Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe says his government will amend its indigenisation laws this year. This is a move widely interpreted as a softening of his hard-line stance on local black ownership of businesses.
During the official opening of the 4th session of the 8th Parliament in the capital on Thursday, President Mugabe said the coming year the bill on cybercrime will also be tabled. Critics say the controversial bill will allow the state to target anti-government social media movements.
Traditionally, the opening of Parliament is a grand affair. President Mugabe accompanied by his first wife Grace arrived in a vintage Rolls Royce surrounded by the presidential guard on horseback. In parliament, President Mugabe ensured that it is the correct speech, following last year’s gaff where he read the wrong speech.
In the coming year, Parliament is to amend the indigenisation law. Earlier this year, President Mugabe said the contradictory statements among his ministers were undermining market confidence. The amendments are likely to lessen demands on the financial services sector.
“It will be recalled that I issued statement on clarifying government’s position on Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. The relevant act will thus be amended to bring it into consonance with the enunciated policy position,” said Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
This year government will push ahead plans to introduce a computer and cybercrimes bill
The law requires foreign owned companies to cede a majority of shares to local blacks. It has been blamed for scaring away investment.
This year government will push ahead plans to introduce a computer and cybercrimes bill. Government says the bill will curb cyber terrorism. Opposition believes it will enable government to spy on its opponents.
The opening of Parliament was marred by claims that the opposition lawmakers received death threats via text message.
Movement for Democratic Change Vice President Nelson Chamisa says this is a serious issue that they thought they would raise it in Parliament.
Chamisa adds that government has done nothing so far to investigate the issue. The opposition say last year several members received threats against heckling President Mugabe in Parliament. Zanu PF denied it was involved in those threats.