TOP Banker and entrepreneur Nigel Chanakira has challenged Zanu PF to ensure the removal of barriers for enterprising Zimbabweans willing to join the ruling party-dominated league of billionaires.
Speaking at the just-ended CEO Roundtable in Victoria Falls, Chanakira questioned whether those from Zanu PF had preserved that status for themselves and their foreign friends only as it was proving difficult for ordinary locals to penetrate.
A well-respected businessman, he acknowledged the role played by those who took part in Zimbabwe’s war for liberation but maintained policies being implemented were killing any hope of its economic development.
Chanakira was addressing War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa who sat on a panel with former Finance Minister Tendai Biti while Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) proprietor Trevor Ncube played host.
Their discussion was centered on unlocking local, black capital to spur development.
“Yes, Mutsvangwa we compliment you for what you have done, we are not denying that but for me, a million US dollars is no longer enough,” said Chanakira.
“I want billions, we want to join that league; we also want to be billionaires.
“I am saying yes what you have done is commendable but we are asking for more. We are saying guys you are the ones who fought the war but you are killing us, so you want to be the only billionaires alongside foreigners?
“You say a country is built by its people, are we not its people?”
The mantra, ‘A country is built by its own people’ has for the past year been used to prop up President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempts at reviving Zimbabwe’s poor fortunes by encouraging locals to take part in various of his efforts.
Similar sentiments were shared by Ncube, who said they were no longer interested in talking about the war but how they too could become billionaires.
‘Mega-Deals’ signed by Mnangagwa and his late predecessor Robert Mugabe have been a source of wealth for hundreds within the ruling party which never shies away from reminding ordinary citizens that it went to war for all of it.
Shadowy deals, alleged nepotism and protection by state institutions have ensured those within the ruling party or close to Mnangagwa’s presidency amass incalculable wealth across Zimbabwe’s various economic sectors.
Added Chanakira: “The optics do not look good from the outside looking in. They cannot look good just to those who have access to Minister Chris and if Minister Chris did a sterling job in bringing investors we are saying how much more can we do as CEOs to bring counterparts.
“We are saying how much more could be coming to Zimbabwe? That is the question.”
In response Mutsvangwa said the problem was that local ‘investors’ seemed to compete with world-class investments being courted by Mnangagwa into the country, giving examples of Tsingshan in Manhidze and beverage manufacturer Varun.
“The president has opened the country’s resources to the best possible capital in the world today, they are bringing their money into this country because they are the only ones who can provide the capital, technology, markets and products to satisfy those markets,” said Mutsvangwa.
“When Tsingshan puts a steel plant in your country and they are number one in the world, Toyota follows, Mercedes Benz follows, and Nissan follows. This is an investment at a world-class scale where Zimbabwe positions itself to produce power trains for new electric vehicles because the guy who has come here to do steel is the best one.
“These are the investments that open up opportunities for a country to move forward.
“You are trying to see yourself as a competitor to Tsingshan and if you make that mistake then you will not position yourself accordingly because he has already attained that level in the global marketplace. He is giving an opportunity to this country.” – NewZim