Upfumi Kuvadiki threatens Easipark

HARARE - Militant Zanu PF-linked youth outfit, Upfumi Kuvadiki, has threatened to use violence to take over the City of Harare’s parking business if their concerns remain unattended.

Privellage Gwiba, the organisation’s spokesperson told delegates at an indigenisation and economic empowerment stakeholders meeting last week that a showdown is looming between Upfumi Kuvadiki and Harare City Council.

“The city council continues to issue licences to foreigners in reserved sectors such as retail not following the dictates of the indigenisation laws,” he said.

“If the council does not grant these licences to us we are going to have a final push. Mwana ane nzara mwana ane hasha (a hungry child is an angry child).”

Upfumi Kuvadiki which is well-known for triggering street marches and demonstrations, seeks clarity on the transaction between Easipark and the City of Harare last year.

Easipark is currently engaged in a battle with the Harare City Council over revenue remittance.

South African-based Easipark penned a five-year joint-venture arrangement with the city council where the firm enjoys a 60 percent share of profits with the remainder going to the city.

At the lapse of the five-year period, the city retains the prerogative to either renew or completely abandon the partnership.

EasiHold partnered the council at a time most investors were uneasy on committing their money in Zimbabwe.

Upfumi Kuvadiki has however, criticised the deal saying it does not comply with the government’s indigenisation regulations requiring locals to be major shareholders in any joint venture with foreigners.

“As youths we are yet to see the benefits of the indigenisation drive. It is time that we also start realising the fruits of this initiative,” said Gwiba.

Under the indigenisation and economic empowerment law, government reserved low capital businesses to locals including the retail sector, agro-processing and hair salons.

The controversial policy has already sparked a flight by investors, placing in doubt Zimbabwe’s ability to attain economic growth. Economic analysts have also blamed the ill implemented policy for the absence of Foreign Direct Investment.

Moreover, Zanu-PF is regarded as using the policy as a measure to win crucial votes from the country’s youth, which analysts say now represents more than half the voting population.

The African Development Bank warned recently that the indigenisation law, which will force foreign-owned firms to surrender majority stakes, was likely to diminish foreign direct investment and growth prospects in 2012.

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