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Embrace Zimbabwe s equity law, or stay out: Mugabe

HARARE, Sept 30 – President Robert Mugabe said Thursday that foreign investors should embrace Zimbabwe\’s equity laws which requires them to sell 51 percent stakes to locals or "stay out".

"Our resources are ours, they belong to Zimbabweans, they belong to the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe and those who want to share our resources must get our permission to do so," Mugabe told mourners at the burial of a stalwart from his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party in the capital.

"We must agree that they (investors) come as partners, and come as partners in a manner which we define and not in the manner which they define.

"Some would say we will lose investment. Which investment? If people don’t want to come on those terms then let them stay out, they are not good for us."

Mugabe said some Western-owned firms from countries whose governments have imposed sanctions on himself and close associates were keen to invest in the southern African nation.

"Our true friends are eager to come and in fact, even companies from those countries which today have sanctions on us are asking to be accommodated," he said.

The new law took effect on March 1, requiring large foreign corporations to give majority stakes to local shareholders.

The government had given firms 45 days to report their efforts at complying, but the deadline was extended indefinitely.

The government also dropped the term "cede" from the law and replaced it with "business transaction", which was welcomed by foreign embassies although they still expressed reservations.

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The empowerment law has raised divisions in the coalition government with Mugabe\’s former long-time rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who has said that the new legislation scares off investors.

However, Mugabe said the investors should only come on Zimbabwe\’s terms.

"They are just not good for us, those who want to come on terms to dominate us," he said.

Some of the foreign firms operating in the country include British Petroleum, Total, Chevron, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered and platinum giant Zimplats.

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