News and Views
Zimbabwe – Mugabe changes tack on China and says there must be conditions for investment
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has turned the tables on his Chinese allies saying Zimbabwe would be stupid to accept investment from China and any other foreign country without pre-conditions.
This contradicted Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who was once quoted saying the Chinese would not be affected by the indigenisation regulations.
Addressing the Zanu PF 13th Annual National People’s Conference in Gweru, Mugabe warned the Chinese that they would no longer be protected from the controversial indigenisation laws, which compel foreign-owned companies to cede 51% shareholding to locals.
“Even our Chinese friends, you have to accept our rules here if you want to work with us,” he said.
Mugabe said the Chinese should respect local conditions and vice-versa.
“We have to work on a reciprocal basis,” he said.
Mugabe said foreign investors were free to bring in their capital and technology, but should never dream of owning land and majority shareholding in local companies. “This will be robbery, theft,” he thundered. “If you are a leader and agree to this robbery, then you are not a good custodian of your people’s resources.”
He said it was time 100% indigenisation was introduced, claiming the country had now done enough to acquire 51% shareholding in foreign-owned companies.
He said mining would be the first sector to be affected by the proposed 100% indigenisation.
Meanwhile, Mugabe has been challenged by party supporters to walk the talk and stop making empty threats after he said he would fire all ministers fingered in corruption.
Mugabe said he was informed by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki that his trusted lieutenants were demanding bribes of up to US$5 million from potential investors claiming part of the bribes were meant for him.
Immediately after the threat, ministers could be seen fidgeting in their seats while the rest of the delegates applauded and pointed at them.
Delegates at the Gweru Convention Centre could be heard murmuring that the President should stop exciting people and pulling a ruse over people’s face.
“The President always says things that excite us, but never acts,” said a delegate, who for obvious reasons, declined to be identified. allAfrica