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Africa

Mugabe wields threat of nationalisation over sanctions

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-17

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe threatened to nationalise firms from countries that have imposed sanctions over his government's alleged human rights violations on Friday, specifically targeting American and British companies.

 

REUTERS - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday threatened to nationalise firms from countries that have imposed sanctions over his government's suspected human rights abuses.
 
Mugabe told a meeting of his ZANU-PF party the more than 400 British companies operating in Zimbabwe and could not be allowed to operate freely while London maintained sanctions.
 
"In some of the cases we must read the riot act to the British and their American companies, that unless their countries remove the sanctions, then we will go all the way to 100 percent," he said to wild cheers from supporters.
 
The resource-rich state introduced a law early this year saying 51 percent of firms worth over $500,000 should be owned by black Zimbabweans.
 
"One way of being thrustful in our posture is to use the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to take over the companies," he said.
 
Foreign firms operating in Zimbabwe include Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings, Rio Tinto, Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered.
 
TREASON Mugabe said Zimbabweans who called for sanctions on the country should be charged with treason, which carries a death sentence.
 
"There should be a legal side to it. We need to advocate for a law that punishes among us those who call for sanctions, as doing so makes it treasonous," said Mugabe. "That is treason, to call on the enemy to punish our people."
 
He urged his party to look at crafting a law on this, but ZANU-PF currently does not have a majority in parliament and would be unlikely to be able to pass such a law.
 
He also threatened to expel non-governmental organisations and envoys he said interfered in the country's internal politics.
 
Mugabe, 86 and in power for three decades, told the meeting that elections should be held next year to dissolve a coalition government he formed last year with rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
 
The union, formed after disputed elections in 2008, has been credited with stabilising an economy that had spiralled out of control and largely ending political violence.
 
But Mugabe has refused to implement full terms of the power-sharing agreement, insisting that Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party must first convince Western countries to remove sanctions.
 
The veteran leader accuses the MDC of having lobbied Western countries to impose the sanctions. The West says the embargo is meant to punish senior ZANU-PF officials for rigging elections and human rights abuses.
 
Mugabe said he wanted elections next year to dissolve the unity government,
Analysts said ZANU-PF may feel it has a chance to win an early poll due to infighting in the MDC, which is struggling to maintain the gains it made in ZANU-PF rural strongholds in 2008.
 
Mugabe's coalition partners say they want electoral reforms and a new voter register and constitution to guarantee free and fair polls before another election is held.
 
"Some are already dragging their feet but the (unity government) cannot be allowed to continue," Mugabe said.
 
Mugabe wants a referendum on a new constitution early next year and a general election by mid-2011, even if the referendum is not held. The election would normally be held in 2013.

 

Date created : 2010-12-17

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