Tags: Zimbabwe | law | blacks | whites

Zimbabwe Law Forces White Firms to Blacks

Monday, 01 Mar 2010 10:13 AM


A law to force white-owned companies to surrender 51 per cent of their shareholdings to black Zimbabweans comes into effect today, amid panic in the country’s business sector and fears of a catastrophic slide back into economic chaos.

Six weeks from now all companies with a relatively modest asset value of at least US$500,000 (£325,000) will have to submit official forms detailing the race of each of their shareholders. If whites are in the majority they will have to submit their “indigenisation plans”, which have to be carried out within five years.

At his lavish $300,000 celebrations for his 86th birthday in the western city of Bulawayo on Saturday, President Mugabe compared the new law with his “revolutionary land reforms” that set off the seizure of white-owned farms ten years ago.

He said that only “indigenous people” could control the country’s resources. “We are saying no, no, no, the land is ours, the gold is ours, the uranium and the forests and the wildlife is ours.” Recently he declared that white Zimbabweans were “not indigenous, even though they were born here. They are the offspring of settlers.”

Western diplomats said that the laws were Mr Mugabe’s last trick to persuade people to vote for him in elections when the current power-sharing government comes to an end in about 2012.

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