Mugabe Forces Nestle To Shut Down
For refusing to buy milk from Robert Mugabe's Gushungo Farm (whose dairy cows are shown on display at an Agricultural Show above), Nestle has been hounded out of Zimbabwe, forced to cease operations, throwing hundreds and perhaps ultimately thousands of people out of work. Not a squeak from those who should have a conscience in this Inclusive Government as we export jobs (Nestle products will now mostly likely be imported for our shops from South Africa)
Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 December 2009
Nestle Zimbabwe, by far the biggest and most dominant supplier of processed dairy products in Zimbabwe, has been forced by the Mugabe family and its supporters to shut down.
The company only says it has "suspended" operations and does not give reasons.
It does not take much to figure out what is happening. Nestle were buying milk from Gushungo Farm, owned and operated by the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe until protests about their propping Mugabe up financially and profiting from "stolen land".
The Zimbabwe operation of the company then stopped buying milk from the First lady's farm and immediately came under attack from Mugabe's supporters.
Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Youth in the Inclusive Government and high-ranking member of Mugabe's ZANU PF threatened a few days ago that "we" would hand over companies such as Nestle to black people (read ZANU PF people).
Kasukuwere and other Mugabe supporters were claiming that Nestle's actions were tantamount to the imposition of sanctions on the First Family.
There were reports last month that Nestle had resumed buying Grace's milk, but the shut down of their operation last week here in Zimbabwe says otherwise.
ZANU PF officials are not hiding their glee at the shut down of Nestle. They are now publicly accusing the company of importing raw materials "that are available locally". The company is said to have used Zimbabwe "simply for toll manufacturing".
It is their fault now, apparently, that the Government of Zimbabwe has failed to put in policies that create jobs for the people of Zimbabwe. Yet, by forcing Nestle to shut down (and not even hiding their pleasure at the shut down), ZAU PF has just thrown a lot of workers at the company and downstream out of work.
A couple of thousand more people will be walking the streets jobless.
What is even sadder is that Zimbabweans, especially Zimbabwean parents, who rely on Nestle infant and toddler milk and milk products will simply import the stuff. Soon, supermarkets will realise that this is the way to go and will also import Nestle products to sell in their shops. The imports will almost certainly come from South Africa, which means more jobs will be created in that country as a result of this action.
All this because of one farm, owned by the wife of the president?
It shows where the power still truly resides in Zimbabwe. The MDC-T and Morgan Tsvangirai, if they had any shame, would at the very least issue a public and unequivocal condemnation of this travesty. They should let the people know that they value foreign investments as much as they value the appointments of their governors, ambassadors and deputy ministers, over whom they pulled out of cabinet on October 16 this year.
This is unlikely to happen, of course.
Which raises the question: if the interests of these workers, the interests of the citizens of Zimbabwe will not be protected by the party that says it wants to bring a better future to Zimbabwe, who will they protected by.
If there ever was a time to speak out, it is now.
But this will not happen.
Which leads, inevitably, to the question: what is the MDC doing in government, if it will bury its head in the sand as this is going on.
All the people need and want to have their faith in the loyalty of the MDC to the people of Zimbabwe is simply words: speaking out, distancing themselves from this act of intimidation and economic vandalism.