Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe claims mandate for 'black empowerment' asset grab


President Robert Mugabe said today that his party had won “a resounding mandate” from voters to complete a sweeping “black empowerment” programme, taking over foreign and white-owned assets.

Mr Mugabe said the programme, widely criticised by Western countries, would be “pursued to its successful conclusion”.

The outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 61, is challenging the results of the 31 July election and alleges widespread vote-rigging that gave Mr Mugabe, 89, and his Zanu-PF party a commanding victory.

Addressing military parades on the annual Defence Forces holiday, Mr Mugabe said voters had ended an unwieldy coalition with Mr Tsvangirai’s opposition that was formed after violent and disputed elections in 2008.

He said the vote showed confidence in his party and its drive for “total economic emancipation” for prosperity and jobs.

Britain, the former colonial power, and the United States have questioned whether the results represent a free and fair vote.

Mr Mugabe said Britain had opposed black empowerment since 2000, when thousands of white farmers were forced to surrender their land. “This policy beneficial to indigenous Zimbabweans will be taken to its successful conclusion” under the new Zanu-PF government, he said.