President Robert Mugabe’s clarification of the country’s controversial indigenisation and economic empowerment law, was a “reversal of G40’s scorched earth policy created to fleece the country’s resources”, war veterans’ chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa has said.
Mutsvangwa welcomed Mugabe’s move to “set the record straight” in an interview last week.
“It is a positive signal to investors. No country can survive, let alone grow in this capitalistic world without foreign investment,” he said.
“The Asian Tigers [India, China and Malaysia] had access to capital from all over the world.
“The way the indigenisation policy, noble as it is was, but twisted by a coterie of G40 enthusiasts, had resulted in chaos in the market.”
Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao and his Finance counterpart Patrick Chinamasa have been involved in a public spat over implementation of the policy.
Before Mugabe’s intervention, Chinamasa insisted all foreign-owned banks had complied, a position disputed by Zhuwao.
Mutsvangwa claimed Zhuwao and a faction within the ruling party known as G40 and fronted by First Lady Grace Mugabe wanted to abuse the policy for ill-gain.
“They wanted to create the kind of anarchy we saw around the year 2000 when company executives and directors could not operate for fear of vigilante groups,” he said.
“Zhuwao and his ilk-like he warned in Marondera a few weeks ago, wanted to create a band of youths to bring strife into our economy and the president has put a stop to that,” he said.
“He [Zhuwao] promised youth he would be getting them money from companies. That is criminal abuse of office that cannot be allowed.
“Our indigenisation policy was meant to make sure Zimbabweans own the resources but never to shut out or frighten foreign investors. G40 wanted to collect levies to fund their nefarious activities.”
After Zhuwao’s ultimatum to companies to comply by April 1, the veterans of the liberation struggle called him to order, arguing he was scaring investors.
Political analyst McDonald Lewanika said Zimbabweans should be worried that “government has to constantly clarify its policies”.
“When a president has to clarify policy matters time and time again, it’s worrying and shows that there is a problem; either the policies are not clear to start with and open to multiple interpretations or misinterpretations, or the implementers are confused, incompetent or both,” Lewanika said.
But the opposition MDC-T described Mugabe’s summersault as a “dog’s breakfast”.
“Instead of clarifying the overwhelming confusion that has been brought about by the populist and often misguided remarks by Zhuwao, Mugabe’s statement actually adds to the confusion and policy inconsistencies,” said MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu
“Mugabe’s statement is actually very dodgy and sly. It shouldn’t be trusted and believed at all.
“He is simply trying to hoodwink and mislead the international community; particularly the Bretton Woods institutions.”
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said Mugabe’s aim in “clarifying” the policy was to hoodwink the international community.
“In our view, the statement is a mendacious and dishonest spin intended to arm Finance minister [Patrick] Chinamasa who is currently in Washington DC, USA for the World Bank’s spring meetings with a propaganda tool,” PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.
“The statement, like the Zimbabwe Staff Monitoring Programme, is therefore lipstick on a pig in order to seduce gullible members of the international community by creating a semblance of reform.”
Political analysts and Mugabe’s critics had argued that the veteran Zanu PF leader was using the indigenisation policy to fund his party’s activities.