Soldiers to get shares

Top army commanders plan to offer shareholding in foreign firms to serving soldiers in exchange for their loyalty to President Robert Mugabe ahead of the next election.


Highly-placed military sources said Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere would be directed to prioritise soldiers in the indigenisation exercise. Their applications will be separated from those of civilians.

It is understood that an internal army taskforce will receive the applications from soldiers interested in muscling into foreign firms under the terms of the controversial indigenisation legislation.

A budget is being drawn up to help to pay for soldiers to get a stake in targeted foreign enterprises. The source said this would be funded by the Sovereign Wealth Fund, believed to be based on diamond revenues.

Soldiers would be allocated shareholding in a "hit list" of firms, but top-ranking officers would have the first go at the big businesses, he said. The list includes British American Tobacco, Barclays Bank, Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered, CABS Building Society, Old Mutual, Rio Tinto, Anglo American Corp, Impala Platinum, Zimplats, Freda Rebecca, Falgold, Metallon Gold, Aquarius Platinum, Mimosa Mining Company, Unki Platinum Mines, Murray & Roberts, Border Timbers, Hippo Valley Sugar Estates, Triangle Sugar Estates, Chevron, BP, Shell, Engen, David Whitehead, Edgars Stores, National Tyre Services, Delta Corporation, Circle Cement, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Bata Shoe Company, Spar and Coca Cola.

Some of the companies on the list already have majority black shareholders and government is involved in some of them. The shareholding will become one of a long list of incentives to those in the army, where first preference for jobs is given to children of soldiers and war veterans.

One officer, who declined to be named, said: "We have been told we will have first preference ahead of everyone else. I think it’s good if they are paying for equity, then its not expropriation, right? We are all excited."

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