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Biti blasts Mugabe over plans to seize companies

Biti’s comments, made at a Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) policy dialogue forum on Thursday, came as Zanu PF stepped up its threats to seize foreign-owned companies.


About 400 British-owned companies and South African-owned Zimplats and Nestle Zimbabwe have
already been singled out as the first targets of the exercise that has split the unity government.

Biti said the previous Zanu PF government had killed indigenous enterprises by chasing away resourceful businesspeople such as Nicholas Vingirai, Mutumwa Mawere, Strive Masiyiwa and James Makamba.

Most of the businesspeople skipped the country after moves were made to arrest them for allegedly externalising foreign currency.

“This government is the biggest threat to the black bourgeoisie,” Biti said.

“How do you stand up and talk of indigenisation when the likes of Vingirai, Mutumwa Mawere, and James Makamba can’t even live here?

“For 30 years this government was afraid of the black bourgeoisie and was happy with those businessmen that are found at growth points owning bottle stores.

“Strive Masiyiwa, the richest black Zimbabwean, is not staying here.

“My good friend Trevor Ncube (owner of Alpha Media Holdings) can’t stay here. These guys (Zanu PF) are so anti-black capital. This indigenisation they are talking of now is rubbish.”

Biti, who is also the secretary general of the MDC-T, said there was a clique in Zanu PF that was working hard to break the unity government through advocating for irrational policies.

“There is a small sect in Zanu PF that can’t wait to get power,” he said.

“If you are number two or three in line you know your time is coming but if you are number 76 you have to create a situation of total chaos and it’s that small sect that has engineered the violence that rocked the country and wants the Global Political Agreement to collapse.”

Analysts fear that the same Zanu PF officials who have run down productive commercial farms they seized in 2000 would be at the forefront of the company seizures.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a revival path since the formation of the unity government in 2009 but there are mounting fears President Robert Mugabe’s increasingly belligerent political rhetoric would wipe out all the gains.

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