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Mugabe calls for calm


President Robert Mugabe on Thursday urged Youth and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere to cooperate with all ministries after cracks emerged in Cabinet over the implementation of the programme.

Indigenisation, which has become the Zanu PF election trump card, has raised emotions and hostility among ministers who view Kasukuwere as now too powerful.

“The Ministry of Youth function is to chart the course and leave the supervision to other ministries. It’s not a one-man affair, but it’s for all ministries,” President Mugabe said while addressing members of the Zanu PF central committee in Harare.

He added: “There has to be cooperation, we should not work in conflict, but in but harmony. This is the way the policy should be applied.”

The indigenisation policy compels all foreign-controlled companies, including banks and mines, operating in Zimbabwe to sell a 51% controlling stake to locals or risk having their operating licences revoked.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono and Mines minister Obert Mpofu openly opposed Kasukuwere’s new powers to cancel operating licences particularly in companies within their ambit.

Kasukuwere had threatened to withdraw banking licences of British-controlled banks such as Standard Chartered, Stanbic and Barclays if they did not immediately indigenise according to his March 2011 regulations.

Gono in response clearly stated that it was impossible to indigenise the sophisticated and sensitive banking industry using crude tactics as propounded by Kasukuwere.

Gono said he would not comply with any orders to withdraw banking licences as the RBZ was the only authority that licensed banks.

On the other hand, Mpofu took the same aggressive and confrontational stance against Kasukuwere when he tried to cancel Caledonia’s mining licence.

Mpofu said then as the minister in charge of granting mining licences he had not revoked Caledonia’s licence and would not do so.

Meanwhile, the indigenisation crusade is riding a new concept called community share ownership schemes targeted at mining firms.

Zimplats and Murowa mines have since had their $10 million community ownership schemes officially launched by President Mugabe recently.

President Mugabe on Wednesday launched another share ownership scheme in the capital at Schweppes Limited.

The scheme resulted in employees owning a 51 percent stake in the company with the remainder controlled by conglomerate Delta.

The MDCs and industry representatives have called for the revision of the indigenisation policy and review of the percentages of shares that can be offloaded to locals on a sector by sector basis.

However, Zanu PF and Kasukuwere have remained entrenched in their positions.

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