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Zimbabwe Black Empowerment Organization Divided Over Indigenization Process

  • Gibbs Dube

Sources said Affirmative Action members in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, refused when asked to identify private companies that could be obliged to cede up to 51 percent of their shares to indigenous blacks

Zimbabwe's move to put a controlling interest in large firms into black hands is dividing the Affirmative Action Group, its largest black empowerment organization.

Sources said Affirmative Action members in Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, refused to identify private companies which could be obliged to cede up to 51 percent of their shares to indigenous blacks.

Sources in the Affirmative Action Group and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce said some Harare-based business people asked Bulawayo contacts to identify local private companies that could be targeted for indigenization.

“Our members in Harare have been positioning themselves to take over some companies in the city but we have refused to give them any names of companies targeted for indigenization because the same people who have benefited in the past want to start grabbing these firms for their own benefit,” said one source.

The sources said the refusal by the Bulawayo branch of the organization to provide information to members in Harare has caused serious tension in the group.

Affirmative Action Group leaders were tight-lipped over the issue. But founding member and former president Matson Hlalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that Bulawayo members of the group don’t want to be part of a process they see as predatory.

“The indigenization process is being hijacked by rich people who want to amass wealth at the expense of members of the public,” said Hlalo.

But AAG founding president Philip Chiyangwa dismissed claims by the Bulawayo chapter of the organization that indigenization has only benefited a handful of people, including himself.

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