Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert Mugabe’s plans to nationalise foreign firms amount to looting and plunder, as the country marked 31 years of independence with a mass rally in a stadium in Harare.

Tsvangirai did not get to address crowds at Harare ‘s giant National Sports Stadium on Independence Day.

But in a statement released on the occasion, he slammed President Robert Mugabe’s controversial indigenisation drive.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party says it has finalised plans to take over white and foreign-owned companies and will start in earnest very soon.

But Tsvangirai scorned Zanu-PF’s claim that indigenisation would set Zimbabweans free.

He warned national resources would be looted and plundered by what he called a “small, parasitic elite”.

Tsvangirai’s words were in sharp contrast to the president’s, who defended the policy at the ceremony.

The 87-year-old strode into the stadium, defying rumours of growing frailty.

Security was tight around him as he inspected a guard of honour.

Unusually, his wife Grace wasn’t by his side.

Mugabe appeared placatory in his speech, calling for national unity and peaceful coexistence.

His rivals, who hold seats in the coalition government, may not believe him – the MDC co-minister for national healing and reconciliation is currently in police custody, for addressing a meeting without police permission.

(Source)