Mugabe finally sees the light

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has finally seen the light on the highly controversial indigenisation policy which has seen his combative minister and nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, causing alarm and chaos in the market.

For the first time in 36 years, Mugabe showed rare leadership qualities when, contrary to Zanu PF’s populist and destructive policies, he chose to support the country’s ailing economy over cheap party politics.

On Tuesday, Mugabe moved to pacify edgy foreign investors who had been ruffled by the Indigenisation minister’s unfettered and ill-advised threats towards companies and other Cabinet ministers.

“This has caused confusion among Zimbabweans, the business community, current and potential investors, thereby undermining market confidence. It is therefore fit and proper that I provide clarification on this very vital national policy, for the guidance of government ministries, the business community and current and would-be foreign investors,” Mugabe said.

The stance taken by the nonagenarian leader to clarify the controversial policy, which forces foreign-owned firms to cede 51 percent shareholding to locals, should be commended as it has the capacity to draw back restless foreign investors to inject fresh capital into the economy. 

In addition to allowing existing mines to operate if they retain 75 percent of their earnings in Zimbabwe, Mugabe said foreign banks can retain control of their institutions — striking down recent hard-line remarks by his nephew.

Zhuwao, the junior Indigenisation minister in Mugabe’s Cabinet, had given foreign companies in the country a March 31, deadline to submit empowerment compliance plans or risk being shut down, but the government now says it will not demand majority stakes in foreign banks and may allow existing mines to retain control.

Kudos should also be given to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and central bank governor John Mangudya who defied the odds in the face of relentless political factional attacks and provided critical advice to the president.

We now call upon Mugabe to stick to his guns and allow “the law be amended or changed forthwith accordingly” in a bid to help the country attract foreign investors, who over the years had given Zimbabwe a wide berth over its controversial policies.

Recent statistics from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) show that Zimbabwe has been missing out from the annual $54 billion foreign direct inflows into Africa with the country only getting $510 million last year — ranking low among its rich and emerging neighbours such as South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique.

Comments (2)

If Mugabe was sincere in changing Indegenisation laws he would have amended or repealed the Act. The statement is a bait to get money out of the IMF, World Bank and AfDB. As soon as Mugabe gets the money from these IFIs he will revert to his original stand i.e exproriate 51% of all foreign investments. These IFIs should insist on genuine implementation of reforms in Zimbabwe b4 the money is released. Period!

Boys - 14 April 2016

Mugabe should scrap the stupid and unworkable law!

Wilbert Mukori - 14 April 2016

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