Mugabe to Foreign Firms: We Own You

Measure would turn over control to black Zimbabweans
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2007 3:00 AM CDT
President Robert Mugabe addresses party supporters at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007. Thousands of war veterans marched in the streets of Harare in an effort to show solidarity...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A bill backed by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe requiring foreign companies to turn over majority control to black Zimbabweans has passed the country's parliament, reports the BBC. The goal of the bill is to give economic power to anyone "disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on race grounds," but it is likely to discourage foreign firms from investing in the struggling nation.

The opposition party, whose members walked out on the vote in protest, characterized the measure as a power grab by Mugabe and his cronies that has "nothing to do with the empowerment of people" said a party spokesman. Many foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe have already considerably scaled back operations because of an ongoing economic crisis. The measure must still pass the Senate to become law.