MEET OUR PIONEERS
AAG founding executive in 1994
Dr. Phillip Chiyangwa – President
Mr Peter Pamire – First Vice-President in charge of treasury affairs
Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele – Second Vice-President in charge of business and policy affairs
Non-Office Bearers on the Executive
Ms Cathy Chityo-Msipa
Mr Saviour Kasukuwere
Ms Sandra Hungwe
Seven national co-ordinators
Mr Ned Nedziwe – Economic Affairs and Security
Mr Larry Mavhima – Trade and International Affairs
Dr G. A Vera – Social Services and Community Development
Ms Abigail Magwenzi – Women’s Affairs and Information
Mr C. Manhombo – Natural Resources
Mr Stephen Mapupu – Legal and Administration
Mr Sydney Musoni – Finance
-President Emmerson Mnangagwa
The 1980 misnomer: Political independence without economic independence
When Zimbabwe attained political independence on 18 April, 1980, the government inherited an economy that was skewed in favour of the white minority led by multinational companies that dominated most industries.
Before the attainment of independence, the colonial regime enacted laws, like the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 and the Land Tenure Act of 1969 that divided the country on racial lines with white Rhodesians being the main beneficiaries. As a result, blacks were discriminated against in terms of employment, skills development, ownership and control of businesses.
The racially discriminatory policies even saw blacks being denied access to basic social and physical infrastructures. These policies ensured that blacks were temporary residents in urban areas with their main purpose being to provide labour for white industries. Some of the blacks were employed as domestic workers for white families.
As for farming, black people were removed from their ancestral land and were pushed to areas whose soils were not fertile for commercial farming. In addition, blacks were denied access to loans from financial institutions to venture into any business.
With regards to the economy, multinational companies such as Unilever, Coca Cola, Anglo-American, Union Carbide, Old Mutual and Standard Chartered Bank among others dominated the market.
As a result of these pro-white policies, when Zimbabwe attained political independence in 1980, blacks lagged behind in terms of social and economic development. The new government took over a society that was divided and in which the socio-economic structure was characterised by gross inequalities. It was clearly evident that the new government was inheriting an economy that was meant to serve the needs of the white minority, leaving the majority blacks on the periphery of the country’s economic activities.
While there was jubilation in 1980 because independence had brought majority rule and political self-determination, economically, the country was still being run by white multinational companies that showed no appetite to share the economic cake with the indigenous business people. Resultantly, economic prosperity remained a pipedream for many indigenous people.
Research showed that these policies of racial segregation resulted in low levels of black participation in the economy, with estimates showing that the about four percent white population at the attainment of independence was controlling over 90 percent of the national economy while blacks who constituted 96 percent of the population was in control of a mere 10 percent of the economy.
There was a strong feeling among black entrepreneurs that political independence was not enough as it had not brought the economic fortunes that they envisaged.
After noticing this glaring anomaly, the Zanu-PF government enunciated a policy of growth with equity to overcome the economic imbalance. The thinking was that this policy would counterbalance white and foreign ownership and control of the economy thereby increasing the participation of blacks in the national economy.
This was in keeping with Zanu-PF’s ideology of socialism where the government increased minimum wages, subsidised parastatals, expanded the education and health services and launched an agricultural resettlement scheme based on the willing-seller-willing-buyer policy from 1980 to 1990.
The government embarked on a deliberate exercise to create a national bourgeoisie led by black entrepreneurs. In a bid to ensure that it retained control of the economy, government came up with public enterprises such as the Minerals Marketing Corporation, (MMCZ) and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, (ZMDC) that were created with the intention to dilute the dominance of foreign interests in the mining sector.
On the business side, the government established the Industrial Development Corporation, whose main purpose was to increase government ownership and control of the private sector.
In addition, the government increased the state enterprise sector as it intensified its redistribution policies to empower the black majority. Research indicate that at independence the government inherited a portfolio of 20 state-owned companies and 15 parastatals and by 1990, the portfolio had been increased to 40 state-owned companies and 15 parastatals.
The government used state enterprises and parastatals as a means to intervene in the social and economic sectors of the economy.
However, despite all these efforts multinational companies refused to warm up to the efforts by the government to increase the participation of blacks in the economy and by 1990, nothing much had happened to change the economic landscape in the country.
This gave birth to the indigenisation and economic empowerment crusade that was started by the Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC) and later the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) which was formed in 1994.