Monday 22 December 2014

Mugabe issues 'tit for tat' threat

Published 25/08/2013 | 18:07

Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel foreign-owned companies from Zimbabwe (AP)
Robert Mugabe (AP)

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel foreign-owned companies over what he says is the West's interference in the politics of the country he has led since 1980.

In a speech before supporters gathered for the burial of a top military chief in Harare, Mr Mugabe said he wanted no "ideas from London or Washington".

He warned the countries that although his government has not "done anything to your companies, time will come when we will say tit for tat".

The West has pushed for democratic reform in Zimbabwe. But Mr Mugabe, who was sworn in on Thursday for another five-year term at the age of 89, said "there will come a time when we lose our patience".

Mr Mugabe, who has vowed to press ahead with black ownership of foreign-owned companies, said: "You hit me, I hit you. We have a country to run and we must be left free to run it."

Britain, the former colonial power, the European Union and the United States have refused to endorse Mr Mugabe's landslide victory in the July 31 elections, citing evidence of vote rigging. The Western countries maintain economic restrictions on Mr Mugabe and leaders of his ruling party.

Mr Mugabe insists his party won "a resounding mandate" in the last election and denies allegations of voting fraud. Zimbabwe's state election panel said Mr Mugabe won the election with 61% of the presidential vote. "I want to assure you our attitude will not continue to be passive," Mr Mugabe said on Sunday. "We have had enough and enough is enough."

Since winning another term Mr Mugabe has vowed to push ahead with a black empowerment programme to force foreign and white-owned businesses to cede 51% ownership to black Zimbabweans. Some economists warn that the programme will trigger another economic downturn, like that Zimbabwe suffered after Mr Mugabe's government seized white-owned farms in 2000.

Mr Mugabe, on the other hand, says the new economic plan to force black control of companies will create jobs and economic growth that had been hindered by what he called "a tenuous and fraught coalition with uneasy partners" in the opposition led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr Tsvangirai had favoured attracting Western investment during the five-year coalition forged by regional leaders after the last disputed elections in 2008.

Mr Mugabe says Britain has opposed black empowerment since he forced thousands of white farmers to surrender their land. Critics of the programme say it disrupted Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy, shut down industries and scared away foreign investment in mining and other businesses.

Press Association

Promoted articles

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News