Zimbabwe empowerment schemes fail to take off
from REGERAI PEPUKAI in Masvingo, Zimbabwe
MASVINGO – ALL Community Share Ownership Trust Schemes the Zimbabwe Government aimed at empowering locals have collapsed as a result of insufficient funding, power struggles and mismanagement of projects.
President Robert Mugabe launched the schemes two years ago amid pomp and fanfare, most from villagers anticipating an improvement in the economic and social fortunes.
During the launches, companies pledged $1 million into the trust funds to kick start the trusts.
A couple of years later, the schemes appear doomed.
“These trusts no longer exist because they just died the very day they were established,” Deputy Minister of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment, Mathias Tongofa.
“In Masvingo for example there is nothing. Only the name “Masvingo community share ownership scheme” is there.
“The situation is the same in most parts of the country save for a few communities that are deriving benefits from the scheme, “said the Deputy Minister.
Although Tongofa did not mention names, he said in most cases the trust funds collapsed due to power struggles and at times failure to properly engage companies that were involved in the project.
He said his ministry was in the process of taking stock of what was behind the collapse of the schemes.
“We are establishing at the moment what has been going on and rectify the situation where it is possible,” he said.
The Community Share Ownership Trust Schemes are the brainchild of President Robert Mugabe.
The scheme encouraged companies to plough back a share of their profits into the communities in which they operated.
Companies were supposed to release funds into the community share ownership trust fund.
The money released into the fund was supposed to be used for developmental projects by the community.
It emerged some people thrust into the leadership of the trust funds wanted the money for the scheme to be used for political programmes hence some of the companies pulled out of the projects in protest.
It is also understood that the companies that made pledges during the official launch of the trust funds had backtracked after learning that only politicians had been named as trustees.
In Masvingo companies like Tongaat Hulett, Bikita Minerals, Murowa Diamonds, Renco Mine, among others had pledged funding but pulled out.
“We heard that the funds would be used to oil political programmes at the expense of helping the real communities hence we just pulled out, “said t a company official.
Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Francis Nhema, confirmed the problems and said were underway.
“We are investigating the operations of all these community share ownership schemes because we have learnt that communities have not benefitted anything. Some are even in that dark that such schemes exist in their communities.
– CAJ News
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