|The 4,000 ZANU-PF delegates are expected to rubber stamp Mugabe’s push for polls in the first half of 2011 [AFP]|
Zimbabwe’s president has threatened to nationalise British and US-owned businesses operating in the country if economic sanctions imposed on his political party are not lifted.
Robert Mugabe told his ZANU-PF party members at a convention in the eastern city of Mutare on Friday that the time has come to implement programmes to fight travel and financial bans imposed on party leaders.
Under empowerment laws, black Zimbabweans are slated to acquire 51 per cent of all businesses. In a live broadcast on state television, Mugabe warned UK and US firms that “unless you remove sanctions, we will take 100 per cent”.
“Why should we continue having companies and organisations that are supported by Britain and America without hitting back?” he said.
“Time has come for us to revenge.”
Western countries imposed targeted restrictions on Mugabe and his party elite to protest violations of democratic and human rights during a decade of political and economic turmoil in the southern Africa nation.
Flawed unity arrangement
Mugabe also told his party on Friday that the country’s uneasy power-sharing government “can’t be allowed to continue”.
“We agreed to work together … as a compromise to enable us to sort things out, establish peace, political stability, now some are dragging their feet,” Mugabe said.
“The GPA can’t be allowed to continue,” he said, referring to the Global Political Agreement with the ex-opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe’s prime minister and former rival.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing administration six months after a chaotic presidential vote in 2008 but they are now in the throes of a vicious battle over when the next national elections should take place.
Mugabe said the deal with the MDC had failed.
“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 told delegates at the official opening of the conference.
Battle of elections
The 4,000 ZANU-PF delegates at the conference are expected to rubber stamp Mugabe’s push for polls in the first half of 2011.
“Every delegate is ready for the battle of elections next year,” Mike Madiro, a ZANU-PF provincial chairman, earlier told the AFP news agency.
In March 2008, Tsvangirai won the presidential election against Mugabe but fell short of the required majority, resulting in a run-off ballot, which the MDC leader refused to take part in, allowing Mugabe to triumph unopposed.
On Thursday, Tsvangirai said only a presidential vote would address the issue of “illegitimacy” following the disputed run-off poll, but he refused to specify any date when elections should take place.
The MDC has previously said that credible polls are not possible until 2012 at the earliest.