The discord in the inclusive government continued this week with Welshman Ncube, Minister of Industry and Commerce, dismissing threats by President Robert Mugabe that the government will seize companies with Western interests if sanctions were not removed.
Ncube said the threatened hostile take-over of such business concerns was not the policy of the inclusive government.
“First of all, that is not government policy and that is also not the policy of the inclusive government and that is not a way for the support to the revival and growth of the economy,” Ncube told NewsDay on Monday.
“We have to normalise relations with the Western countries for better trade and revival of the economy.”
He, however, said it was the policy of the inclusive government to engage the United States and the European Union (EU) to ensure the sanctions were removed.
Ncube said revenge was not the route to take as it would never bring any good to anyone.
He said there were better ways to have the sanctions removed.
“Two wrongs cannot make a right, we cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong, that is certainly not modern policy,” Ncube said.
Ncube’s comments follow threats by President Mugabe during the Zanu PF conference held in Mutare a fortnight ago that the government would soon seize British–owned companies if sanctions against him and members of his inner cabal in Zanu PF and government were not removed.
He singled out mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and Anglo American and Barclays Bank, among others, as the major targets.
He said the Western world should not continue benefiting from Zimbabwe’s resources while at the same time they were undermining the country’s leadership.
He vowed to press ahead with the hostile take-over should the West refuse to budge. But days after President Mugabe issued the threats, the US pressed further action against his lieutenants by slapping Attorney General Johannes Tomana with sanctions.
President Mugabe said they would start off with the 51% prescribed under the Indigenisation Act, but would go for a complete 100% takeover if the sanctions were still in place.
“We need to read the riot act to the British and others and say ‘unless you remove the sanctions, we will go 100%’,” Mugabe said at the Zanu PF conference in Mutare.
The US imposed sanctions on President Mugabe in 2001 under Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act for alleged human rights abuses and disregard of property rights. The EU has also imposed the same punitive measures.
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.
“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.
President Mugabe said the punitive actions against him and his colleagues were calculated at effecting regime change in Zimbabwe and replace him with a “Western puppet”.
But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T argues President Mugabe and Zanu PF invited the actions because of their alleged poor human rights record and refusal to restore democracy in the country.