Africa Union (AU) Chairperson, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, today rallied African states to emulate his country’s economic policies that have seen farms and industries being seized from former white owners. The Zimbabwean economy has been on a free fall after the Mugabe led government launched a fast track Land Reform programme that saw white farmers being dispossessed of their land in 2002.
The Indigenisation policy, which compels foreign owned firms with a minimum shareholding of $500 000 to cede majority shareholding to locals, has been blamed for scaring away potential investors. Mugabe, speaking at celebrations to mark his 91st birthday in Victoria Falls today, seemed unaware of the debilitating effects of his government’s policies on the economy when he urged other African states to follow suit saying this would address colonial imbalances.
Zimbabwe has seen a serious reduction in the number of foreign investors after it launched campaigns aimed at dispossessing white owners of their property.
“It was this goal envisaged by the founding fathers of our independence in Africa. It is important that the dream of African fathers of achieving economic independence be realised. Through the historic Land Reform Programme, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment policy and now our economic blueprint, ZimAsset, Zimbabwe is now a shining example of what it means to be independent,” said Mugabe.
“My life has been about advancing these causes. Firstly, I had to join others in getting rid of what was the major political problem of outsiders who were called settlers ruling us. They had turned us into semi-slaves, nothing more than just servants, labourers for them.”
Zimbabwe’s much touted empowerment policies have been condemned for providing a looting platform for political elites, including the First family. Today, Mugabe threatened to seize farms owned by the remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe, a move that is likely to further deter potential investors to the Southern African country. European countries are on record saying that threats to seize farms are a big impediment to foreign direct investments.
by Edgar Gweshe