Zimbabwe recently announced it was moving ahead with plans to require foreign-owned banks to give 51 percent ownership to locals. In an email interview, Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, a professor in the department of development studies at the University of South Africa, discussed Zimbabwe’s indigenization program.
WPR: What is the political and economic strategy behind Zimbabwe’s move to indigenize ownership in various sectors over the past few years?
Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni: Over the past 10 years, Zimbabwe has consolidated itself into a typical nationalist state as opposed to a neo-colonial state. The leitmotif of this nationalist state has been the ideology of “Chimurenga,” an articulation of history and politics in terms of a series of nationalist-inspired wars of resistance, dating back to 1896. As explained by President Robert Mugabe, the nationalist state of Zimbabwe under the Third Chimurenga seeks to achieve what is termed “conquest of conquest,” that is, the prevailing of Zimbabwean sovereignty over white settler colonialism. The core marker of the victory of nationalist forces is the repossession of land and the indigenization of the national economy. This is the official position.