President Robert Mugabe’s most common message is a direct opposition of white superiority and a huge support for black empowerment. A lot of the policies he implements and a bulk of the addresses he gives even on the international stage show this out spectacularly.
At the 2016 United Nations General Assembly, for instance, he had blatantly blamed the West again for most of Zimbabwe’s woes, making reference to the sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the United States and its allies.
Beyond his often controversial statements and addresses on the note of the West’s role in Africa’s downfall, are a series of controversial laws that he implemented in his own country to transfer the control held by the country’s white minority to black Zimbabweans.
One of such black empowerment agenda’s was the indigenization law that required foreign-owned firms to transfer a majority of their shares to black Zimbabweans. President Mugabe, however, relented on that law last week, saying that his government would amend it.
Why is President Mugabe Weakening On His Black Empowerment Stance?
Mugabe’s waning stance is seen as needful to reassure investors who are steering clear of the country. It is also needed to clear the confusion over how government agencies should implement the indigenisation law. Also, it is easy to see why Mugabe, who is not normally considered circumspect, would change his stance on this issue of black empowerment that is very dear to his heart. Zimbabwe, simply put, is in dire economic straits.
The country is battling a drought that has severely affected agricultural production and affected the food security of over five million people. Anti-government protests continue to thrive, with civil servants and teachers sometimes refusing to work.
Over one-fifth of the population, currently, lives in extreme poverty and aid barely trickles into the country due to a lengthy isolation from the international community and high levels of corruption in the government.
It is, however, hard to cheer about these turn of events. Mugabe’s stance on black empowerment is one of the few things left to endear him to Africans who indeed feel cheated by the West and are in some ways right to feel so.
The President’s reluctant about turn shows how larger socio-economic and political problems work against any aggressive ‘take-back’ black empowerment schemes and eventually forces people to conform.
It is not enough to say, however, that the West was or is being unfair, as African governments with their penchant for corruption, Mugabe’s government included, have made a mockery of the struggles for black empowerment.