Source: The Herald
BEFORE he went silent after he was unceremoniously relieved of the presidency of the MDC-M, Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara was very vocal about the need to develop a national branding strategy and a common vision for Zimbabwe.

In fact, the DPM's office had advertised tenders for the setting up of management teams for the two projects and he could have been analysing the responses when his successor Professor Welshman Ncube struck the fatal blow.

While the frenzy and verbose support of the national branding and vision development projects has died, with Professor Mutambara battling with legitimacy issues, it is still critical that the matters remain on the national agenda.

For the past 30 years the Government has been formulating and implementing policies intended to assist the nation in reaching a certain destination.

The current Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Programme is one such policy intended to facilitate the realisation of a certain vision and the creation of a particular identity for Zimbabwe.

In economic terms the vision is "to have an indigenised, empowered and productive economy".

Such economic empowerment and progress will most likely lead to the realisation of other vision imperatives on the social and political fronts, namely unity in diversity, peace, development and social equality.

Therefore, all those interested in the forward development of the country have no alternative but to embrace the Government's vision of indigenisation and empowerment. When a significant number of citizens have a fair understanding of this vision, strategies would then have to be developed on how to march towards this vision and timeframes set.

After this strategic planning, a national branding exercise should be initiated to sell this vision to the rest of the citizens and other nations.

Only after this can the vision be realised and a national identity encompassing all Zimbabweans can be developed.

To assist the Government in driving the indigenisation and empowerment vision and to mobilise national participation in the project, a number of pressure groups have been formed by active members of society.

The most prominent of these groups are the Affirmative Action Group, Indigenous Business Women's Organisation, Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic Empowerment Organisation, Zimbabwe Indigenous Youth Empowerment Council, Upfumi Kuvadiki, Rural Women Empowerment Group, Association of Kubatana Community Trust, Christian Youth Empowerment Group, Women in Mining, etc.

However, a majority of these empowerment pressure groups appear to be diverting from the empowerment vision and serving the interests of very few people.

For example, you see an organisation purporting to represent the interests of rural women being led by people who are neither rural nor women, and youth empowerment groups being led by people not that young.

While the prerogative of determining leadership structures and member requirements rests with existing members of any pressure group there is need for these organisations to have a critical appraisal of their leadership, structures and activities.

This is if they are to remain relevant in the drive to indigenise the Zimbabwean economy and empower its people.

Real empowerment has to start in these pressure groups through accommodative leadership structures, eliciting participation from the wider Zimbabwean fraternity and opening up membership to all those who can participate meaningfully to the attainment of its goals.

With AAG being the longest living, biggest and possibly the most influential pressure group on the economic front in the country there is an obvious need that it be as representative as possible by reaching out to women, youth, rural, urban and all key interest groups in Zimbabwe.

Other economic pressure groups have to follow suit if they are to remain relevant in this long and momentous journey alongside millions of Zimbabwe marching towards the attainment of a common vision of an "indigenised and empowered Zimbabwean economy".

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