Mugabe: coalition government unproductive

The veteran president of Zimbabwe continues with his contentious indigenisation programme.

The veteran president of Zimbabwe continues with his contentious indigenisation programme.

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has slammed the just-ended coalition government as unproductive and congratulated Zimbabweans for voting it out in last month's polls.

Mugabe has been addressing crowds on annual Defence Forces Day in his second major public speech since his disputed victory was announced 10 days ago.

This was President Robert Mugabe in a slightly less aggressive mood than yesterday when he told his opponents to go hang if they weren't happy with the results of the polls.

Mugabe told thousands of people gathered today at the National Sports Stadium that his party's indigenisation and empowerment drive would continue unabated.

He said Zimbabwe was now in the final stage of implementing the ideals of the struggle for independence and calls for security sector reform had come from misguided locals.

Economists say the indigenisation programme has chased off foreign investment but Mugabe said his victory showed Zimbabweans had given him a resounding mandate to push on with his contentious black empowerment programme to take over foreign and white-owned assets.

The programme has been condemned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and by governments worldwide, but Mugabe says it will now be pursued to its conclusion.

RETURN TO POLITICAL ARENA

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has filed a court appeal against the election results, accusing Mugabe's party of rigging.

His party, the MDC, received around 34 percent of votes in the presidential election while Mugabe won 61 percent along with more than two thirds of Parliamentary seats.

His speech was broadcast live on national radio and television from the National Heroes Acre, a burial ground for those who fought in Zimbabwe's war for independence which ended with Mugabe's ascension to the presidency in 1980.

South Africa's Cabinet said Zimbabweans should be lauded for holding peaceful elections.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) acting spokesperson Pumla Williams insists the comment had nothing to do with whether the election itself was free and fair and that it wasn't premature.

"[Cabinet] did not get to discuss what SADC's position is going to be, it did not discuss what's going to happen thereafter."

She said their message of congratulations was purely in light of the "harmonious" nature of the polls.