Youth Development Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Deputy Minister, Tongai Matutu, has warned the country’s black empowerment lobby groups against evicting foreigners operating their retail businesses in the Central Business District of Harare and other towns through out the country.

Youth Development Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Deputy Minister, Tongai Matutu, has warned the country’s black empowerment lobby groups against evicting foreigners operating their retail businesses in the Central Business District of Harare and other towns through out the country.

Matutu said the government had set up a board which would investigate and recommend which foreigners are to be evicted by the government in line with the requirements of the Indigenization Act. Under the controversial Indigenization Law retail businesses in the CBD are a preserve for indigenous Zimbabweans.

The Zanu (PF)-sponsored Affirmative Action Group(AAG) and the Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic Empowerment Organization had demanded that all foreigners  who are operating retail shops  in the CBD of Harare should  be evicted.

They threatened to attack the foreigners should the government fail to evict them.

“We understand that a lot of our  people have  nowhere to do their  business due to the large influx of foreigners, mainly Nigerians and Chinese, who in recent  years  took  all the retail space, but  we are  saying  no to xenophobia attacks,” said Matutu.

“The government has established the Zimbabwe National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) that oversees the requirements of indigenous and disadvantaged people. It  is  this  board  which will identify those  areas and  give  the  government  it recommendations  for action and  this  will be  done  in accordance with the law as  of the country.

“We  want to remind Zimbabweans  that  no one  is  above the law  and anyone  caught  on the  wrong  side  will  be dealt with accordingly,”said Matutu  in a  telephone interview.

The Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act defines an indigenous Zimbabwean as “any person who, before the 18th April 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person, and includes any company, association, syndicate or partnership of which indigenous Zimbabweans form the majority of the members or hold the controlling interest”.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic Empowerment Organization President Paddington Japajapa said they were going to take legal action against foreigners in the country.

“We  have this time decided to  take  this  matter legally instead  of doing  it violently  because  we  do no want Zimbabweans  to be accused  of xenophobic attacks,” he aid.

Affirmative Action Group President Supa Mandiwanzira said they were going to put pressure to the government to evict foreigners.

“The law is clear on this issue. We can not let foreigners to come all the way from China and come bake bread here. These are the areas which our people should take up, and as AAG were are going to push government to apply the law,” he said.

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