President Mugabe on Wednesday launched an anti-sanctions campaign at a rally in Harare on Wednesday. He has in the past threatened to take over any business enterprise that do not adhere to the country’s indigenisation regulations forcing foreigners to cede their earnings to local who are supposed to have at least 51 percent ownership in the firms.
At the fired-up rally organised by Zanu (PF) youths to sign a petition calling for the removal of sanctions, the AAG held huge posters with the names of the targeted companies written in black print.
The list was titled “Hit List” which was written in red. Red normally stands for danger.
The companies that are supposed to be targeted include the South African-based insurance firm, Old Mutual Limited (Old Mutual), BHP Biliton (Private) Limited (BHP), Rio Tinto Limited (Rio), the mining giant, commercial banks, Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe Limited (Stanchart) which is controlled from London in the United Kingdom, and Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Limited (Barclays), also controlled from London.
Old Mutual Limited has a market capitalisation of US$94 964 645.94 on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). Its share price currently stands at US$1.63.
BHP Billiton Limited is not listed on the ZSE, while Rio Zim has a market capitalisation of US$58 417 261.50 and a share price of US$2.02 on the bourse right now.
Standard Chartered Bank (Stanchart) is not listed on the ZSE, but the other targeted bank, Barclays has a market capitalisation of US$175 435 284.34 and a share price of US$7.50.
Stanchart is currently led by Washington Matsaire while Barclays Bank is led by George Guvamatanda.
Chairperson of the Anti-Sanctions Campaign and Petition, Vice President John Nkomo, said all parties in the inclusive government had agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that sanctions should be removed.
He said the campaign was a process and that there was “no limited number of signatures to be gathered”.
The former ruling party Zanu (PF)’s Information Department outlined 10 reasons why Zimbabweans should sign the petition.
“Sanctions are an attack on our economy, our jobs, our search for total empowerment and they are an attack on our business, on workers and on consumers,” they said in a statement.
“Sanctions are an attack on our land and our land rights. They aim to create conditions for the reversal of land reforms.”
However in an exclusive interview, prominent economist, John Robertson, said: “Sanctions is just an excuse by Zanu (PF) for what they did to the economy which they have messed up.”
“They (Zanu PF) are now using sanctions as an excuse to try and shift blame for what they have been doing since Independence in 1980 when they took over farms and put the economy in the mess that it is in right now.
“I sincerely believe the sanctions issue is just being used to try and shift blame.”
A journalist who refused to be named said: “We had sanctions during the days on Ian Smith and so there is nothing really new about sanctions. In fact sanctions made Rhodesia stronger because we were able to do things on our own.”
During the days of Rhodesia, under Prime Minister, Ian Smith, the country had a very vibrant economy which could export such items as tobacco, it even had its own motor vehicle, The Prefect.
Rhodesia actually exported more tobacco than any other country excluding Brazil and China during its days of glory.