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The Sunday Telegraph: BP in line for Zimbabwe state business grab

Robert Mugabe has put the BP’s Zimbabwe operation at the top of the list for takeover under a new law to bring foreign companies under local control, write Michael Gwaridzo and Stephen Bevan.

He told a meeting of his ruling Zanu-PF party’s politburo that the oil giant would be one of the first companies to be targeted, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Ministers said the move was intended as retaliation for what they claim is Britain’s “invisible hand” in a recent decision by Australia to expel eight students whose parents are senior Zimbabwean officials.

BP Zimbabwe, which is jointly owned by BP Africa and Shell, runs a network of 37 service stations and boasts that it has been “one of the biggest brands in Zimbabwe” for 40 years. It also supplies fuel and oil products to the aviation industry.

Mr Mugabe is said to have told the party meeting: “Britain and Australia have businesses here and we shall act accordingly to show them the way out. Their BPs will soon be a thing of the past because we have capable local entrepreneurs who can do a better job.” He said the seizures “must be sudden and without notice”.

Under the “indigenisation” law, likely be approved by parliament in the next few weeks, foreign-owned companies can be required to give up 51 per cent of their shares to “disadvantaged” Zimbabweans. However, the real beneficiaries are likely to be Mr Mugabe’s cronies and Zanu-PF officials. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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