Mugabe threatens boycott, takeover of foreign firms

Mugabe threatens boycott, takeover of foreign firms
# 02 March 2011 19:35 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe threatened Wednesday to boycott Western products before seizing companies from countries that have imposed sanctions against him and his allies, APA reports quoting AFP.
"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.
"Conscious of the illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed by the West on my country, I therefore, do hereby append my signature to register my protest at the said illegal sanctions and to demand an immediate end to this form of aggression against my country and my people," read the petition.
Some youth blew vuvuzelas while others perched on trees carrying banners and posters or wearing t-shirts denouncing the sanctions.
One poster titled "hit list" named BHP, Old Mutual, Rio (Tinto), Standard Bank and Barclays Bank as some of the targetted companies.
Another poster read, "Recolonisation through sanctions. Zimbabwe says No to illegal sanctions. Sanctions do kill."
Police patrolled the streets ahead of the rally while some buses ferried people from far-off districts.
The United States and the EU sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes on Mugabe and members of his inner circle, who are accused of seriously undermining democracy, respect to human rights abuses and the rule of law.
Last month the EU removed 35 people from the list but said there was not enough progress to "justify a more substantial change of its policy towards Zimbabwe."