I cannot for the life of me imagine why any businessman would want to invest in Zimbabwe.
Look what happened to one such business venture, a Malaysian-Dutch firm Matanuska, which had its banana plantation seized by a retired army general-turned-Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania.
Perhaps Matanuska thought its interests would be protected by Zimbabwe’s Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) with Malaysia. Under this agreement, the firm was reportedly offered land but not title to the land. Or maybe they thought Malaysia enjoyed a special relationship with Zimbabwe!
The former general claimed that the property had been granted to him under Mugabe’s land reform programme under which white-owned farms were seized and handed over to landless black citizens.
The investors are now trying to regain control of their banana plantation. As one political economist told me, “If they are willing to invest in Robert Mugabe’s lawless country, they should not then complain that they are losing out due to the lawlessness there.”