via Warring ministers bang heads, claim truce – NewZimbabwe 04/01/2016
ONE of the curious dramas in the Zanu PF government in recent months has been the constant public snipping at Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa by cabinet and senior ruling party colleagues.
Leading the charges lately have been empowerment minister Patrick Zhuwao, who has no parliamentary constituency but appears to draw his influence from the fact he is President Robert Mugabe’s nephew.
Also ganging up on Chinamasa was war veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa who has however, since gone mute after being threatened with expulsion for overreaching himself by apparently attacking the President’s wife.
Just before Christmas, Chinamasa – keen to attract investment into the crippled economy – announced changes to the country’s much-criticised empowerment policy.
And Zhuwao, post haste, emerged from his holiday to call a press conference where he dismissed the treasury chief as “treacherous”.
Mugabe’s nephew then told Zimbabweans and investors to ignore the changes announced by Chinamasa.
On Monday the two ministers addressed a joint press conference over the policy. They were chaperoned by Christian Katsande – the deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Also present was central bank governor John Mangudya.
The two Patricks claimed to have come to an understanding; but to the gathered reporters the tension between the duo was palpable and they could barely look at each other.
Chinamasa tried to downplay the public snipping of the last few months, describing them as robust debate within the ruling party.
“There has been a robust debate on this matter as you can testify and this is how it should be,” he explained.
“And following this robust debate we have also come up with a much improved product which we are going to distribute to you and which is very conducive to for investment.”
Zhuwao added: “Now that we have clarified the position, we do not expect any affected companies to remain defiant and non-compliant.
“We wish to emphasise that compliance with the Indeginisation Laws is the cornerstone of government policy as given to it by Zanu PF.
“These frameworks, guidelines and procedures have been developed in lie with ZimAsset to give added impetus towards compliance with the indigenisation and economic empowerment legislation.”
The cabinet has appeared divided over how to right the country’s long struggling economy with some ministers wary of Chinamasa’s pro-West policies.
The treasury chief’s critics want more fidelity to the ruling party’s so-called Look East policy and are concerned that trying to please potential investors in the West could undermine Mugabe’s indigenisation programme.
But the rows have also been read in the context of bitter divisions over the succession of the President who happens to turn 92 next month.