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Zimbabwe Indigenization Minister Shrugs Off PM Tsvangirai's Criticisms

  • Thomas Chiripasi
  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Kasukuwere acknowledged Mr. Tsvangirai's seniority and said he saw no reason not to attend an inter-ministerial meeting called by Mr. Tsvangirai to examine the potential impact of indigenization on the economy by some political parties as an election issue, this in apparent response to comments by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that his MDCformation “totally opposes” the indigenization drive which he characterized as a Zanu-PF scheme. Addressing a news conference in Harare Tuesday, Indegenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere accused un-named political parties of Taking the Indegenization process as a campaign tool ahead of Elections that both president Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have said could be held next year on date yet to be agreed on.although Mr Tsvangirai had distanced himself from the Indegenization program saying it was a Zanu PF program, Kasukuwere Said the prime minister’s remarks were surprising because the premier Had endorsed the program during cabinet deliberations. In view of this, Kasukuwere said he saw no reason why he would Not attend an inter-ministerial indaba called by the Primie Minister To discuss problems around the indegenization program saying he Recognized Mr Tsvangirai as a senior government official. The Indegenization Minister said that his ministry would soon launch the sovereign wealth fund that he said would ensure that communities Living in areas where natural resources were not abundant would Benefit from the nationalization program. Minister Kasukuwere also encouraged un-named banks that have not complied with the empowerment regulations to ensure that they complied. With law, failure to do so resulting in some heavy penalties. He said The government was also targeting some un-named banks because they Were releasing loans to the majority of the people, especially Farmers, which he said was affecting production levels on farmlands. But some banks have argued that the 99-year leases given to farmers Under the land reform program were not bankable. From Harare, Thomas Chiripasi has more. Political analyst Walter Nsununguli Mbongolwane tells Sithandekile Mhlanga that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai should have anticipated that Zanu-PF would manipulate the indigenization program, adding that ordinary Zimbabweans are unlikely to benefit. Kasukuwere said the prime minister’s remarks were surprising because the premier Had endorsed the program during cabinet deliberations

Zimbabwean Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Tuesday it is ‘regrettable” that his economic empowerment program has been seized upon by some political parties as an election issue, responding to criticism of the program by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai saying it is a ZANU-PF scheme that is driving investors away.

Addressing reporters in Harare on Tuesday, Kasukuwere accused un-named political parties of politicizing the indigenization process ahead of expected 2012 elections.

Mr. Tsvangirai has lately come out more strongly in opposition to the indigenization drive, declaring at a rally Sunday in Marondera, capital of Mashonaland East province, that his Movement for Democratic Change formation "totally opposes" the initiative.

Kasukuwere, of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, expressed surprise at Mr. Tsvangirai's statements, saying the prime minister endorsed indigenization in Cabinet deliberations. He suggested that Mr. Tsvangirai was in an electoral campaign mode when he made the comments in Marondera on the weekend.

Nonetheless, Kasukuwere acknowledged Mr. Tsvangirai's seniority and said he saw no reason not to attend an inter-ministerial meeting called by Mr. Tsvangirai later this month to examine the potential impact of indigenization on the economy.

Elsewhere, Kasukuwere encouraged unnamed banks that he said have not complied with economic empowerment regulations to make sure they obeyed the law. He warned that failure to do so would result in heavy penalties.

He said the government is also targeting certain banks because they are not making enough loans to farmers, which he said is hurting agricultural production.

Some banks have argued that the 99-year leases granted by the government to farmers under the land reform program do not provide sufficient loan collateral.

Political analyst Walter Nsununguli Mbongolwane told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that Prime Minister Tsvangirai should have anticipated that ZANU-PF would manipulate the indigenization program from which ordinary zimbabweans are unlikely to benefit.

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