Indigenisation: MDC-T gropes for response

SIX years after government adopted the controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, the MDC-T is still trying to weigh the best policy response and has conceded that Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere has taken full advantage of its parlysis to push ahead with the programme.

Report by Herbert Moyo

The indigenisation policy was launched by the Zanu PF government in 2007 and the party has continued to force its implementation even after the formation of the government of national unity (GNU) with the MDC formations in 2009.

Zanu PF has made indigenisation the centrepiece of its election campaign, along with the land reform programme.

MDC-T policy documents indicate the party is sweating over three possible responses and acknowledges that in the interim, Kasukuwere is taking advantage of its lack of clarity to sow further confusion among its supporters.

The options as listed in the internal document entitled The MDC-T’s Response to Kasukuwere’s Indigenisation Policy range from outright opposition, engaging Zanu PF in dialogue or merely ignoring the programme — all with the aim of discrediting it as a detrimental “exclusively” Zanu PF policy akin to the land reform programme.

“The MDC-T could offer no resistance to the implementation of the (Indigenisation) Act in the hope that the public will perceive it as an exercise wholly driven by Zanu PF to the total exclusion of the MDC-T,” reads the document.

“In this scenario, the detrimental effects of the Act would be ascribed to Zanu PF. Kasukuwere has taken full advantage of the MDC’s ambivalence on the indigenisation issue. On numerous occasions he has indicated that he has the Prime Minister (Morgan Tsvangirai)’s support in implementing the provisions of the Indigenisation Act.”

Kasukuwere said on Wednesday in an interview he is receiving mixed signals from MDC-T ministers and parliamentarians and castigated their alleged lack of clarity which he pinned on “their desire to please the international community”, which militated against their co-operation in policies designed to benefit Zimbabweans.

“I have had to talk to Tsvangirai because he is the head of government and indigenisation is part of government policy,” said Kasukuwere. “The last time I checked with him, sometimes he would say ‘yes’ and other times he would say ‘no’, so as the responsible minister I had to take the initiative and implement government policy. The bottom line is the MDC-T does not know what they want and the party lacks an alternative policy to empower Zimbabweans.”

While the MDC-T initially opposed the programme, the party’s youth wing tried to secure funding for projects under the Youth Fund run by Old Mutual and the Indigenisation ministry.

MDC-T youth assembly secretary Promise Mkhwananzi is on record complaining about possible discrimination against party youths in the allocation of the funds, seemingly indicating the party’s desire to benefit from the programme.

Efforts to get a comment from MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora were futile.

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