“We can’t keep hosting more than 400 British firms including mines. Now it’s time we took measures,” Mugabe told a rally launch of a petition to call for the lifting of sanctions by the United States and the European Union.
“The indigenisation and empowerment drive should start with those companies. We must take over. We must not be ashamed. Now it’s time we took measures. “Before we take over, we may boycott their products.”
Wednesday’s rally on the outskirts of the capital was attended by over 10,000 people but Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and government officials from his party, who co-govern the country in a fragile pact, did not attend the event.
However Tsvangirai said the rally was organised by Mugabe’s party and was not a government function. “We have to be clear, today’s function was a ZANU-PF function,” Tsvangirai told a news conference at his home, explaining why he did not attend the rally. “I am not a member of ZANU-PF, in any way. How do I attend a function where I am being denounced and MDC is being denounced?”
He said the government did not sanction company seizures. “We have never sat in cabinet and discussed taking over companies,” Tsvangirai. “We have not adopted a nationalisation policy. If it is going to be done, it is not gone to be done by government but by thugs.” Mugabe was the first to sign the petition which was also inked by security chiefs, war veterans and government officials.
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