Nestlé shuts down Zimbabwe plant

Harare – Nestle Zimbabwe has closed shop in Zimbabwe following threats by government ministers and Zanu PF business terrorist group, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), that it would be taken over for refusing to buy milk from Grace Mugabe's Gushungo Farm.

Empowerment and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, all senior members of President Mugabe’s ZANU PF party, descended on Nestle’s factory in the capital Harare last Saturday and demanded that the food manufacturer takes in a tanker of milk from Mugabe’s farm.

Kasukuwere and Made, who also serve as President Robert Mugabe’s farm manager were accompanied by two senior police officers namely Chief Superintendent Chrispen Makedenge and Detective Inspector Henry Sostein Dowa.

Makedenge, the officer commanding the Law and Order section of the Harare Police Station and Dowa have been associated over the years with the arrest of opposition politicians, journalists and human rights activists.

Also in tow was Farai Mutamangira, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) Vice President and Harare lawyer. The AAG has in the past threatened to take over Nestle if it continues to refuse to take milk from Grace Mugabe’s Gushungo Farm.

The State-owned Herald confirmed the closure on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe will soon be implementing its Indigenisation Act which requires foreign owned companies to give up its 51 percent shareholding.

Kasukuwere told The Herald on Monday that there was a new strategy of using local companies with foreign shareholders to impose sanctions on the country. He gave Nestle as an example of such companies.

Kasukuwere warned companies that are pursuing that agenda that the Government would not hesitate to bring them under local control to ease their burden of having to report to foreign shareholders.

“We will bring under indigenous control all companies that continue to pursue the policy of sanctions,” he warned.

He said these companies were importing raw materials that were available locally and in doing so thwarting efforts to create jobs in Zimbabwe. “They are ignoring local producers. If they don’t want to support local producers, tough luck to them,” said Minister Kasukuwere.

The issue of sanctions is one of the outstanding issues stalling progress of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Zanu PF is campaigning for Western sanctions to go and has put the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) under pressure to make sure the sanctions are scrapped.