President Robert Mugabe yesterday demanded Zimbabwe companies be 100 per cent black owned, in a pre-election gambit that looks sure to spook foreign investors.
Addressing his Zanu-PF party faithful, Mugabe said the government would press ahead with controversial indigenisation policies, despite protests from foreign investors.
"I think now we have done enough of 51 per cent. Let it be a 100 per cent," he told the party conference, the last before elections in 2013, which could well see the 88-year-old's name on the ballot for the last time.
"Even our Chinese friends, we are saying no, in your country we do not just come. You have to accept our rules," he said, speaking at a US$6.5 million (HK$50.4 million) conference centre recently built by Beijing.
Mugabe lambasted notions that economic priorities take precedence over others as "dirty, filthy" and "criminal". His government passed a controversial indigenisation law two years ago, arguing it would reverse imbalances from colonial rule.
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF face an uphill struggle to win over voters, many of whom are angered at the poor economy.
The party must also patch up the damage done by internal splits that cost it dearly in the 2008 general elections when, for the first time since independence in 1980, Zanu-PF lost its majority in parliament.