Robert Mugabe
10 January 2012 – The Times Live reports that ZANU-PF is to intensify its campaign to force foreign-owned companies to surrender majority shareholdings or give equities to Zimbabwean nationals through community share trusts.

Senior Zanu-PF officials told the Sunday Times this week there would be an escalation of the grabbing of foreign companies’ equities through community share trusts soon after President Robert Mugabe has returned from his annual holiday in the Far East early next month.

After raiding firms like South African-owned Zimplats, Old Mutual and Meikles, Mugabe and Zanu-PF are expected to ratchet up pressure on foreign-owned firms to force them to parcel out shares to Mugabe’s supporters as part of its bid to avoid a defeat at the polls.

"There is going to be a relentless intensification and broadening of the indigenisation and empowerment campaign soon after the president has returned to work. We are going to visit big companies one by one and demand that they surrender majority shareholdings or accommodate us through community share trusts," a senior Zanu-PF politburo member said.

"We make no apologies for this. It’s part of our campaign strategy. Between 2000 and 2008, land reform was our campaign driving force, but now it is indigenisation," he said.

Another official said Zanu-PF had realised that efforts to seize 51% of foreign companies were not working, or would take too long, and decided to go the community share trust route.

"The thrust of our indigenisation policy has been shifting and changing since we started working on it. Although we have not announced and acknowledged this, we have changed the policy in many ways. When we started we wanted 51% straightaway, then we went the sectorial and measured approach – and now we have adopted the community share trust method."

The government has been trying to take over foreign-owned companies without requisite funding, confirming its real motive is to grab private property under the guise of indigenisation. The envisaged Sovereign Wealth Fund to bankroll the programme is penniless.

Zanu-PF has also formed its own Youth Empowerment Fund to finance its partisan indigenisation and development activities linked to election campaigns. It has prevailed over the biggest commercial bank, CBZ Bank, to provide direct loans to its youth members.

The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe has been forced to provide funding to youth projects, while the bankrupt ZABG has been providing support to vocational training centres to further Zanu-PF activities and agendas.

Zanu-PF also wants to push its youth members who have no funding and experience into capital-intensive and difficult sectors of the economy, like mining.

Last year Zimplats was forced to set a community share trust covering the Chegutu, Mhondoro, Ngezi, Zvimba and Chivero areas.

Similar trusts will be set up around the Marange diamond fields and the Murowa, Hwange and Mimosa mining areas.

Original report: Reuters.