trying to curry favour with Mugabe, disregarding experts’ aice” and he “refused to exempt sensitive sectors like banking”, the paper tells us.

“But his successor, Francis Nhema, like former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono, ruled out the ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy that Kasukuwere wrongly pushed for.”

Kasukuwere, it is added in another piece, proposed “ill-considered empowerment policies”.

On April 27, this one relentless paper said the indigenisation policy was “negatively popularised by the then combative indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere”.

The hard-working paper has in the recent past had headlines such as, “Kasukuwere in trouble” (May 12) “Is the jury out on Kasukuwere?”(April 8) and “Kasukuwere dishonest — Analysts” (April 6).

We are helpfully told in one of these stories that “Kasukuwere is like a man who has just had a night dominated by black cats.”

We presume it must be a bad omen.

Other major papers have been less industrious, but not lost to the vile persona of Kasukuwere.

One announced that there was “Joy as Kasukuwere is demoted” (September 13, 2013).

The reason was given as that employees at the NIIEB “detested his abrasive management style” and he was also “combative and excitable”.

“The minister was involved in several confrontations during his tenure as Indigenisation minister, with the most notable being his fallout with Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono over company seizures,” noted the paper.

If you do not pity poor Saviour, you indeed must detest him.

Perhaps he deserves it.

If this is true, it needs to be interrogated what Kasukuwere has stood for, and made to stand for, in order to examine the devil that he is.

Let’s grant it that he is no saint or saviour — no pun intended — as he may or may not be found wanting, just like the rest of us, in some respect or the other.

It must be stated from the outset that Kasukuwere was charged with implementing a law that had been mooted in 2007 when one Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana was then Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment.

The law was of course passed by Parliament and assented to by President Mugabe on March 9, 2008 as is the case with all laws.

The indigenisation and economic empowerment drive was the logical continuation dubbed the Fourth and, according to some, Last Chimurenga.

It was supposed to be part of the continuum of liberation ethos of this country after Independence in 1980 and the land reform program in 2000.

The war of liberation and the land reform programme were headlined by force of arms in the former and popularity in the latter.

Kasukuwere must have wrongly taken cue from that. He thus became a devil incarnate.

It must be pointed out that the economy and such sectors as banks are “sensitive” and may require a different approach from the jambanja that we did on the farms.

Did Kasukuwere aocate for that kind of approach?

The honest answer is “No” or we should have seen some unruly mobs invading Barclays, Stanbic and Standard Chartered Banks demanding all cash and taking control of the institutions.

They didn’t.

Nor did they invade Old Mutual or Zimplats or Delta Beverages.

Workers at these big foreign corporations were not urged to skin their white managers alive or drive them to the sea.

Kasukuwere negotiated, badly or not, with foreign companies and came up with some deals and arrangements such as community and employee share ownership schemes.

He would take time to debunk some of the myths and fears around the policy at various forums, including his social media platforms.

What then was Kasukuwere’s crime?

Certainly not his robustness, which was, and is to be, expected of any revolutionary cadre. It would seem that his biggest problem lay in being the “wrong” man at the “wrong” time.

Kasukuwere was robust, unapologetic and revolutionary.

That was to be expected.

He thus became the face of indigenisation — a matter that is more existential than him or any person for that matter.

We all know how he has been excoriated. We saw and heard the celebrations that followed his reassignment.

This week we have just seen who is celebrating the “major climb down” on indigenisation.

What now has to be interrogated is the full import of such celebrations.

It becomes worrisome when enemies of total independence begin celebrating with you and echoes of such festivities go far and wide in the climes of former enslavers and colonisers.

The case may go deeper than “unpleasant” fellows such as Saviour Kasukuwere.

Source : The Herald