Jambanja doesn’t worry Lonrho

Plans for £50m investment to go ahead
As militant sections of the Mugabe regime prepare to invade and cause chaos in industry by taking over foreign-owned businesses, the diversified multinational Lonrho PLC is planning to invest at least £50 million in real estate, hotels an

d the tourism sector.
The government has announced that is preparing a bill to empower it to forcibly take over majority stakes in all foreign-owned firms. Dubbed the urban jambanja, this is reminiscent of the bloody scenes that characterized the land grab of 2000, and the subsequent collapse of the once-vibrant economy.
Members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on industry and economic development have sounded a clear warning against such a move, but youths and war vets have declared their willingness to spearhead the campaign.
The committee has already received submissions from various stakeholders giving warnings about the serious dangers of the plan.
Mugabe has been talking about the “empowerment of our people” at public gatherings and highly-placed sources have said that the take-over of foreign-owned business would be one of the regime’s election campaign points ahead of next year’s polls.
Zanu (PF) spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira however claimed that “it is not going to be done that way, it will follow the proper procedures of a bill being taken to parliament and then signed into law”.
Despite all this, Lonrho believes Zimbabwe offers a significant opportunity for growth and is going ahead with raising the money.
In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean this week, David Lenigas, Lonrho’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive, said the company would soon register a subsidiary, LonZim, to spearhead substantial investment in Zimbabwe and create many desperately needed jobs.
Lenigas emphasized that the money would come from investors around the world – mainly Asia and Africa – not just from the UK.
“Things can only go one way and that’s up. Someone needs to put money into Zimbabwe because people need jobs. We are not supporting anybody. This is purely a business investment. In the future Zimbabwe will need more hotels and shopping malls. We will work to bring more tourists to the country,” he said.
Lenigas explained that the establishment of LonZim offered Lonrho shareholders an opportunity to participate while minimizing the risk by channeling investment through a separate listed vehicle.
“It is intended that LonZim will invest 80% in commercial property opportunities but will also look to identify Zimbabwean assets and companies with the potential to grow rapidly with the benefit of investment and international management expertise. Lonrho has the people in place to offer support and advice to LonZim and its projects,” he added. – Staff reporter

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