SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Attributes Zanu-PF Violence to History

Robert Mugabe has reportedly blamed Zimbabwe's current problems on historical influences, in a meeting Wednesday with the visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

The UN Human Rights chief met with Mugabe at his state house offices and told reporters the ZANU PF leader had admitted the country currently faces problems. But he blamed historical influences for the ongoing political and economic crisis .

Pillay was invited by government for a week-long mission to assess the human rights situation in the country. She had already met with civil society groups and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvngirai on Tuesday.

Mugabe's explanation follows total denial by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who told Navi Pillay on Monday that there was no state-sponsored violence in the Zimbabwe. The Mugabe regime has tried to paint a rosy picture of the situation in the country, ahead of elections expected in the coming year.

Thabani Nyoni, spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, described Mugabe's explanation as a "desperate act" from the leader of a party that has found itself cornered. Nyoni told SW Radio Africa that Mugabe and ZANU PF have had 30 years since independence to re-define

Pillay is quite aware of the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, as she was once part of the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, which made recommendations to improve the situation in Zimbabwe, that were rejected by the regime.

"It's clerar she is aware. We presented to her concrete and comprehensive evidence of cases of human rights violations that have taken place since independence," Nyoni explained. He said the visit the UN rights chief is important because it brings the issues of rightsd violations into the spotlight and focuses global attention on Zimbabwe.

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