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Chombo, British Investors Clash Over Mugabe Succession

FILE: Actor Mickey Rooney (L) kisses the hand of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a garden party celebrating her state visit to the U.S. at the British Embassy in Washington, May 7, 2007.

Zimbabwe’s Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo on Friday clashed with a British investment delegation over Zanu-PF succession as investors worry about President Robert Mugabe’s advancing age and his ability to steer the country’s economy out of the woods.

They also clashed over policy inconsistencies, especially the country’s indeginization law that requires foreign-owned companies to transfer 51 percent stakes to locals.

The 19-member British business delegation is sponsored by Investment Africa and comprises 12 companies from different sectors.

But their meeting with Chombo turned sour after the delegation began to ask about President Mugabe’s succession plan and the unfairness of the empowerment law that gives indigenous blacks a controlling stake in all companies.

Problems with the law have been worsened by discord among cabinet ministers on its implementation process.

Chombo said Harare will not allow investors to interfere in the country’s internal politics.

For analysis, VOA Studio 7 also reached chief economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labour and Economic Development Institute of Zimbabwe, who said the delegation is right to ask questions as prospective investors.