Zimbabwe?: Tsvangirai backs empowerment law


Posted on June 10, 2011 09:10

A newly confident Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, buoyed by recent support from regional leaders, surprised delegates to the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town by declaring his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was fully behind legislation allocating a major share of foreign enterprises to Zimbabweans.

“Everyone thought the indigenisation policy was dreamed up by [President Robert Mugabe’s] ZANU-PF on the back of land reform,” he told The Africa Report. “But it is also a policy of the MDC and of the government of national unity. We are determined to ensure the majority of the population participates in the economy. The details are open to discussion but not the framework.” ?

Tsvangirai said the law, passed in March and giving companies six months to allocate a majority stake to national stakeholders, was not an expropriation or nationalisation strategy. He said there could be negotiations around a “voluntary” minimum threshold, which in the case of the mining sector would be around 26%. “They will still invest,” he said.

Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed that talks were in progress with top platinum producers ­Angloplat and Implats.

Tsvangirai said his aim was to make Zimbabwe a “$100bn economy”, growing at a rate of 10% over 20 years. But legitimacy had first to be restored by “free, fair and credible” elections, which would require a minimum timetable of eight months to approve a new constitution, draw up a new voters’ roll and agree proposals to monitor violence.

A regional summit of Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders in Zambia on 30 March backed Tsvangirai’s demand that national elections, which Mugabe wanted this year, be delayed until May-June 2012.

In mid-May, Mugabe dismissed as “misplaced” concerns aired by South African mediators that his health problems could jeopardise progress on the path to constitutional reform.

This article was first pubished in the June 2011 edition of The Africa Report

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.