via Zanu wants SADC to adopt indigenisation policy | The Zimbabwean 20 August 2014
President Robert Mugabe must use his one-year term as SADC chair to sell the message of indigenisation and black empowerment to the regional bloc’s member states, says Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.
Mugabe was on Sunday inaugurated as the new chair. He will hold the position for the next 12 months and takes over from Malawi’s newly elected Arthur Mutharika.
He fired the first salvo by rapping western governments for turning a blind eye to what he called Israeli brutality in Gaza where hundreds of people have been killed in interstate battles between Palestine and Israel.
Gumbo told The Zimbabwean: “It is an honour for President Robert Mugabe to be chosen as the chair of SADC and we hope that he will use his position to fight for indigenisation and empowerment, not only in Zimbabwe but throughout the region.”
He said the SADC’s choice of Mugabe was an indication that regional heads of government had realised the 90-year-old statesman had the capacity to lead the bloc.
Zanu (PF) has, over the years, pushed for the indigenisation of the economy through the empowerment of black citizens. It launched a land redistribution programme in 2000, which displaced close to 5,000 white commercial farmers purportedly to make way for thousands of landless blacks. Most of the prime farms went to the ruling elite.
The Zanu (PF) government also embarked on a business indigenisation programme that required foreign companies to cede a majority shareholding to blacks, even though it has now toned down its rhetoric.
President Robert Mugabe’s government has failed to compensate the displaced farmers for improvements on their farms.
Gumbo’s statements come shortly after the ANC’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, described Zimbabwe’s land reform programme as disastrous. “Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa but is a disaster today,” Mantashe said, after addressing a meeting about land reform and food security in Johannesburg last Wednesday.
“We will not expropriate land without compensation because that would be disastrous,” he said. “We are not going to grab your farms. If your land is sold, it will be for compensation.”
The hawkish indigenisation policy that Zanu (PF) has been pursuing to woo voters is being blamed for scaring away investors.