The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: President Hails Mbeki, SADC

New York — President  Mugabe has thanked South African President Thabo Mbeki and Sadc for successfully facilitating dialogue between Zanu-PF and MDC, leading to the successful adoption and passing of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.18) Bill that sailed through Senate on Tuesday.

The Bill now awaits Presidential assent to become law. The President, who was addressing the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly here on Wednesday, said Zimbabwe does not need external meddling or sanctions as it had ways of resolving its challenges. "We do not deserve sanctions, we are Zimbabweans and we know how to deal with our problems. We have done so in the past, well before (US President George W.) Bush and (British Prime Minister Gordon) Brown were known politically.

"We have our own regional and continental organisations and communities. In that vein, I wish to express my gratitude to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who, on behalf of Sadc, successfully facilitated dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition parties (the two MDC factions) which yielded the agreement that has now resulted in the constitutional provisions being finally adopted."

The President said all Zimbabwe needs is to be given room to chart its own destiny. "We want to be left alone. We will interact with those in our region and those in organs to which we belong. The Charter of the United Nations is our charter in Africa; wrath unto him who defies the charter," he charged, to tumultuous applause from delegates. At their extraordinary summit in Tanzania in March, Sadc leaders unequivocally expressed solidarity with the Government and people of Zimbabwe, condemned the illegal Western sanctions, pledged a rescue package to boost Zimbabwe's economic revival, and urged Britain to honour its obligations to Zimbabwe in addition to reaffirming their confidence in Zimbabwe's electoral process, among other things.

On the political front, Sadc mandated Mr Mbeki to facilitate dialogue between Zanu-PF and MDC, results of which are evidenced by the passage of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.18) Bill.

The President said in the wake of the adoption of the Bill, Zimbabwe will hold multiple democratic elections in March 2008, in line with its tradition of holding timeous general and presidential elections since independence, a tradition at variance with Western propaganda that claims the Government is a "tyrannical regime".

"Yesterday (Tuesday) you heard Mr Bush here calling my Government 'the Mugabe regime'. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view (that Westerners have a right to Zimbabwe's resources) and frustrated the neo-colonialists," Cde Mugabe said. The President said Mr Bush, former British leader Mr Tony Blair and his successor, Mr Brown, believe Zimbabwe's resources should be controlled by their kith and kin, a stand Zimbabwe resists.

"The West still negates our sovereignties by way of control of our resources, in the process making us mere chattels in our own lands, mere minders of its transitional interests. In my own country and other sister states in Southern Africa, the most visible form of this control has been over land despoiled from us at the onset of British colonialism.

"That control still persists, although it stands firmly challenged in Zimbabwe, thereby triggering the current stand-off between us and Britain, supported by her cousin states, most notably the United States and Australia."

The President said Zimbabwe won its independence after a protracted struggle against British colonialism, which, in turn, was supported by many Western countries that were signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The President said even after the end of the Second World War in 1945, in the eyes of the West, the Berlin Conference of 1884 that partitioned Africa for easy plunder remained stronger than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proving that for the West, vested economic interests, racial and ethnocentric considerations prevailed over adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Let Mr Bush read history correctly. Let him realise that both personally and in his representative capacity as the current president of the United States, he stands for this 'civilisation' which occupied, which colonised, which incarcerated, which killed. He has much to atone for and very little to lecture us on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His hands drip with the innocent blood of many nationalities.

"He still kills. He kills in Iraq. He kills in Afghanistan. And this is supposed to be our master on human rights? He imprisons. He imprisons and tortures at Guantanamo. He imprisoned and tortured at Abu Ghraib. He has secret torture chambers in Europe. "Yes, he imprisons even here in the United States with his jails carrying more blacks than his universities can ever enrol. He even suspends the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Take Guantanamo, for example, at the concentration camp international law does not apply.

"The national laws of the people there do not apply. Only Bush's law applies. Can the international community accept being lectured by this man on the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Definitely not!" the President said to wild applause from the packed assembly.

Cde Mugabe contrasted Mr Bush's human rights record with the way Zimbabwe treated ex-Rhodesians, who murdered thousands of innocent Zimbabweans during the liberation struggle, but who at independence were not jailed in pursuit of the policy of reconciliation that earned the President nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He told the Assembly of his 11-year incarceration at the hands of former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith, and the 15 years he spent in the struggle against the settler regime that had the blessing of some Western nations. "I spent 11 precious years of my life in the jail of a white man whose freedom and well-being I have assured and protected from the first day of Zimbabwe's Independence, that was Ian Smith. I lost a further 15 years fighting white injustice in my country.

"Ian Smith is responsible for the death of well over 50 000 of my people. I bear scars of his tyranny which Britain and America condoned. "I meet his victims every day, yet he walks free. He farms freely. He has a farm of over 500 hectares. He talks freely, associates freely under a black Government.

"We taught him democracy. We gave him back his humanity. He would have faced a different fate here and in Europe if the 50 000 (Zimbabweans) he killed had been Europeans. Africa has not called for a Nuremberg trial against the white world which committed heinous crimes against its own humanity. "It has not hunted perpetrators of this genocide, many of whom live to this day, nor has it got reparations from those who offended against it. Instead, it is Africa which is in the dock. It is Mugabe and not the British Prime Minister who is in the dock, facing trial from the same world that persecuted it and him for centuries." The President said Mr Bush appeared to be under the mistaken notion that he was above all laws.

"We are alarmed that under his leadership, basic rights of his own people and those of the rest of the world have summarily been rolled back. America is primarily responsible for rewriting core tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Mr Bush thinks he stands above all structures of governance, whether national or international. At home, he apparently does not need the Congress. Abroad, he does not need the UN, international law and opinion. 'I will go,' he said, 'I will go to Iraq with or without the UN'. "This forum did not sanction Blair and Bush's misadventures in Iraq. The two rode roughshod over the UN and international opinion. Almighty Bush is now coming back to the UN for a rescue package because his nose is bloodied! Perhaps some might regard him as God, but I have but one God, He is in heaven.

"Bush dares lecture us on tyranny. Indeed, he wants us to pray for him! We say 'No' to him and encourage him to get out of Iraq. Indeed, he should mend his ways before he clambers up the pulpit to deliver pieties on democracy."

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