President Robert Mugabe yesterday condemned violence saying conflict deters foreign investors from the country.
Speaking at the official unveiling of NewZim Steel and NewZim Minerals, companies born out of the acquisition of the now defunct Ziscosteel by Indian firm Essar Africa Holdings, President Mugabe said: “No more violence, no more bloodshed, no more loss of life.
“If there is violence they (foreign companies) begin to wonder if their investments are safe. We want people from India to operate in a peaceful environment and we also need it as well.”
He said as a result of the new investment, political parties were likely to try and outwit each other to gain control of Redcliff, but this should not be to the detriment of the community.
The President expressed optimism the steel firm would rise again.
“Today, we are witnessing the awakening of a sleeping giant, it was nearly dead. Zimbabweans you know, we don’t die easily. The steel giant will breathe life into the city of Redcliff and Kwekwe. The spring is upon us again.”
He said the country’s mineral resources were yet to be fully exploited for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
“We do not seek exploiters in using their power to extract the resource. Companies come here in different names, Anglo American, Lonrho digging and scooping all our wealth outside.”
President Mugabe seized the opportunity to attack the West.
“They think they rule the world. Most people are in the East. We looked West and got a battering, that’s why we have said let’s turn East,” he said.
The former management of Ziscosteel was also not spared by the President, who said they were to blame for bringing the once mighty parastatal to its knees.
He said government would prioritise the finalisation of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with India to facilitate more investment cooperation.
Essar will invest approximately $750 million, which will include relieving government and Zisco of all its liabilities.
This includes guaranteed foreign debt, historic liabilities in respect of trade and other creditors, including unpaid salaries and associated benefits owed to the employees.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputies Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara attended the event.