Mugabe Defends Black Empowerment Laws

Mugabe Defends Black Empowerment Laws
President Mugabe

AFRICANGLOBE – President Robert Mugabe has told his ruling party that its indigenisation programme is motivated by the losses sustained by Black Zimbabweans at the hands of the colonial power, state media reported on Saturday.

Mugabe said whites had treated Black Zimbabweans “cruelly, callously” during the 1970s war for independence, killing thousands of them, according to a report carried by the Chronicle and the Herald newspapers.

“[They] ran away from here and have come back smiling, appearing to be very human, polite now,” the president was quoted as saying.

A deadline for white and foreign-owned companies to submit their plans to hand over 51% shares to Black business expired last week.

The Sunday Mail said 1 000 out of 1 200 companies had complied. Critics and the Western-funded opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) say the programme is driving away desperately-needed foreign investment.

Big Problem

Some loyal to Mugabe’s own party also have reservations over the way in which the programme is implemented, with financial authorities being particularly keen not to upset the delicate financial sector.

But in words that will be seen as a show of support for the very determined indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao, Mugabe reportedly told his party’s central committee: “When we say to the outside world we have a policy of indigenisation and empowerment and they react by saying you are driving away investment, we should not worry.

“We know what we have suffered and we know what we should not do to suffer again or to benefit those who made us suffer in this bloody way.”

The president is himself a former independence war fighter.

Local economist John Robertson said in a recent article that one of the big problems with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation programme was the issue of payment for the shares.

“The difference in every other country is that the local partners pay for their shares up front,” Robertson argued.


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