Thursday, April 22, 2010
Queen congratulates President Mugabe
Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010 2:06 pm
BETTER TIMES: Queen Elizabeth II receives President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and First Lady Grace Mugabe at Buckingham Palace, London in March 1997.
QUEEN Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has sent a congratulatory message to President Mugabe on the occasion of Zimbabwe’s 30th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
Zimbabwe marked the milestone on Sunday with the nation celebrating three decades of independence from British colonialism. In her message, which came via the British Embassy in Harare, the monarch — who is the British head of state — wished Zimbabwe well in years to come.
“As you celebrate your national day, I have much pleasure in sending my warmest greetings to the people of Zimbabwe, together with my best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous future,” she wrote.
President Mugabe maintains that he has great admiration of the Royal Family. It was the Labour government of Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown that reneged on promises made at Lancaster House negotiations in 1979 to fund the land redistribution exercise in Zimbabwe.
It was also Mr Blair who mobilised the international community to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The Queen's message will be viewed by many people as confirmation of this long-standing mutual respect for the two countries.
Also on Independence Eve, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement — addressed to no one in particular — in which she claimed Washington was a close development partner of Zimbabwe.
“The United States provides more than US$300 million per year to support Zimbabwe’s economic reforms and a democratic transition, as well as for humanitarian, food and health assistance,” she said.
However, Government officials yesterday challenged the US to show what economic support they had given Zimbabwe, and instead pointed out Washington has an illegal economic sanctions regime in place that had resulted in a deterioration of ordinary people’s standards of living.
Government says aid that comes into the country is via US agencies and not directly to government, and does not help government policy, but sectoral US interests.
“They impose sanctions that bar their companies from trading with Zimbabwean entities.
“So in essence what they are saying is; pauperise the people of Zimbabwe and then claim to be doing good by offering what they say is humanitarian assistance,” one official charged.