Zimbabwe's Controversial Indigenisation Regulations Dropped

The regulations, which were ssupposed to set in motion the Indigenisation Law passed by the Zimbabwe Parliament prior to the controversial harmonised elections in 2008, would have seen whites ceding 51 percent of shareholding in every company capitalized to the tune of US$500 000 by 1 March. Failure to do so was going to attract a jail sentence of up to five years.

Zimbabwe Prime Minister and leader of the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai, last week dismissed the indigenisation regulations as null and void because there had been no consultation as prescribed by a political power sharing agreement signed by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, James Maridadi, said: “What Zimbabweans want is a real economy, with jobs, growth and food security. Instead, these regulations would have plunged us back into the sort of economic decline and wide-scale job losses we saw as a result of the corrupt farm acquisition programme. And all for the sake of further enriching the political eliteini who have already acquired millions through so-called land reform, at the expense of the rest of the population.”

In the past weeks there had been an outcry from trade unions, employers, and economists.

Kasukuwere on Tuesday agreed to shelve the regulations and consult with other Government Ministers, particularly with Elton Mangoma, Minister of Economic Planning and Investment.

“It’s back to the drawing board to devise a true empowerment policy that will meet the needs of the people, and drive economic growth and job creation,” government sources said last night.

“The Prime Minister has always been a strong advocate of policies that empower the poor and marginalised,” said Maridadi.  “That is why empowerment was a central platform of the MDC manifesto in the last elections.  But to the Prime Minister, empowerment means creating opportunities for people, jobs, education, and hope.  The proposed regulations would have achieved the exact opposite.  That is why the Prime Minister opposed them in the strongest terms.”

The regulations were gazetted without any prior consultation within the Cabinet Committees or the Council of Ministers, in clear breach of Cabinet Rules and the Constitution.