The Lion Holds A Conference for For Its Prey

Dr Evil and Mini-me: Robert "The Solution" Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai at the start of the Investment conference in Harare earlier today. It is a monumental waste of time and energy.

The predatory Inclusive Government duly tropped out of its offices today and gathered for an "Investment Conference" at a Harare hotel.

Don't laugh. They are dead serious about this.

Of course the attendees told them exactly where they could put their investment pleas.

The conference, though, is remarkable for the little-noticed fact that for the first time ever, Mugabe was exposed to the people he governs and they could put their questions directly to him.

Tervor Gifford of the Commercial Farmers Union wanted to know where the Inclusive Government stands on compensation for acquired farms.

Mugabe harangued the hall, insisting that nothing has changed. The dispossesed white farmers must go and get their compensation from Britain (which has denied all responsibility and even knowledge of such an obligation).

Fears around the possible seizure of companies, given impetus by this week's reports of the invasion of a gold mine, will also continue to dominate discussion tomorrow, when the conference resumes.

There is no need for this Investment Conference at all. More so one at which the threat to private property rights is amplified by the Head of State.

The Prime Minister said the Land Reform Programme is done and over with. Next is an audit, he insists and focus on "productivity". As for the farmers? "Losers weepers" appears to be attitude of this Inclusive Government.

On compensation, Prime Minister Mini-me agrees with his boss. In fact the postion that these farmers should get their compensation from Britain is now the official policy of the Inclusive Government.

Tally-ho, then, as the Terrible Twins go forth into the sunset, insisting that it is dawn.

As they say, you do not need to goad a hungry man into eating. If the policy signals being sent by this Inclusive Government were right, investments would come in of their own volition. We are a rich nation (to our eternal shame) and many an international company wants to come and set up shop here.

If the environment is right, everything falls into place.

Instead of inviting their prey into their den, Dr Evil and Mini-me should really be concentrating on putting the correct policy framework in place. A good place to start would be the successful and irreversible privatisation of loss-making government companies.

And then they must start making the right kind of noises to instill confidence in the market.

Overseas, they say "The Market Is A Coward". At the first sign of risk it turns tail and runs.

Which is what's happening in Zimbabwe.

Nothing will come from this Investment Conference primarily because the Inclusive Government has no clue how to go about creating a conducive atmosphere.


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