MDC position on nationalisation undermined by ZANU PF

The MDCs attempts to encourage investment in Zimbabwe are once again being undermined by ZANU PF, with the two parties displaying vastly different opinions on the contentious issue of nationalisation.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday was forced to counter claims made by a ZANU PF minister that the government had resolved to nationalise the mining sector. Earlier in the day ZANU PFs Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, told an investment conference that the government was set to nationalise 51% of the mining sector to form a sovereign wealth fund to finance development.

This Friday we are gazetting the minimum threshold for the mining sector. We need the 51% (equity) to come into our sovereign wealth fund, Kasukuwere said. We are all agreed as a government, he added. It was left to Tsvangirai to backtrack on this, telling the same conference that nothing had yet been agreed to by cabinet.

As far as I am concerned, the cabinet has not adopted minimum thresholds for companies and for sectors, Tsvangirai said.

Commentators have said that these mixed messages from the so-called unity government are doing little to encourage already nervous potential investors. CNNs correspondent, Robyn Curnow said on Thursday that the conflicting comments have managed to highlight exactly why it is still deeply risky to invest in Zimbabwe.

Economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that such conflicting messages will be detrimental to Zimbabwes investment potential in the future. He said this was symptom of the election fever beginning to burn in Zimbabwe, arguing that ZANU PF will use any opportunity to undermine the MDC if elections are to be called soon. These kinds of messages, political or not, will definitely tone down the appetite for investors to get involved in Zimbabwe, Mhlanga said.

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