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Zimbabwe Prime Minister Says Indigenization Regulations Unlawful

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday dismissed as unconstitutional a government notice published by the indigenization ministry compelling foreign-owned banks, schools and other sectors of the economy to start transferring majority shares to locals.

Mr. Tsvangirai said the power-sharing government did not sanction Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to issue the notice last Friday which he believes is a threat to local investments.

He said grabbing private entities or properties is unlawful under the country's constitution. Some of the targeted companies include those in the tourism, energy and telecommunications sectors.

Private school owners, business executives and Education Minister David Coltart reacted angrily to Kasukuwere’s notice compelling the targeted entities to cede a 51 percent stake to local blacks in line with the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.

Coltart said he will fight to the bitter end to ensure no school will be forcibly seized. Economists insist that such moves are blocking foreign direct investment.

Former headmaster Paul Ngwenya said it is impossible to indigenize private schools set up by various communities.

His views were echoed by John Mufukare of the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe, who said the indigenization program has become a national disgrace.