Zimbabwe govt to tweak indigenisation laws to woo investors

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is scheduled to launch a fine-tuned new indigenisation and empowerment policy in Bulawayo today, as Zanu PF escalates its campaigns for the 2023 national elections. 

The ambitious latest iteration of the country’s empowerment programme is meant to benefit more Zimbabweans involved in mining, agriculture, infrastructure development and manufacturing, among other sectors.

Zanu PF secretary for economic empowerment, Mike Bimha, told the Daily News yesterday that the new policy was being launched with a view to attaining Vision 2030 — to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by then.

“We have previously disadvantaged groups in our society who must now come into the fold and be at the empowerment forefront.

“We will not leave out those who were already there, but we want to bring in new players into mining, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and so forth. That is our thrust,” he said.

Bimha added that the new empowerment drive was different from the previous one which had scared away foreign investors, saying that the new policy was inclusive and in conformity with Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.

“If in the past Zimbabweans voted for Zanu PF on account of its empowerment policies, then we have every hope that our new thrust will certainly help the party in future elections.

“There is no single factor that helps the party win elections, but the empowerment of citizens certainly contributes because people follow good policies.

“All the people want are policies that positively impact on their lives, and so that is the way we want to chart things when we meet in Bulawayo,” Bimha told the Daily News.

“Indigenisation and economic empowerment has always been the party’s programme since we embarked on the land reform programme. What we are simply doing now is to take it to another level.

“The land reform was the first stage and the second stage is now about production and productivity, agro-processing and value addition.

“It is about involving everyone including those in the rural areas, hence the idea around Pfumvudza. This all now requires the government to follow party policies,” Bimha further told the Daily News.

“There have been a lot of changes since the Second Republic was inaugurated, including opening the country for business.

“That alone, as a strategy, calls upon Zanu PF as a party to review our policies so that they reflect the direction the country is taking — to say economic development comes ahead of all else.

“We have discarded the 51-49 percent shareholding requirement which was unfair in our indigenisation policy, but some people misconstrued that to mean we had ditched indigenisation completely.

“That is wrong because. We only did away with that aspect which scared away investment,” Bimha also told the Daily News.

This comes as Zanu PF has set itself an ambitious target to have five million members ahead of the 2023 elections — at a time that the opposition has also rolled out a massive rural mobilisation campaign as it bids to make inroads into the ruling party’s strongholds.

Mnangagwa initially amended the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, which restricted foreign ownership to not more than 49 percent, through the Finance Act No. 1 of 2018, before the government brought back the limit through Section 36 of the Finance Act.

But, the ruling party said this had created some misconceptions to both citizens and investors.

“As such, the department of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has since come up with a revised Zanu PF Indigenisation and Economic Policy, which was approved by both the politburo and central committee and incorporated into the new economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy,” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said recently.

With the next national elections now just two years away, Zanu PF also plans to lure back some of its big shots who were hounded out of the party in the twilight of the late former president Robert Mugabe’s tenure in power.

Well-placed sources told the Daily News recently that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga had been tasked to lead this process, which is also meant to prepare the party and curb factionalism ahead of 2023.

Insiders who spoke to the Daily News said Chiwenga had been tasked with drafting a broader mandate of Zanu PF’s recently established Elders’ Advisory Committee — whose job, among other things, is to lure back party bigwigs who had left the party since the ructions of 2014.

Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, Paul Mangwana — who was behind the formation of the elders’ advisory body — confirmed the appointment of Chiwenga, but declined to divulge further details on the return of the former bigwigs to the party.

“The issue of the elders’ advisory committee is work in progress … The politburo agreed that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga will lead the process.

“We cannot announce the mandate of the committee now because we are still consulting,” he said.

The committee is chaired by former Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi. Its members include former minister Josaya Hungwe, ex-Senate president Edna Madzongwe, Richard Ndlovu and ex-provincial minister Angeline Masuku.

The insiders who spoke to the Daily News said the politburo had agreed to start engaging all former party bigwigs in a bid to build a stronger organisation ahead of the 2023 elections.

“During the politburo meeting, we all agreed that the former stalwarts are needed in the party. We want them back.

“As you know … most of them played a crucial role during Mugabe’s stay in power,” one of the sources said.

According to the insiders, some of the notable names being courted include former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, as well as ex-ministers Dzikamai Mavhaire — who is now with the MDC Alliance — Francis Nhema and Flora Bhuka.

They also said on the party’s radar was former Mashonaland East Zanu PF provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde.

Most of these bigwigs were booted from both the government and Zanu PF in the run-up to the party’s sham December 2014 congress which sealed the fate of former vice president Joice Mujuru — who was sacked on false allegations of wanting to topple Mugabe from power.

Already, Zanu PF has succeeded in luring back former National Patriotic Front (NPF) interim leader Ambrose Mutinhiri and its ex-secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.

All this comes as Zanu PF has also extended an olive branch to Mujuru and other former bigwigs such as Nicholas Goche — in a bid to heal growing rifts within the ruling party.

In October 2019, Mujuru told the Daily News that she bore no ill feelings, “whatsoever”, towards any of her former comrades in Zanu PF.

This was after Zanu PF had made overtures to her and others to consider burying the hatchet and re-join the former liberation movement.

“I have been quiet for a long time, and I don’t see anything wrong if I meet Mnangagwa or (Zanu PF chairperson Oppah) Muchinguri.

“In fact, that is the proper way of doing things. No matter how daft I might look in the eyes of some people, I know something about this country. You cannot throw away 34 years of experience just like that,” Mujuru said then.

This comes as the demons of factionalism and tribalism that gutted Zanu PF during the last few years in power of Mugabe have returned to the party with a vengeance.

The brutal party wars were temporarily ended in dramatic fashion by the military which rolled its tanks into Harare on November 15, 2017 — after deciding that they had had enough of Mugabe and Grace.

By then, the Generation 40 (G40) faction had succeeded in having Mnangagwa sacked from both the government and Zanu PF — just as they had done with Mujuru in 2014, when she, together with other bigwigs such as Mutasa and Gumbo, were jettisoned out of the party over false allegations that they wanted to oust and kill Mugabe. – Daily News