Mugabe threatens foreign-owned companies in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech at a rally to mark the country's 32nd independence anniversary on April 18, 2012 in Harare. Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to shun violence ahead of elections that he insists be held this year.


Jekesai Njikizana

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, sworn in for another term last week, threatened to punish foreign-owned companies in retaliation for US and European Union sanctions against his regime in a speech on Sunday.

Speaking at the funeral of a retired military leader in Harare, the 89-year-old president said he wanted no "ideas from London or Washington” about democracy.

The EU eased sanctions on Zimbabwe to encourage political reform earlier this year, but kept an asset freeze and travel ban on Mugabe, several colleagues and the state-run diamond mining company, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp.

More from GlobalPost: EU lifts sanctions on most Zimbabwe officials except for Mugabe

The US maintains a more extensive travel ban and asset freeze on individuals and entities connected to Mugabe.

"We have British and American companies here and we are treating them well,” Mugabe said. “There will come a time when we will lose our patience."

"They have companies here, and we have not imposed controls or sanctions against them but time will come when we will say tit-for-tat,” he continued. “You hit me, I hit you. You impose this on me, I impose this on you.”

Mugabe has said he plans to force more foreign companies to sell majority stakes to local investors, including in the retail sector.