Zimbabwe’s President Threatens ‘Revenge’ Against Western Companies

CNN, December 17, 2010

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe threatened Friday to seize all Western-owned investments in the country unless their governments remove targeted sanctions imposed on him and his senior ZANU-PF party members.

The 86-year-old former guerrilla leader spoke at his party conference in Murare.

“This conference must come with a real program, a solid program of how we decide to fight sanctions,” Mugabe said. “What is our anti-sanctions program? We have been too far too good for malicious people for countries which seek to destroy us. Why should we continue to have 400 British companies here operating freely with Britain benefiting from us?”

The 86-year-old former guerrilla leader said that “the time has come for . . . revenge” and suggested that Zimbabwe’s Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act–which gives foreign companies five years to submit plans for transferring 51% of their investments to black Zimbabweans–did not go far enough.

“We can start with that 51%. In some cases, we must read the riot act to the British and others and say them, ‘This is only 51% we have taken. Unless you remove sanctions, we will go 100%,’ if they insist the sanctions must remain,” he said.

In 2002, the European Union and the United States imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and some senior party members after rampant reports of human rights violations and stifling of the opposition. Mugabe blames the sanctions for his country’s woes, which include an unemployment rate of more than 90% and an inflation rate of 231,000,000%.

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