Mugabe applauded for Speech

D OC donaloc at
Thu Sep 5 03:19:05 MDT 2002

I have to say I enjoyed the caterwauling during Colin-Powell's speech
immeasurably - most of which came from US citizens - no doubt, the FBI will
do some 'house-visits'. Mugabe, for all his many faults, seemed to strike a
chord with many.

Two Irish people were arrested yesterday for damaging a US Military Plane
which was in Shannon Airport (one of whom stood as a candidate for the Green
party) - it looks as if this might be the centre of anti-war actions in

The Herald (Harare), 9/4/02

President applauded for World Summit speech

Herald Reporters:

SEVERAL people, including heads of State and diplomats, yesterday applauded
President Mugabe for his hard-hitting speech to the World Summit on
Sustainable Development on Monday.

A Red Indian chief from Alaska, northern United States, approached President
Mugabe as soon as he stepped down from the podium and congratulated him,
saying he had spoken "for all of us, the downtrodden."

The Red Indian chief was immediately followed by three people from Surinam,
a country in Latin America who said the President had "spoken for all the
people in Surinam".

Two young Americans from Seattle - a white and an Indian - also paid tribute
to Cde Mugabe saying he had spoken for all the young people of the world.

A Kenyan activist said his country was still experiencing land problems as
wheat farming, horticulture and other key agricultural activities were still
being controlled by whites.

Sources close to the President said many heads of State and diplomats who
were in the plenary hall sent him hand-written notes congratulating him for
speaking out against imperialism, colonialism and oppression of the
developing countries in the South by the rich and powerful countries of the

The President's speech was the talk of the town yesterday, with all the
major newspapers, radio and television stations reporting on it.

In a front page story headlined "Mugabe hammers Blair", the Sowetan
reported: "Mugabe drew applause from many of the delegates at the summit
when he fired a salvo at the UK Prime Minister, the sternest critic of
Zimbabwe's seizure of white-owned farms. Mugabe was strongly backed by one
of his key regional supporters, Namibia.

"The speech by (Sam) Nujoma (Namibian President), who vowed to follow in
Mugabe's footsteps in seizing land last w eek, was punctuated by laughter
and clapping from many African and developing country delegates, a clear
indication of the extent of support for Mugabe."

In its lead story headlined "Don't mess with us - Mugabe", the Star said
despite President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to keep the focus on sustainable
development, Zimbabwe grabbed media and public attention.

The newspaper said President Mugabe's speech caused a major stir among
delegates and immediately became the chief topic of discussion.

"First Namibian President Sam Nujoma gave his ally Mugabe, spirited support
and won sustained applause from the summit plenary for a frontal attack on
Blair and other former colonisers.

"He blamed them for poverty and underdevelopment in Africa which he
described as the global 'underdog'," the Star said.

The Citizen carried two stories based on the President's speech.

In its front page story titled "Ready to shed blood - Bob", the paper said:
"A sizeable number of delegates applauded enthusiastically several times
during Mugabe's speech."

The Terra Viva, a tabloid for the summit headlines reported: "Mugabe lets
the North have it.

"In his widely anticipated statement to the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe lambasted the North in
general and the United Kingdom in particular and vowed to carry on with his
contested land distribution policy," read the story in The Terra Viva.

Another conference official paper, Summit Star headlined its story: "Mugabe
makes no apologies."

Cde Mugabe blasted the West for interfering in th e internal affairs of
African countries under the guise of promoting democracy and the rule of

He said Zimbabweans had fought for their sovereignty and their land and were
prepared to shed their blood to sustain and maintain them.

"We are not English, we are not Europeans. Let no one interfere in the
internal affairs of our nation.

"Mr Blair, keep your England and I keep my Zimbabwe," President Mugabe said
to a thunderous applause.

Stung by the attack, Mr Blair yesterday claimed that President Mugabe did
not speak for Africa.

"It is a shame that people think Mugabe speaks for Africa. He doesn't," Mr
Blair told a news conference in his home constituency of Sedgefield, north

"The vast majority of African people would totally disassociate themselves
with what he said yesterday (on Monday)," the British prime minister said,
referring to President Mugabe's comments at the UN Earth Summit in South

However academics, politicians and people from all walks of life applauded
President Mugabe for his courage in articulating the concerns of the needs
of the people in Zimbabwe and the Third World.

UK based lobbyists Africa Strategy congratulated President Mugabe on his
speech, which they described as having opened a pandora's box of the toxins
of Tony Blair's foreign policy.

"The Caribbean population and blacks in Britain were deeply touched by this
statesman and mature presentation by President Mugabe which crystal clearly
enunciated the fight for anti-colonial subjugation and free _expression by a
fearless African leader.

"President Mugabe should receive an award for his rhetoric and attack on the
warped and crumbling British foreign policy that still looks down on black
people," said Africa Strategy director Dr Nyekorach Matsanga from London.

"From what I've seen, that was the best presentation of the summit," Dr
Tafataona Mahoso aptly summed the President's speech.

"Mugabe spoke seriously for the people of the South. We should say 'Amen' to
his presentation."

"We have to congratulate ourselves and President Mugabe . He spoke for us
and gave us pride."

Dr Mahoso said the President was the only leader at the summit who spoke
about solutions to poverty when touching on the land issue.

"Other leaders spoke about symptoms only without offering solutions. Mugabe
spoke about solutions," he said.

"His presentation was down-to-earth and convincing," Dr Mahoso added.

"Students in schools should emulate his public speaking skills. His
presentation has a spark of inspiration."

He said Mr Blair was outwitted by President Mugabe since he had no
conscience and was out of touch with problems facing people in the Third

Social commentator Mr Claude Mararike said Cde Mugabe's speech sought to
redirect the thinking of the African people and instill the desire to
promote and live within their African context.

"The speech reminded Africans that the idiom of slavery changes with time
and that slavery of the mind was more destructive than slavery of the body.

"This is one rare speech that we cannot get from all leaders.

The speech, Mr Mararike said, clarified the misrepresentation of the way
Zimbabwe was implementing agrarian reforms.

"It's a prerogative of Zimbabweans to own and control their assets if we
want to talk of sustainable development," he said.

"For no nation can succeed without controlling its own assets and any leader
who advocates for that is in the right course.

"Land is the central tool for development. You can't sustain any life
without land. Anybody who does not appreciate the central role of land is a

While President Mugabe drew praise for taking up the cause of the poor in
the South in the face of the dominant wealthy nations, some British
newspapers were stung by this overwhelming support.

The British right wing Daily Mail and the tabloid Sun accused Cde Mugabe of
using the summit to blame Britain for Zimbabwe's problems.

The Daily Telegraph said Mr Blair was "stitched up," and argued that he
should have made a direct response to Cde Mugabe rather choosing to "avoid
an ugly wrangle off the main agenda.

"Tactically, we suffered a defeat in Johannesburg yesterday which in the
long run may prove very damaging to Africa," the paper said.

MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai accused President Mugabe of pushing his
political agenda ahead of "the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

"Mr Mugabe and his associates are totally divorced from the real interests
of Zimbabweans," he said in a statement.

Retired Brigadier Felix Muchemwa said Cde Mugabe had scored a diplomatic

He said the timing of the Earth Summit favoured Zimbabwe at a "time we are
saying to the world, we have won the war against British imperialism and
American imperialism, as far as our land is concerned."

He added: "We as southern Africa are saying to the whole world, leave us
alone we are sovereign states. We want to run our countries the way we

Constitutional lawyer Dr Lovemore Madhuku said Cde Mugabe was using
anti-imperialist rhetoric to effectively divert attention away from human
rights issues in Zimbabwe.

He said the applause Cde Mugabe received from some delegations at the summit
was testimony of how "he is winning his propaganda war."

However some Zimbabweans said President Mugabe's speech showed a deep
understanding of the needs of Zimbabweans and the Third World as a whole.

Mr Action Zinyowera of Budiriro said one could not talk about development
when there is no land.

"It's Blair who is benefiting from the situation (land imbalances)," he
said. "Most white farmers invest here and send benefits back home to

Ms Debra Mashoko of Hatcliffe said Cde Mugabe's speech was very inspiring
and a challenge to whites to accept the reality that was unfolding with the
on-going land reform programme.

"Whites had never participated in our politics since independence because
they were busy siphoning resources out of Zimbabwe.

"Now the President has touched a raw nerve-the land issue and they are
crying foul and teaming up with the opposition to topple a legitimate
government," she said.

On the whole, most people who called The Herald said President Mugabe's
speech was representative of the feelings of all Zimbabweans and the rest of

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