Mliswa wants indigenisation audit

Outspoken Zanu-PF MP Temba Mliswa says that he will demand an audit of the indigenisation programme because only top officials have so far benefitted from the plan.

Mliswa said indigenisation had not been broad-based, so it needed to be reviewed through an audit.

He said President Robert Mugabe’s vision of redistributing wealth was noble, but the problem revolved around how it was being implemented.

He said there had not been an audit of who had benefitted from the programme so far, and one of the issues that he would champion in Parliament was better transparency.

“There hasn’t been an audit of the transactions. There are companies who have complied with the indigenisation law such as Zimplats and Unki, but we do not know who has benefitted.”

In a veiled attack on former youth development, indigenisation and empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Mliswa said: “There would be no sacred cows. We stand to hold ministers accountable. There must be transparency in programmes that are people-oriented. It’s pretty clear that the programme has to be evaluated.”

Zimbabwe’s controversial indigenisation programme compels foreign-owned companies to sell, cede or donate a 51% stake to indigenous people by 2015 under various schemes, which include employment share schemes and community share trusts.

The law has, however, been criticised by investment analysts as an impediment to attracting vital foreign direct investment.

Last year, Mliswa fell out with Kasukuwere, who is now the water resources minister, after he alleged that the empowerment deals were conducted “in the dead of the night”.

“We believe that business must be concluded between 8am and 4pm and not between 6pm and midnight,” said Mliswa at the time.

Earlier this year, Mliswa said that he had written to Kasukuwere demanding that names of beneficiaries of the programme be published.

He threatened to go to court to force the minister to comply.

Kasukuwere moved
In Mugabe’s new government, which was announced recently, Kasukuwere was moved from the indigenisation ministry to the environment, water and climate ministry, which was previously headed by Francis Nhema, who has now taken over Kasukuwere’s old portfolio.

Political analysts said the move was a demotion for Kasukuwere.

Rugare Gumbo, Zanu-PF’s spokesperson, said it was too early to respond to enquiries because the government has recently been constituted.

“The government was just constituted and Parliament was opened on Tuesday. There are new ministers in place, so I think you should ask them. Ask Nhema,” he said.

Asked for comment on Mliswa’s request, Nhema said he would only start commenting on his new portfolio next week.

But when opening Parliament on Tuesday, Mugabe said the indigenisation laws would be reviewed.

He hinted that the national indigenisation and empowerment fund would be capitalised to enable it to drive the implementation process.

Mliswa is not without controversy. In the past he has been arrested on charges of corruption and extortion in relation to dealings with former white commercial farmers. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the courts.

Mliswa’s arrest came after he had told a local newspaper that police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri was corrupt, but he is understood to have privately asked for forgiveness.


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Kudzai Mashininga
Kudzai Mashininga

Mashininga is an experienced Zimbabwean journalist.

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