War vets threaten govt over indigenisation
By Nelson Sibanda
The ongoing review of the indigenisation policy has set war veterans and government on a collision course.
War veterans insist government has no mandate to tone down or reverse the hard-core black empowerment policy that is scaring away foreign investors by forcing them to surrender a majority shareholding to locals.
Their leader, Jabulani Sibanda, threatened unspecified action against the government in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean. He said the policy was a product of Zanu (PF), and government must get its hands off.
“If time comes when government makes compromises, against the objectives of the liberation struggle, then you would see how people react,” Sibanda said. He declared that empowerment of indigenous blacks through control of the country’s natural resources was irreversible and war veterans would defend it at all costs.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently described the Act as unreasonable and assured investors that: “No one would take 51 percent of your businesses as prescribed by the Empowerment Act.”
Economic analysts commended government for at last revisiting the policy. Eric Bloch said if war veterans negatively interfered with the policy they would stall economic revival.
“If government fails to effect the proposed amendments to the indigenisation policy, there will be no investment or transfer of technology. It will be difficult to create jobs and people will starve,” said Bloch.
John Robertson said war veterans did not fight the liberation war to generate unemployment or lack of development, and should therefore support the proposed flexible indigenisation policy.
He said lack of respect for property rights and unfriendly investor policies had done terrible damage to the economy. “Investor scaring policies weakened the economy which now relies on imports while it failed to create jobs and widen the tax revenue base,” Robertson said, adding that protection of investor interests was key to economic growth. The Zimbabwean