10 June 2013

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's Nephew Ordered to Surrender 'Stolen' Office Space

Robert Mugabe's nephew Leo Mugabe has been ordered by the High Court to surrender the premises of a Chinese owned firm in Harare that he illegally seized last week.

Leo took over the offices on Nelson Mandela Avenue last Wednesday, when he reportedly ordered all the firm's employees to leave the premises. He then allegedly secured the office with new locks, stating he wanted to put in new management at company.

The firm affected is a Chinese run group called Hwange Coal Gasification Company.

The firm's lawyer, Everson Samukange, accused Mugabe's nephew of applying the "laws of the jungle."

"He (Leo Mugabe) had taken the law into his hands. He had no court order authorising him to act in that manner. He was applying the law of the jungle, that is the reason why we went to court," Samukange is quoted as saying by NewsDay.

Samukange said Leo Mugabe had declared to have taken over the firm with the intention of changing the management board and the whole company set-up.

The actions by Mugabe's nephew have been described as a symptom of a wider ZANU PF-created problem in Zimbabwe, where property rights no longer have any value.

For years, ZANU PF used the land grab campaign as a political weapon, rewarding its top officials with farmland and promising its followers the same.

The focus has now shifted to companies, with the indigenisation policy replacing the land 'reform' policy. This policy requires foreign owned companies to cede half of their shares to local Zimbabweans. But the programme is being described as part of ZANU PF's electioneering strategy.

Economic analyst John Robertson said the policies have left foreign owned firms vulnerable, to the point that investment has dropped off significantly. He emphasised that "none of the answers lie in the economic field because the problem is purely political."

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