Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has a rather odd wish he hopes to accomplish before leaving government, which is to have a white maid or gardener.
Kasukuwere, a Zanu PF official, says his forefathers worked as domestic servants for white people, and now he wants the situation flipped. Addressing a seminar on youth empowerment in Masvingo Thursday, Kasukuwere said the controversially-crafted Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act provided black people with an opportunity to take charge of the economy and advance their prospects.
The law compels foreign or white-owned companies to cede a 51 percent stake to "indigenous people" who were disadvantaged by racial imbalances before independence from white minority rule in 1980.
"We are not against them because they are white, we only want to become what they were, we are only closing the gap," Kasukuwere was quoted as saying by VOA.
Kasukuwere accused Finance Minister Tendai Biti of sabotaging the black empowerment initiative by not availing adequate financial resources for youth programmes.
Biti and Kasukuwere have differed sharply on the indigenisation law with the MDC-T minister saying it scares away foreign investors and therefore, damages the already fragile economy. But Kasukuwere, backed by his Zanu PF party, argues that black Zimbabweans should be allowed to take control of all sectors of the economy, including mining firms and banks.
The two ministers went head-to-head over the hot button subject on a live StarFM broadcast Wednesday. Biti said an MDC-T government would review the empowerment regulations and ensure they are "not about percentages" but about "genuine empowerment."
Kasukuwere countered that Biti was actually working against black empowerment. While concern abounds over the economic ramifications of the 51 percent equity requirement, President Robert Mugabe pitched a more radical approach last week saying it’s perhaps time for the government to require white-owned companies to transfer full ownership to blacks.
"I think now we have done enough of 51 percent. Let it be 100 percent. If you don't want to abide by the rules go away," Mugabe told a Zanu PF conference in Gweru.