News / Africa

Mugabe Threatens Total Seizure of Foreign Mining Firms

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures during his address at the annual conference of his ZANU-PF party in Gweru about 285 km (177 miles) west of the capital Harare, December 7, 2012.Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures during his address at the annual conference of his ZANU-PF party in Gweru about 285 km (177 miles) west of the capital Harare, December 7, 2012.
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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures during his address at the annual conference of his ZANU-PF party in Gweru about 285 km (177 miles) west of the capital Harare, December 7, 2012.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures during his address at the annual conference of his ZANU-PF party in Gweru about 285 km (177 miles) west of the capital Harare, December 7, 2012.
GWERU, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has said he wants native blacks to have full control of foreign-owned mining firms operating in the country. The 88-year-old leader was speaking while officially opening the conference of his ZANU-PF party. Mugabe also said he would call for elections next year regardless of whether there is a new constitution or not, as required by regional leaders.

ZANU-PF supporters showed their joy as their leader, Mugabe, arrived Friday in Gweru, about 300 kilometers southwest of Harare.

The conference is being held ahead of next year’s elections, which may explain why the president already seemed to be in the electioneering mood. He said the country has benefited from his policy of giving black Zimbabweans a 51 percent stake in all foreign-owned companies, but said that was not enough.

“I have told the ministry of mining that I think now we have done enough of 51-49. Let it be 100 percent. Then we do not send anything out.  We do not send out that 49 percent,” said Mugabe.

Divisive issue

Mugabe's "indigenization" policy has split Zimbabwe’s coalition government, with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party saying it scares away investors.  

The president said that was the least of his concerns, though, as long as Zimbabweans were in charge of their resources.

“Let us be our own master, our own true developer of our resources,” he said.

He asserted that African leaders in oil-rich countries that allowed Western companies to explore for the "black gold" were irresponsible and must step down.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, a media and democracy doctorate student at University of Westminster in Britain, said the conference is an example of ZANU-PF's top-down management style.

“The leadership dynamics of ZANU-PF are not changed by these meetings since 1977," said Ruhanya. "This is an oligarchal meeting and the problem with these meetings is that their internal undemocratic practices are taken aboard over the confines of ZANU-PF to the national level. That is why we have democratic problems in this country.”

Eye on election

The conference ends Saturday, with Mugabe very likely to be named the party's presidential candidate for polls expected sometime in 2013.

Mugabe wants to end the power-sharing government he was forced to form with the MDC party after the disputed and violent 2008 polls.

But the elections are being held up because of a disagreement between Mugabe's and Tsvangirai's parties over the details of a new constitution. On Friday, Mugabe underscored that he would call for elections if the dispute can not be resolved.

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by: Realize
December 08, 2012 11:32 PM
Eyes tell no lies - we have seen what has happened there and know exactly what has been happening, no amount of researching is necessary - nobody can be misguided here, except those who choose to ignore what has been happening and the consequences.


by: Ben Kawadza from: Harare
December 08, 2012 12:03 PM
On the issue of division within the coalition government of Zimbabwe the ideginisation policy is not the wedge as it exsisted as a policy for Mugabe and his party before the coalition government was in place. There is no denying that there is a division within the coalition government but it can not be attributed to this one policy. Again it becomes important to properly research facts and historical background before presenting stories as it may misguide others, especially those who depend on our news because they are not on the ground.


by: Ben Kawadza from: Harare
December 08, 2012 11:39 AM
Hi just wanted to commet on the part the writer said that Mugabe wants to take or give 100 percent to Black Zimbabweans. This is not factual. Mugabe never said that. I listened to the speech and the writer is not representing the facts properly. Yes he said the 49 and 51 percent split will continue but nothing about 100 percent.


by: mandionerepi from: zw
December 08, 2012 1:38 AM
calling for an election is one thing but having the election intewrnationally accepted is another, given the circumstances...

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