Mugabe OKs Nationalizing Foreign Companies

Pre-election ploy also affects firms owned by white Zimbabweans
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2008 10:52 AM CDT
A member of the Simba Makoni campaign team prepares to distribute campaign material in Esigodini, about 80 km south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Sunday, March, 9, 2008. Makoni is standing against President Robert...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With 3 weeks to go before the presidential election, Robert Mugabe has signed legislation allowing the government of Zimbabwe to take over foreign- and white-owned businesses, the Financial Times reports. With his ex-finance minister mounting a strong challenge, the incumbent is returning to a tested strategy—his party used land confiscations from whites to help it win elections in 2000 and 2002.

Parliament approved the legislation, which mandates the sale of 51% of selected businesses to indigenous Zimbabweans, in September. "It's a catastrophe," a Zimbabwean economist told the Independent. Businesses are worried that the government will "cherry-pick" the businesses to be taken over, but they're also hoping the action is more rhetoric than reality.