Robert Mugabe has once again won the election in his country and has been quick to pick up where he left off, as he vows to press on with his policy of forcing all companies to cede economic control to black Zimbabweans.
“Indigenisation” was also one of his main campaign issues for last month’s election. Mr Mugabe duly rejected all claims by his opposition that the voting was rigged. During his speeches, Mr. Mugabe has constantly brought attention towards his view that black Zimbabweans need help as they faced discrimination during white minority rule, which ended in 1980. His controversial policy of seizing most of Zimbabwe’s white-owned farms is widely seen as having caused the country’s economic collapse from 2000-2009.
Mr Mugabe says giving black native Zimbabweans further control of the business sector is the next step in his plans for the country. He also said the election result had given him a “resounding mandate” to do so. He added that the policy was in fact the “final phase of the liberation struggle” and “final phase of total independence”. Foreign-owned companies have already been heavily pressurised to ensure they are at least 51% locally owned – again, a controversial policy which some analysts say has scared off potential investment from abroad. The main targets of Mugabe’s nationalistic policies have been local operations of foreign-owned mining companies, according to Reuters news agency, while experts say banks could be next.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which says Mr Mugabe had rigged the election, boycotted the rally to mark Defence Forces Day. Mr Mugabe lashed out at his opponents by saying that his critics could “go hang”, in his first public speech since the suspected disputed election. It was the establishment of a power-sharing government, in 2009, that stopped Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, through which the local currency abandoned. Mr Mugabe’s allies have suggested that the Zimbabwean dollar could now be re-introduced but they have expressed their concerns that this would not happen soon.
His critics have protested that much of the land seized from white farmers, occasionally partnered with multinational firms, was either given to his cronies or to people who simply lacked the expertise or resources to use it productively. In return, Mr Mugabe retorts that Western powers are sabotaging Zimbabwe’s economy because of his anti-colonial stance. The Constitutional Court is beginning to consider Zanu-PF’s legal challenge on Wednesday, following a two-day public holiday.