- Southern Africa
- Trade - Politics
Zimbabwe: Mugabe calls for sanctions against foreign-based companies
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Friday told his party to push for a law making it treasonous for Zimbabweans to call for sanctions against the Southern African country and threatened to grab all foreign-owned companies from countries that have slapped sanctions on the veteran leader and his inner circle.
The 86-year-old Mugabe told thousands of ZANU-PF delegates at the party’s annual conference in Mutare, in the eastern part of the country that people who call for sanctions should be charged with treason, which carries a death sentence.
“There should be a legal side to it (fight against sanctions). We need to advocate for a law that punishes among us those who call for sanctions, as doing so makes it treasonous,” Mugabe said. “That is treason to call on the enemy to punish our people.”
“I have said to some of the leaders that we have been too good for malicious people. Why are companies and organisations freely operating in our country without us hitting back?” Mugabe said.
"One way of being trustful in our posture is to use the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to take over the companies. In some of the cases we must read the riot act to the British companies that unless their countries remove the sanctions then we will go all the way to (own) 100 percent," he said.
The attack was directed at the MDC, which ZANU-PF accuses of having lobbied for sanctions from the European Union, United States and Australia but Mugabe will find it difficult to push the law without a majority in parliament.
Mugabe’s speech follows a recent revelation from US diplomatic cables released by the controversial WikiLeaks website in which Tsvangirai is said to have urged the US and the European Union to come up with “some kind of concrete roadmap that all can agree on, linking easing of sanctions with identifiable and quantifiable progress”, adding that “If necessary," he and deputy prime minister "Mutambara (could) quietly meet with Western leadership to develop a plan on the issue of sanctions”.
Draped in a shirt emblazoned with his face and a green cap with a ZANU-PF flag, Mugabe said his party should come up with ways to fight sanctions, including taking over foreign companies from Western countries that have imposed the sanctions.
During his televised address, the 86 year old said the coalition government power-sharing government is not working and must end.
"What it has done is to reveal and expose to us what we did not know, now we we know this creature the MDC, has no policy, no ideology, no philosophy except change, change," he said, opening the conference.“
"The GPA can’t be allowed to continue," he added, referring to the Global Political Agreement with the MDC, the former opposition party that joined ZANU-PF in a shaky unity government in February 2009.
Mugabe recently said he felt "awkward" about the September 2008 coalition agreement that brought him together with former opposition leader Tsvangirai in a unity government.
Mugabe admitted that while his party committed violence in 2008, “it was not across the board” and justified it as necessary for defending the country from infiltration by non governmental organisations and the West.
“Some are already dragging their feet but the GPA (global political agreement) cannot be allowed to continue,” Mugabe said, warning that Western diplomats and NGOs who interfere in the country’s affairs would be expelled.
“Any ambassador who does that will be kicked out. We have been too good.” The MDC says ZANU-PF has already deployed retired and serving soldiers in the rural areas to intimidate villagers ahead of the election.