Zimbabwe: Mugabe Threatens to Grab Foreign Firms

Photo: Allafrica
Harare skyline

Bindura — President Robert Mugabe yesterday warned that Zimbabwe may be forced to grab foreign companies owned by countries that imposed sanctions on the country.

Officially launching the Mashonaland Central community share ownership scheme, Mugabe described Western countries that had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe as "dirty filth".

"They tell lies and say Mugabe is a dictator, yet they kill and impose sanctions on us," he said.

"We have not reciprocated their sanctions, which we can do."

Western nations, particularly America, Britain and the European Union, imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe following a violent 2002 presidential election and bloody farm grabs.

Mugabe advised that Zimbabwe should be wary of British companies that showed interest in investing in the country, saying "when supping with the devil, use a long spoon".

"Sometimes I really wonder if these are the people who brought the Bible to us," the President said. "If God listens to their [Western countries] prayers, then he is different from the one whom we think we pray to."

He bemoaned the death of Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi, saying if indeed he was guilty of anything, he should have been tried rather than killed in cold-blood.

In a speech punctuated by humorous remarks, Mugabe also took jibes at former French leader, Nicolas Sarkozy, who led the fight to oust Gaddafi, saying he had since been voted out of power.

He also poured scorn on former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who also lost elections after the Libyan invasion, describing him as the "one who loves prostitutes".

Mugabe praised Kalaa Mpinga, the Mwana Africa chairman for following the government's indigenisation regulations, saying foreign companies that were in the country should be willing to work with Zimbabweans as all the minerals in the country belonged to Zimbabweans.

"Some of us are saying even the 49% for foreigners is very generous, we should reduce it even further," he said. "But for now, they shall remain with that."

The President said foreign companies that brought in capital should not think their money meant that they now owned the minerals in the country.

"We accept foreign companies that come here with good understanding that Zimbabwean resources belong primarily to Zimbabweans," Mugabe said.

"Their capital only gives them the right to participate with us."

Mugabe also advised Metallon Gold to comply with indigenisation laws after Youth Development, Empowerment and Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere said the company was dragging its feet.

'Zanu Pf clean on seed donations'

Mugabe also told the event, which literally turned into a Zanu PF rally, that some newspapers were lying that he had taken money from diamonds to buy seed for his party members, insisting that the money had been raised transparently.

"This is what we usually do, but other people are shocked, maybe it is because they spend their time chasing after girls," he said, taking a subtle pot shot at Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose love affairs have become media fodder.

Mugabe once again reiterated his peace message to Zanu PF supporters, saying the next elections should not be violent.

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InFocus

Mugabe Threatens to Grab Foreign Firms in Zimbabwe

Harare skyline

President Robert Mugabe has hinted at the possibility of taking over foreign-owned companies in retaliation for the sanctions that are directed at him and his inner circle. Read more »