PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe Thursday said the Arab Spring could have been avoided if the countries' leaders had “read” the situation properly and warned that Western powers backing the uprisings could target Zimbabwe next.
“We have had good relations with those Arab countries in trouble today. We have sympathy with them because they did not read warnings that they should have read. That things were changing because of the wishes of their people, and because of machinations of the imperialists,” the president said.
“The pattern has been the same ... Protests against some political measure or system or wanting change. It ends up being a demand for the entire government to go,” said Mugabe addressing senior members of his Zanu-PF party.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe must be watchful of what has happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Libya where Western powers “pretend to be following the grievances of the protestors” when in fact they are after resources of the countries.
Last month Mugabe said African leaders would not recognise the interim government in Libya until it has negotiated with the fugitive leader Moammar Gadaffi.
On Wednesday Mugabe warned that “imperialists” could target Zimbabwe. “We must remain prepared to defend our country and sovereignty,” the 87 year-old leader said.
Mugabe also added that he would not give in to demands by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to stop a law that forces foreign-owned companies to surrender their majority stake to black Zimbabweans.
“Zimbabwe is for a Zimbabweans. There shall never be a time when we will give away our resources. Never. Never. Let them come as partners in return for what we do not have say technology. Yes, bring it, but not by more than 50 percent,” said Mugabe.
“We are saying resources to the people. It is not racism.”
The law was passed in 2007, before Zanu-PF formed a coalition with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party.
Tsvangirai has since voiced concerns that the law could scare away badly-needed foreign investors. It is seen by some as a controversial extension of Zimbabwe's policy to seize white-owned farms.
The law's critics argue that most Zimbabweans are too poor to own stakes in companies that might require injections of capital. They fear that the equity will end up in the hands of wealthy officials.