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Mugabe stirs nationalist fervor, pushes forward with indigenisation

Eighty-nine-year-old Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is determined to conclude the final phase of his “indigenisation” policy – an economic law under which black Zimbabweans must hold at least a 51% stake in foreign-owned firms.

Recently re-elected for the seventh time, the president addressed a Defence Forces Day rally on Tuesday dismissing allegations that his electoral win was a sham and vowing redistribute the country’s wealth through “total indigenization, empowerment, development and employment,” Reuters reports.

The 2010 law forced foreign-owned mining companies to sell their majority shares to locals. Now, under the final phase, it’s possible that banks are next. During the election period – in an effort to rally support – Mugabe stated that he would take the policy one step further by offering no compensation for the shares taken.

Investors have long feared putting their money in Zimbabwe because of political instability and the ruling party’s strong nationalist agenda. But some major miners are operating in the country including Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings (IMP:JS) and Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO).

Before turning his attention to miners, the president reduced white ownership of farms, transferring them to black citizens and about 39 to himself. 

Morgan Tsvangirai- Mugabe’s opponent who is challenging the election results in court – had been promising to reverse some of these policies by returning farms and the indigenisation law.