(Last Updated on August 14, 2013 by Editor)
HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe vowed Tuesday to intensify his controversial drive to transfer economic wealth to blacks and scoffed at calls to reform the security services following his disputed re-election.
“The indigenisation and empowerment drive will continue unabated in order to ensure that indigenous Zimbabweans enjoy a larger share of the country’s resources,” Mugabe told thousands of people at a rally in the capital to mark defence forces day.
“Now that the people of Zimbabwe have given us a resounding mandate in the governance of the country we will do everything in our power to ensure our objective of total indigenisation, empowerment, development and employment is realised.”
Mugabe was declared winner of the July 31 election with 61 percent of the vote against his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai’s 34 percent. Tsvangirai is challenging the victory, alleging vote rigging.
Zimbabwe passed an indigenisation law in 2007 forcing foreign-owned companies to cede 51 percent of shares to local investors in what Mugabe calls “the final phase of attaining total independence”.
Critics of the programme say it has benefitted Mugabe’s allies and frightened away potential investors.
In his second public speech after last month’s elections extended his 33-year rule, Africa’s oldest leader resisted opposition calls to rid the security forces of partisan officers.
Instead he praised the security forces for the peace that Zimbabwe has enjoyed over the past three decades.
He said the military has been “such a reliable pillar” of his government that he found it “surprising that some misguided fellow countrymen, at the behest of their Western allies, blatantly disregard the good work done by the (military) in maintaining peace and tranquility in the country.”
Mugabe said calls for reforms of the security sector were a disguise because “the enemy’s real ploy is to dilute the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces”.
Some security chiefs have publicly declared their allegiance to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and vowed never to accept a leader who did not take part in the country’s 1970s liberation war.