MDC-T Bulawayo Province has come out in support of Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, over his criticism of government’s much-vaunted Command Agriculture programme fronted by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
BY SILAS NKALA
President Robert Mugabe’s administration embarked on Command Agriculture policy last year in a bid to boost food production and avoid hunger with Mnangagwa as its driver. However, Moyo who reportedly fronts a faction of the ruling party known as G40, has become the biggest critic of the programme that allegedly also involves the country’s military.
The scheme is expected to run for the next two years as part of efforts to boost the country’s food production levels.
Moyo has in the process used social media to slam the programme characterising it as communist leaning.
“Command is a tried and tested military concept. It is also a great in programming. But in civil matters command is an oxymoron and nonstarter!” Moyo said in another tweet.
But, MDC-T Bulawayo deputy spokesperson Felix Mafa Sibanda said for the first time he was in agreement with Moyo that command agriculture was a contradiction of sound economic practices throughout modern economic studies.
“Moyo is or has candidly espoused my convictions that the government strategy of militarisation of the economy is far-fetched and is counter- productive to medium and long term solution. From the onset what is ‘command’ according to English dictionary and many others? It is, compelling to perform a given task without fail, or the right or authority to obey without a question. From the given definition of the key word, ‘command’ one, therefore, sees that the government strategy is not civilian user friendly but military biased,” Sibanda said.
He said the programme sounded intimidatory to ordinary people arguing those taking part have been “emasculated to undertake the scheme without knowledge of intended goals.”
“It is an open secret that to date most rural and small scale farmers are yet to be fully paid for their grains backdated as from 2013. In such uneconomic scenario can timid farmers be brave to ask about critical issues from a military perspective?” Sibanda asked rhetorically.
“It would appear Zanu PF doesn’t learn from history. Both Simba Makoni and Herbert Murerwa, former ministers of Finance, did advise President Mugabe to adhere to sound and tested economic theories and practices, but were stubbed and ditched due to those economic truths.”
Sibanda warned Moyo was likely to face retribution because of his position on the programme.
“There are sticking issues to clarify on the said command economy. What is the role of the minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made? Does VP Mnangagwa has a parallel budget or has crafted his sole project to spruce up his soiled Gukurahundi image. Remember that the evils one does lives with and after self,” Sibanda said.
“Could economists and military specialists come and clarify this communist style of governing and economic management.”