Zimbabwe president threatens opposition with harsh penalties News
Zimbabwe president threatens opposition with harsh penalties

[JURIST] Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday threatened harsh punishments for any groups that oppose his government in an Independence Day speech. He said, "Anyone who dares go against the law … dares lead any group of persons to embark on a campaign of violence or terrorist activities will be inviting the full wrath of the law to descend mercilessly on him or on those who follow him." Mugabe's comments come just days after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called for street protests to end Mugabe's presidency, and a month after the Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] government dropped charges [JURIST report] against alleged Mugabe assassination plotters. The government has proposed new anti-terrorism laws [JURIST report] in response to the plot.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since its independence from the UK 26 years ago, also used his speech to blame droughts and "unjustified" sanctions by Western nations as the cause of the declining economy. The leader also said government plans to increase its control over the country's mining industry would move forward. BBC News has more.