President Robert Mugabe says he wants black Zimbabweans to have full control of foreign-owned mining firms operating in the country.
Officially opening the Zanu PF conference Friday in Gweru, Mr. Mugabe noted that the country has benefited from his policy of giving indigenous people a 51 percent stake in all foreign-owned companies, but said that was not enough.
He also said he would call for elections next year regardless of whether there is a new constitution, as required by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The conference is being held ahead of next year’s elections, which may explain why the 88-year-old president already seemed to be in the electioneering mood.
Mugabe further blasted corruption in his party and government while threatening to unilaterally call for elections.
Zanu PF Women’s League chairperson Oppah Muchinguri told Studio 7 she welcomes the president’s economic empowerment message.
Independent political analyst Gladys Hlatshwayo said the president’s remarks will scare away investors.
Meanwhile, SADC held a troika meeting in Tanzania on the same day to discuss Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar ahead of a crucial summit which begins Saturday.
President Jacob Zuma, the SADC appointed mediator in Harare, presented a report on Zimbabwe before his regional peers.
Sources within SADC and the Pretoria administration said Zuma expressed concern at the slow pace of reforms in Harare where there is a call for general elections next year.
SADC Executive Secretary, Tomaz Salomao, said the regional bloc is keen to resolve disputes in Southern Africa.
International relations expert and former diplomat, Clifford Mashiri, said regional organization must continue pushing for reforms in Harare.