Dear Family and Friends,
We don’t know if we’re on our heads or our heels in Zimbabwe after the
latest government notice about indigenisation. It seems the farms and
mines are not enough and next up for grab are businesses, banks, schools,
and virtually every privately owned entity. The best way to tell it
is with quotes.
The latest indigenisation saga caught our attention with a question
by a NewsDay reporter to Zanu PF’s Minister of Youth, Empowerment and
Indigenisation, Saviour Kasukuwere. The journalist asked the Minister
if his ministry would consider an empowerment model proposed by Reserve
Bank Governor Gideon Gono. Minister Kasukuwere’s response, quoted in
NewsDay was: “F***k you, I have no interest in that. You don’t ask me
about the governor (Gono)! Get out of my office! Get out of my office!
Get out now.”
Next came front page headlines which screamed: “Govt to grab private
schools.” General Notice 280 of 2012, published in the Government Gazette
laid out regulations for the indigenisation of nine major sectors. This
included schools with a net asset of one dollar which are to be required
to have a 51% indigenous ownership. The notice applies to privately
owned pre schools, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities.
NewsDay newspaper wrote: “The indigenisation programme that initially
targeted mines, is now a blanket plan… covering finance, tourism, arts
and entertainment, engineering and construction, telecommunications
and the motor industry.”
Minister of Education, David Coltart, immediately responded to the government
notice urging schools, their boards and trustees to: “continue the good
work they are doing and disregard this so called provision which is
illegal and unenforceable.”
While the assault on private education was in the spotlight, the threat
to banks was growing. The Indigenisation Minister said all foreign owned
banks had a year to dispose of 51% shareholding to “indigenous Zimbabweans.”
Indigenous Zimbabweans only refers to people with black skin, even if
people with other skin colours were born and have always lived here,
as have their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai then issued a statement about the indigenisation
threat to banks and schools saying: “There is no such government position.”
The PM said the Indigenisation Minister had no power to: “project an
image of a voracious government keen to compulsorily grab almost all
institutions and companies in the country.”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the regulations outlined by Minister
Kasuukuwere in the General Notice were: “of no legal effect, an absolute
nullity. In any case, if you indigenise a bank what are you indigenising?
A building or computers?”
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said foreign owned banks would not
be seized: “yesterday, today or tomorrow” and described the latest General
Notice as: “devoid of detail and rationality.” Gono said he was waiting
to consult with president Mugabe and that: “his instructions will be
At the end of it all, those last five words were the most worrying.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy
7th July 2012
Copyright 2012 Cathy Buckle.
For information on my new book “IMIRE”, about Norman Travers and Imire
Game Park, or my other books about Zimbabwe: “Innocent Victims,” African
Tears,” “Beyond Tears;” and “History of the Mukuvisi Woodlands 1910-2010”,
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