Saturday, February 27, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) Indigenization irreversible, says Mnangagwa

Indigenization irreversible, says Mnangagwa
Sat, 27 Feb 2010 12:34:00 +0000

ZIMBABWE will not be apologetic in anyway in empowering the previously marginalised indigenous people and remains unrelenting in the quest to achieve full sovereignty over its resources, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

The defence minister's sentiments were echoed by Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere who said the new empowerment law was meant to correct the economic imbalances that exist in the country. The regulations come into effect on Monday.

They stipulate that all companies that have a value of more than US$500 000 should submit their shareholding structure to the Government in less than 45 days in order to facilitate the five-year indigenisation process.

Addressing delegates attending the closing reception of the 26th Zimbabwe/Botswana Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) in Victoria Falls on Thursday night, Minister Mnangagwa said: "Despite the punitive and illegal sanctions imposed upon us by Britain and her allies, we remain unrelenting in our quest to achieve full sovereignty over our resources."

Minister Mnangagwa said African countries should not be bullied into letting go of their natural resources.

"We need to demand fair value for our products on the world market. When one looks at Zimbabwe's argument with Britain and how this simple bilateral issue has been internationalised, one is left with no doubt that the imperialist countries are alarmed at the prospect of an Africa that would one day rise to claim full sovereignty over its resources," he said.

He said Africa would remain underdeveloped if its people were not given an opportunity to control their own resources, which he said where mainly in the hands of the few.

"The Euro-centric approach seeks to attribute Africa's underdevelopment and poverty to misrule, corruption and above all a clear lack of vision on the part of the African leadership. This perception of Africa has been systematically marketed to the world by the powerful international press.

"Thus an enduring image of a continent that can never work has been created."

Minister Mnangagwa noted that the conflict resolution mechanism, which is vibrant in Southern Africa demonstrates the capacity by member states to resolve issues between themselves in a constructive manner.

Addressing businesspeople at a Bulawayo hotel yesterday, Minister Kasukuwere said the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was meant to improve the lives of indigenous people.

"The Act seeks to correct the economic imbalances that exist in the country as we can't ignore the reality. We are not against the minority, we are saying let's open the doors and let's work together for the benefit of the indigenous people," he said.

"We should not leave the lives of 14 million Zimbabweans at the hands of the multi-nationals and the minority."
Minister Kasukuwere refuted claims that only the rich local businesspeople would benefit from the indigenisation programme, saying the Act gave priority to disadvantaged groups.

"The biggest worry from the people in the country is who will benefit from the indigenisation programme as they do not have any problem with the Act. The regulations of the Act give first priority to a worker, management, women, disabled, youths and there is nowhere in which prominent businesspeople are given the priority as it will be useless to remove the minority and replace them with another minority.

"The Act is meant to benefit the indigenous people as a whole, not those that have already benefited," he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Minister Kasukuwere's deputy, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, said everyone was in support of the economic empowerment and indigenisation, but some were against the methods used.

"We don't want anything that will divide the country especially considering where we are coming from.

"We have agreed that together we can do a lot of things. No one is against economic empowerment and indigenisation but some people have expressed concerns on the method being used," said Mahlangu.

"We should not scare away investors when the country is still undergoing economic recovery."

The National Economic Indigenisation and Empowerment Act was passed by Parliament before being signed into law by President Mugabe in 2008.

Meanwhile, Botswana's Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Dikgakgamatso Ndelu Seretse said his country would always stand by Zimbabwe adding that problems were there to be solved amicably without causing unnecessary tensions.

"We stood by you when there was outside interference, we will stand by you in future. We should stand together despite these little misunderstandings. What we stand for is beyond us. Let's not mourn over the past but find ways for the development of our countries," he said at the end of the Zimbabwe/Botswana Joint Permanent Commission meeting in Victoria Falls.

Turning his attention to the media, Seretse said: "In life one needs to be patient. Good things come to those who wait. Let us be calm and not over-sensationalise issues in the media. That can have negative implications on our resolutions," he said.

Seretse was leading a Botswana delegation that included the country's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gladys Kokorwe, and the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sasara George.

The delegation also included the Commander of the Botswana Defence Forces, Commissioner of Police, Director-General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security and other senior Government officials.

Also attending the meeting were service chiefs, parks officials and immigration officers from the two countries.

Relations between the two countries soured when Zimbabwe arrested three armed Batswana rangers who had illegally entered the country using an undesignated entry point. They were later convicted by a Hwange magistrate and released after paying a US$100 fine each.

At the height of the dispute, Botswana's Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani said they would recall their diplomats at the end of this month, and called upon Harare to also recall its officials.

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