Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has vowed to retaliate against Western countries that have imposed travel and financial sanctions on him and some 200 close associates by nationalizing Zimbabwe operations of companies based in those countries.
Speaking in the eastern city of Mutare during his ZANU-PF party’s annual conference, Mr. Mugabe singled out U.S and British firms, telling members of his longtime ruling party - now sharing power with the former opposition - it is time for retaliation by seizure.
Mr. Mugabe also proposed to enact a law letting the state prosecute citizens who call for sanctions against Harare, saying they should face the capital charge of treason.
He reiterated that time is running out for the government of national unity in place since February 2009, saying it is an awkward arrangement. Mr. Mugabe co-governs with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, founder of the Movement for Democratic Change, and Deputy Prime MInister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the party is unfazed by threats of investor flight. Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said President Mugabe is free to leave the unity government.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said Mr. Mugabe was grandstanding.
Elsewhere in Mutare, capital of Manicaland province, ZANU-PF youths disrupted a city council meeting on Friday, accusing the MDC-controlled city government of failing to respect President Mugabe’s presence in the city on ZANU-PF business.
The youths verbally attacked Mayor Brian James who was on the podium when the youths entered, sources said.
Ward 17 Councillor Noel Nezomba of the Tsvangirai MDC told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the council as a civic body was disturbed by the behaviour of the youths.