via Mugabe to use SADC chairmanship to promote indigenisation | SW Radio Africa. 10 June 2014 By Mthulisi Mathuthu
President Robert Mugabe will use Zimbabwe’s impending Sadc chairmanship to promote his controversial policies, among them the indigenisation and ‘land reform’ programmes, his party ZANU PF has said.
Mugabe, who is also the African Union’s First Deputy Chair, assumes the Sadc Chair from Malawi at the regional body’s summit scheduled for August in Victoria Falls.
ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the state media that Mugabe will ‘obviously try and promote the party’s model of development through indigenisation, empowerment and agriculture reform’ in the region.
Gumbo said those issues, including beneficiation, local ownership of resources and the unity among the Southern African nations, were ‘close to Mugabe’s heart’.
These revelations come at a time when land expropriation and indigenisation are seen as being at the center of Zimbabwe’s economic decline and the country’s failure to attract investment. Since 2000, when the land grab was launched, Zimbabwe’s economy has been in intensive care and the dovetailing indigenisation policy has made the situation even worse.
The indigenisation laws, which require foreign investors to cede 51 percent of their businesses to locals, have caused concern at an international level. The extent of global concern over the policy was revealed two months ago when former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki visited Mugabe to discuss the issue. Reports said Mbeki had been sent by concerned South African businessmen who want the law toned down.
Professor Tony Hawkins said whether Mugabe will succeed in selling his policies or not will depend on individual countries. He said: ‘Different governments and different administrations have different approaches to these issues. I think some governments may want to follow the policies of land reform and indigenisation but whether they will follow the same model as Zimbabwe will boil down to individual countries.’
He added: ‘Other countries may choose to follow their own national statutes and internal situations could determine the methods.’
This will not be the first attempt by ZANU PF to sell its developmental model abroad. At the height of the land grab ZANU PF was involved in an international campaign to sell its controversial land acquisition policy, with a view to sparking similar seizures across Africa.
Working with ZANU PF was the South African Pan-Africanist Congress and a research group called Africa Strategy, as well as shadowy ZANU PF linked lobby groups like Inyika Trust and Davira Mhere. Within South Africa, the Zimbabwean government tried to use other fringe groups such as the Manenzhe Community under chief Takalan in the Limpopo province, as well as the Landless People’s Movement.
In 2002 the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported that Zimbabwean authorities were ‘encouraging the landless lobby in South Africa to undertake an agenda that while embarrassing Mbeki, provides Mugabe with a regional political support network.’
Comments in the state media reports about Mugabe spreading his empowerment ideas, gave a clear indication of what Zimbabweans, who have to live with his policies, think. One said: “Sadc can never copy Zimbabwe’s empowerment policies. The results are too negative to ignore. Hospitals with no medicines, 80% joblessness, food insecurity (we actually rely on Western donors). Zimbabwean women begging at street corners in Jozi. Our economic model represent a model on HOW NOT TO RUN A COUNTRY.”