Foreign firms in Zimbabwe have till April 1 to sell shares to blacks or close

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe © Philimon Bulawayo
Companies owned by foreigners face closure unless they sell or give up 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans by April 1, announced Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao.

“Comply by that date or close shop, comply by that date or face the full wrath of the law,” Bloomberg quotes Zhuwao, who is also President Robert Mugabe’s nephew.

This month, the IMF asked the Mugabe administration to clarify the country’s policy on black empowerment. Zimbabwe has agreed to major reforms including compensation for evicted white farmers.

Harare says it expects an IMF loan in the third quarter of this year, the first since 1999, after repaying foreign lenders $1.8 billion by the end of June.

President Mugabe is known for evicting white farmers. In 2010, the Guardian reported that Mugabe used land reform to reward his allies rather than ordinary black Zimbabweans. The newspaper’s sources reported Mugabe and his supporters owned about 40 percent of the land seized from white farmers.

The white farmers received no compensations after being evicted.

“If white settlers just took the land from us without paying for it, we can, in a similar way, just take it from them without paying for it,” said Mugabe.

However, Mugabe’s allies have hinted that at least some of the evicted farmers can return.

Zimbabwe is known for its mineral resources. It has the world’s second-biggest deposit of chrome and platinum after South Africa.