Zimbabwe Cabinet Showdown Looms

The fight may also spill to Parliament and the courts.

The newly gazetted regulations were gazetted in terms of the controversial Indigenisation and Empowerment Act of 2008.  In terms of the law, businesses worth more than $500 000 should be controlled by black Zimbabweans. Those who do not abide by the regulations face a jail term of five years.

Business and political leaders have already raised alarm over the provisions of the Statutory Instrument, saying it would scare away investors and reverse economic recovery that is currently being recorded.

And in an attempt to solve the problem, Tsvangirai’s office is said to have drafted a dossier to prove that the announcement of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (General) Regulations 2010, by the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Savior Kasukuwere did not follow government procedure and was not in line with the spirit of the inclusive government.

According to sources, Tsvangirai’s office has now identified three channels for challenging Kasukuwere’s regulations: in the Cabinet or Council of Ministers, in the High Court or in Parliament. His challenge will be premised mostly on the fact that the regulations wrestle against the work of other ministries and departments in the inclusive government.

“The issue will first be tabled for discussion in Cabinet or the Council of Ministers. Cabinet and the Council of Ministers can either suspend the statutory instrument, or suggest some improvements so that it reflects the position of Cabinet,” said the source.

“If this does not work, the matter can be taken to the High Court which has the power to set it aside if there is enough ground for doing so. That ground has already been established as it is clear the instrument was not gazetted in line with government procedure.”

As the chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Tsvangirai oversees the formulation and implementation of government policies. Ministers are supposed to liaise with him on statutory instruments and regulations before they are gazetted.

Tsvangirai has the backing of his party and the smaller MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara. Mugabe and his Zanu PF have over the last decade been on a crusade to nationalise mines, farms and a number of manufacturing companies. Indigenisation featured prominently in Zanu PF’s campaign, and the party is likely is likely to insist on the new law, which provides for 51% local ownership for all companies.

Parliament, through the Legal Committee can also suspend the regulations.

The MDC has over the last few days issued a number of statements criticising the regulations.

On Friday, MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the indigenisation was likely to benefit only a few members of the ruling elite, at the expense of millions of ordinary Zimbabweans.