Ministers are ignorant: Mugabe nephew


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ZIMBABWE – Indigenisation minister, Patrick Zhuwao, on Saturday described fellow Cabinet ministers as ignorant as he stepped up the war against critics of the controversial policy on indigenisation among President Robert Mugabe’s lieutenants.

Mugabe’s nephew warned he would publicly embarrass the unnamed ministers if they continued to make contradictory pronouncements on the policy.He said this while addressing National University of Science and Technology students in Bulawayo during a lecture on leadership.

Zhuwao said ministers and other top government officials who sought to insinuate that the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act had been toned down were ill-informed.

Ministers and other government officials had been interpreting the law differently in what economic experts say has turned away would-be investors who needed clarity on the matter.

However, Zhuwao said the confusion regarding the implementation was caused by “ignoramuses in Cabinet and government circles”.

He said there was no going back on the radical law that has been blamed for the sorry economic state that Zimbabwe finds itself in.

“The one thing that needs to be urgently addressed is to eliminate ignorant statements around indigenisation and economic empowerment because there are statements that are being made by some people, some in the level of ministers in Cabinet, including top government officials,” he said. “The statements show ignorance about the whole exercise.

“I have said it before, and warned people, including ministers, to be careful about making ignorant statements about this issue otherwise I will correct them in public.”

Zhuwao was responding to a question on why there was discord in government on the indigenisation exercise.
Some government ministers reportedly wanted the law toned down or repealed altogether to woo into the country the much-needed investment.

But Zhuwao yesterday said that would never happen. The law compels foreigners to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals.

Government has made amendments to the Act, giving line ministers power to approve indigenisation plans for sectors under their ministry.

Zhuwao said claims the indigenisation and empowerment exercise chased away investors were baseless and not backed by any facts and research.

He vowed to march ahead with the indigenisation exercise, starting with the launch of an empowerment strategy for all sectors of the economy on October 16.

Zhuwao said the economy had not been fully indigenised following the enactment of enabling legislation in 2010 because such a strategy had not been developed.

“Some of those messages that [indigenisation] will chase away investment are not true. Firstly, we are not the first country to come up with an indigenisation exercise and secondly, it’s not based on empirical facts,” he said.

“The strategy for economic empowerment had not been developed and I will be launching it on 16 October.

“I am a firm believer, from the economic point of view, in resource nationalism. In Zimbabwe, it finds expression in policy and legislation, but the only problem we had was that there was no strategy for economic empowerment.”

Zhuwao in an interview after the lecture, said ministers and others who had issues with the way he was implementing the indigenisation exercise should write to him. He refused to entertain any questions after that.

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