President Robert Mugabe Friday vowed to take over companies of British origin in retaliation to sanctions and travel bans imposed on him and about 200 members of his inner circle.
Officially opening Zanu PF’s 11th Conference at Marymount Teachers’ College in Mutare President Mugabe said they had been “too good to malicious people.”
“We have 400 British companies here, why should we continue to have businesses and organisations that are supported by America and Britain operating freely without hitting them back?” asked President Mugabe to the applause of the delegates.
“One way of doing so is for us to use the Indigenisation Act. That Act gives us the authority.”
President Mugabe said they would start with the 51% as prescribed under the Indigenisation Act whose regulations were gazetted in February this year.
Under the indigenisation regulations, a foreign company capitalised above $500 000 is supposed to dispose 51% to local investors.
The announcement of the regulations sent a chill into the economy with the benchmark Zimbabwe Stock Exchange losing as much as 25%.
“We need to read the riot act to the British and others and say ‘unless you remove the sanctions, we will go 100%.’”
President Mugabe said this would apply to companies in gold mining and other minerals.
The US imposed sanctions on President Mugabe and his lieutenants in 2001 under Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act for alleged human rights abuses and disregard to property rights.
In his prepared speech President Mugabe said Zanu PF did not “grovel for the so-called investors,” urging Youth, Empowerment and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere to take action.
“Minister Kasukuwere, please stand strong,” said President Mugabe. “Let your efforts redefine the fate of our people positively. We will stand tall one day and that day cannot be far off.”
President Mugabe said the conference was supposed to come up with a solid programme “to fight sanctions and not just call for sanctions to be removed”.
His speech set the tone and direction of the conference as subsequent speakers, Vice- Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo parroted President Mugabe’s sentiments.
He accused party supporters of selling out in the 2008 harmonised elections where he lost to Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential election.
The president said there was a direct influence of non-governmental organisations and ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe during the 2008 synchronised polls.
“We only got six seats (out of 26) here in Manicaland,” President Mugabe said. “That will never happen again as any ambassadors who do that (interference) will be kicked out.”
He admitted that in certain cases Zanu PF lost because they imposed candidates on the people.