Mugabe’s ministers in ugly brawl

Mugabe’s ministers in ugly brawl

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ZIMBABWE – The rift in President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet over the indigenisation policy escalated yesterday after Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo leapt into the defence of Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao following a savage attack on Finance counterpart Patrick Chinamasa. 

Chinamasa last Thursday made policy pronouncements on indigenisation that showed the government’s stance on the controversial regulations could be thawing.

The Finance minister said companies that had missed the January 2014 deadline to comply with the law could now do so by March 31 next year to avoid sanctions.

Chinamasa, Zhuwao and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya had been due to address a joint press conference on the matter on Thursday, but it was hastily cancelled.

According to sources, Chinamasa and Mangudya had stormed out of a preparatory meeting after differences with Zhuwao. Zhuwao and Chinamasa then issued different statements on the subject.

On Christmas day, Zhuwao – Mugabe’s nephew – addressed a hastily arranged press conference accusing Chinamasa of treachery after the minister announced the far reaching changes in his uncle’s presence.

Zimbabweans then took to social media expressing dismay at the public show of disunity in Mugabe’s public, drawing the attention of Moyo on Twitter.

Moyo, who in the past has been accused of being a member of the Generation 40 faction in Zanu PF alongside Zhuwao, appeared to suggest Chinamasa had strayed from his mandate by making policy pronouncements concerning an Act of Parliament that was not under his purview.

Chinamasa has been linked with a faction backing Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe while G4 supports First Lady Grace Mugabe.

“On this one Zhuwao is right. He’s the responsible minister,” Moyo tweeted in response to questions about the fight between Chinamasa and Zhuwao.
“The rest of us have a duty to support him or shut up.”

Moyo said the Indigenisation Act was administered by Zhuwao and urged Chinamasa to stick to his portfolio.

“Zhuwao was right to speak on indigenisation as his remit. Chinamasa should speak and act on unpaid salaries,” the minister added.

The government has been failing to pay civil servants salaries for December amid indications some workers could receive their pay next month.
Treasury is also struggling to pay this year’s bonuses.

The fight between Chinamasa and Zhuwao over indigenisation started soon after Mugabe’s nephew was handed the portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle in September.

At one time, he suggested his uncle would show Chinamasa the door for his stance on indigenisation.

Zhuwao was coy when asked about Chinamasa’s no show at the Thursday press conference.

“He is the minister of Finance, he is a busy man,” he said curtly.

He said he stood guided by Mugabe’s pronouncements on indigenisation, not Chinamasa’s statements.

“The president on December 12 said people say the indigenisation policy is inhibiting. If it is inhibiting, let it be so,” Zhuwao said.

Mugabe was speaking at the Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls where he vowed tougher action against foreign companies resisting indigenisation.

Chinamasa was not answering his mobile phone yesterday. The Finance minister has been fighting a lone battle in Mugabe’s cabinet seeking to restore investor confidence in Zimbabwe.

He has been described as a sell out by Cabinet colleagues including War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa for engaging the West.
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