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Zimbabwe Minister, Central Bank Governor Clash Over Indigenization Program

  • Gibbs Dube
  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Sources in the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and news reports said Reserve Bank Governor Gono has objected to the overall indigenization approach which puts considerable economic power in Kasukuwere's hands

Zimbabwean Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono have again clashed publicly over the proposed indigenization of all firms worth more than US$500,000, with Kasukuwere accusing Gono of coming out against the empowerment scheme in a bid to remain politically relevant.

Sources in the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and news reports said Gono has objected to the overall approach of the indigenization scheme, which puts considerable power in Kasukuwere's hands as to which companies must cede control to blacks and which individuals will assume controlling stakes. They said Kasukuwere is being pushed by top ZANU-PF officials with their eyes on white-controlled companies.

Political analyst George Mkwananzi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the war of words between Kasukuwere and Gono signals deep policy differences in ZANU-PF over how to carry out indigenization under the 2007 Indigenization and Empowerment Act.

VOA was unable to obtain comment from Gono or Kasukuwere on the reported dispute.

Gono has been quoted as saying that the economy stands to suffer if the indigenization allows white-owned firms to be seized in much the same manner as white-owned commercial farms were taken over after 2000 under the controversial land reform program.

“Anybody wanting to politic by suggesting that the governor is being too emotional or that I am speaking against my principals is simply engaging in a game of intellectual dishonesty and pettiness akin to siblings fighting for their mother’s attention,” he said.

Kasukuwere, for his part, said Gono, described recently by a top ZANU-PF official as “an attention-seeking lame-duck governor”, was criticizing the indigenization process in an effort to remain politically relevant amid speculation he may be forced to step down.

Meanwhile, reports said Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Limited or Zimplats and beverage manufacturer and distributor Delta Corporation have reported to the Indigenization Ministry on their shareholding structure in compliance with regulations promulgated last month.

Despite such moves, Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch said he doesn’t expect many companies to file such reports by an April 14 deadline.

Elsewhere, a delegation from the Youth League of the ruling African National Congress of South Africa was due in Harare on Friday to gather facts about the indigenization program.

Led by ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, the group was to meet with its ZANU-PF counterparts and senior government officials including Youth and Indigenization Minister Kasukuwere, according to spokeswoman Magdalene Moonsamy.