Mugabe's nephew attacks finance minister over call for foreign investment

Harare – Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, has reportedly attacked fellow cabinet ministers, saying they risk being fired for lobbying for foreign direct investment.

The attack was aimed in particular at Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, News Day reported on Thursday.

This was not the first time that Chinamasa has been attacked by a fellow cabinet minister, as War Veterans Minister Chris Mutsvangwa also recently hit out at him, accusing him of working with the West to try and topple Mugabe.

This was after Chinamasa urged Zimbabweans to desist from politicising the country’s economic problems by blaming outsiders.

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe owed a number of countries and needed to re-engage creditors if the country was to prosper.

Zimbabwe has been reeling under economic hardships for more than a decade after sanctions were imposed against it in 2002 as a result of rising political violence ahead of that year's presidential elections.

Strategies to lift sanctions

"We should work out strategies to get those sanctions lifted - that means more engagement with those countries that say sanctions should continue. We should talk to them and we should consider it as a process," Chinamasa was quoted as saying at the time.

But Zhuwawo, who was recently appointed Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister, said the calls for the injection of foreign direct investment were against Zanu-PF's indigenisation policy.

Zhuwawo also accused Chinamasa of trying to cut back the civil service. New reported in July that government planned to reduce the public sector wage bill to 40% of total revenue from the current 80%.

Lower economic growth

The development signalled a move to reduce the government’s bloated civil service, amid a lower economic growth forecast of 1.5% from the initial 3.2%, the report said.

Chinamasa said this while presenting the mid-term fiscal review in parliament.

But Zhuwawo said thousands of the ruling Zanu-PF party youths would lose jobs if the plans to cut the civil service went ahead.

"Some are saying we are going to fire youth officers. Who do you think you can fire? It might be you who will go home first...," Zhuwawo was quoted as saying.