Wednesday, April 18, 2012
by Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe vowed on Tuesday to keep up the push for majority shares in foreign-owned firms to transfer to locals, declaring that Zimbabwe had nothing to lose.
President Mugabe also accused the United States of seeking to sabotage Zimbabwe’s economy by imposing sanctions on Mbada Holdings and Marange Resources – two diamond firms part-owned by the government.
Speaking at an annual children’s party in Harare held on the eve of the country’s independence, Mugabe said the United States had threatened sanctions on anyone buying diamonds from Zimbabwe.
A week after he was rumoured dead, President Mugabe vowed to defy external pressure aimed at forcing a change of government in Zimbabwe, declaring: “Some of us died a long time ago. We don’t give in.”
He said Zimbabwe will forge ahead with its indigenisation programme which has caused dejection and dispare within a coalition he formed with his MDC rivals in 2009.
In a reference to mines, Mugabe said foreign individuals had arrived in the country with not so much of an investment than “hoes and shovels”, which was the basis on which they were laying claim to the country’s mineral wealth.
“That’s what we are objecting to,” Mugabe said. “Down with them! Let them take their hoes and shovels and leave. Do they think God was crazy to put these mineral resources in our hands?”
Mugabe, who championed controversial land reforms targeting white farmers starting in 2000, hinted he was running out of time and the resource ownership drive was the final battleground for the liberation effort which began with a bush war against colonial rule in the 1970s.
“We are living in the afternoon, if not in the evening of our lives and those who are still in the morning of their lives will have the benefits we are fighting for,” he told thousands of children drawn from the country’s 10 provinces who gathered at the City Sports Centre, among them his two sons Robert Jnr and Chatunga.
He added: “They don’t have to toil as we have done. It would be much easier for them to proceed into the future.”
Zimbabwe celebrates its 32nd independence on Wednesday which is being held under the theme: ‘Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment for Economic Transformation’.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare on Tuesday that he had disagreed with Mugabe at their last cabinet meeting when Zanu PF ministers proposed an empowerment-based theme.
Tsvangirai said he had wanted a theme about peace.
“I wish to state that we had a discussion in Cabinet last week about the proposed theme for this year,” Tsvangirai said.
“We rejected it because we find this a repugnant theme, which sounds more of a slogan for a political party than an inclusive, peace-building theme, which should be determined through consensus.
“While we support broad-based empowerment of the ordinary person, our colleagues have taken indigenisation to mean expropriation and nationalisation. We have disagreed in this government because there are others who want to perpetuate the old culture of expropriation, looting and self-aggrandizement clad in new and misleading nomenclature such as indigenisation.”