Mugabe threatens to take over ‘profiteering’ companies

March 20th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by admin  

Harare, March 20 (DPA) President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has said white-owned companies found to be “profiteering” will be the first to be taken over by his government, reports said Thursday. At a rally attended by thousands of supporters in the central town of Kadoma Wednesday, the 84-year-old president condemned a recent spate of price hikes, which he said were intended to erode pay increases given to civil servants last week.

“Comrade Mugabe rapped the unilateral price hikes by some big companies, particularly bakeries, saying the increases were part of the detractors’ quest for regime change,” said the state-controlled Herald daily.

Mugabe blames former colonial power Britain and other Western nations for Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, marked by the world’s highest rate of inflation at more than 1,600 percent, high unemployment, poverty and chronic shortages of consumer goods.

But opponents blame Mugabe’s mismanagement of the economy and his controversial seizure of white-owned farms that formed the backbone of the country’s economy.

At Wednesday’s rally, Mugabe ordered companies to immediately reverse recent price hikes, said the Herald. The economy is a key issue in elections due next week.

Mugabe and his party are facing a stiff challenge from veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, and independent presidential candidate, Simba Makoni.

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