Kasukuwere isolated

YOUTH Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, is under pressure to recuse himself from the indigenisation of local banks following the collapse of a financial institution linked to him and failure to meet some of his financial obligations.

Kasukuwere and National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board chairperson, David Chapfika are championing the indigenisation of banks. But questions have been raised over their competence and intentions after two financial institutions in which they had stakes collapsed.

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Chapfika was part of Unibank, which collapsed in 2000 while Kasukuwere had a sizeable stake in Genesis although he argues he sold his interest before the investment bank surrendered its banking licence to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) after failing to meet its minimum capital threshold.

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Recently, Kasukuwere also confirmed in the House of Assembly that he was one of the ZANU-PF officials fingered for defaulting on payments to power utility, ZESA, a development partly blamed on increased load-shedding straining industry.

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The pressure on the two to recuse themselves comes at a time when the Affirmative Action Group said it was not aware of the persons who were benefitting from the empowerment programme with RBZ governor, Gideon Gono saying universally anyone who was near a failed bank was not a fit and proper person to deal with banking matters or to ever own, run or talk about the ownership of a bank again until cleared by the central bank. 

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This week, financial analyst, Lance Mambondi-ani, said Kasukuwere’s approach to the issue was damaging.

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“I am on record saying I do not believe that Kasukuwere’s approach is helpful. What is needed is a sectoral approach, and the other thing is that the banking sector is sensitive,” said Mambondiani.

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The analyst said the other problem is that there is a conflict between the country’s quota law and the banking Act.

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Economic commentator, Eric Bloch, said as a result of the pair’s performance and history it was long overdue that the two excused themselves from matters concerning banks.

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“I believe they should recuse themselves because they are assuming powers which Parliament never gave to them. They are acting far beyond the Indigenisation Act and they should cease to be engaged in with this,” said Bloch.

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The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) South Africa branch also had no kind words for Kasukuwere and Chapfika.

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“Saviour Kasukuwere is behaving like a rabid dog that believes it has to bite someone or something to relinquish its own pain and suffering as evidenced by his continued mad approach to indigenisation,” said the South African chapter of the MDC.

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“The effects of his smash and grab tactics have begun to be felt in the economy with companies reporting retrenchments as a result of the poorly thought and irrationally executed indigenisation programme.” – Fingaz