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Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe Issues Elections Pledge To Nationalize Mines

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe launched his party’s election manifesto in Harare on Thursday, taking a swipe at his opponents and Britain, which he accused of plotting to effect regime change with help from non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Mugabe said he was confident of victory. "We certainly are going to win," he told a crowd of several thousand supporters. He said members of his ruling ZANU-PF party had gathered "to mark...the official start of our march to another victory."

Mr. Mugabe denounced his minister of education, Aeneas Chigwedere, for disarray in the nation’s schools, where most primary and secondary teachers are on strike.

He pledged to implement pending proposals to nationalize the country's mines as the cornerstone of his economic revival plan “We will now go for what comes after the farms, the minerals," he declared to applause from several thousand supporters.

"Whose are the minerals? Do they belong to the adventurers who come, invest, use our people, pay poor wages and say the rest is mine? Why should we accept that?" Mr. Mugabe demanded, vowing to take a controlling stake in mining companies.

An estimated 4,000 supporters turned out for the event, many of them waving banners displaying slogans such as, “Long live comrade R.G. Mugabe.”

Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi told reporter Blessing Zulu that the ZANU-PF manifesto released on Thursday focused on reviving the moribund economy.

Elsewhere, a ruling party candidate for parliament in the Midlands capital of Gweru said Mr. Mugabe is “the future of Zimbabwe" because of the values he champions.

From Gweru, correspondent Taurai Shava reported.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...