PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party said yesterday it would increase black ownership of the economy in the next five years after its landslide election victory, adding to investors’ concerns about the party’s political dominance.
The stock exchange’s main Industrial Index shed 1,7%, extending Monday’s 11% slide, as investors on the $5 billion Harare bourse digested the extent of the Zanu PF win, which puts it in position to enact laws and change the Constitution at will.
The local unit of Barclays Plc, Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, plunged 20% and top hotelier Meikles Limited was down 18,75%.
Before the July 31 election, the index hit a series of highs on hopes Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai might unseat the 89-year-old Mugabe at his third time of trying.
On Tuesday, Zanu PF ran full-page advertisements in newspapers saying its crushing election win was an endorsement of “black economic empowerment” plans that target foreign-owned companies including banks and mines.
“The people of Zimbabwe have given President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF a clear mandate to transform the economy through indigenisation and economic empowerment,” the party said.
“Over the next five years, Zimbabwe is going to witness a unique wealth transfer model that will see ordinary people take charge of the economy.”
Zanu PF says it has set its eyes on 1 100 foreign-owned firms.
It also pledged to leverage mineral reserves ranging from gold, to diamonds, to platinum, to raise money to prop up an economy still emerging from a decade-long recession.
Many Zimbabweans also fear reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar, a possibility alluded to by Mugabe and senior Zanu PF official Patrick Chinamasa, who called the 2009 move to the United States currency a “strategic retreat”.
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party is challenging Mugabe’s victory in court.
The legal challenge should be made by Friday and the Constitution says the courts must rule on the case within 14 days.
Mugabe can be sworn in only after the courts give the all-clear.
With State revenues dwindling due to a pre-election growth slow-down, economists say the new administration will face immediate spending pressures, particularly from poor farmers demanding seed and fertiliser for the September planting season.