Monday, June 03, 2013

(HERALD ZW) . . . I am not a dictator
Monday, 03 June 2013 00:11
Lovemore Chikova in YOKOHAMA, Japan

President Mugabe says he is not a dictator but is being smeared by Western countries because of the land reform programme that addressed colonial injustices through dispossessing white farmers of excess land.

Speaking in separate interviews with Kyodo News, NHK News and Asahi Shimbun newspaper, all of Japan, yesterday, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said Zimbabwe has followed the tenets of democracy since independence.

“They say I am a dictator because we took land from the Europeans,” President Mugabe said. “But we had an agreement with the British government that there would be land reform and acquisition.

“We have held elections from day one and every five years we have been holding elections. (Tony) Blair (former British prime minister) said he wanted to appeal to Europe politically by telling them that we were violating democracy, violating human rights and the rule of law. He then appealed to Europe to support him to impose sanctions on us.”

President Mugabe said Zanu-PF stood for people’s rights.

“So, how does one become a dictator when one says we take our land because you do not want to pay compensation, you Mr Blair,” he said.

“We stand for people’s rights and don’t forget the people fought for the land and died for it. We had thousands of people killed in massive bombings. One incident claiming as many as 700 lives. We used to bury them in mass graves in Mozambique and Zambia.”

President Mugabe said he never imprisoned any Briton for political reasons, yet he was imprisoned for 11 years because he was fighting for independence.

He said people would vote freely in the harmonised elections expected on or before July 31.

“There will be no violence,” he said. “We do not want to mete out violence on our people. What for?”
President Mugabe said he would retire when the appropriate time comes.

“You do not talk of retirement when elections are coming, do you?” he said. “You want me to retire? Retirement will come when the occasion demands it. But just now we are going to fight to beat the sanctions and to disgrace the Europeans and the Americans who thought we will collapse.

“Yes, I have thought about retirement, but not when the British are saying we want regime change. I won’t be changed by the British, my people will change me.”

President Mugabe said he would go on as long as Zimbabweans want him to continue.

“I do not retire from their government (Europeans), I am a Zimbabwean serving Zimbabwean people,” he said, “If my people say I must retire, I retire. But they still want me to go on. So, who is saying I must retire? The same enemies who imposed sanctions on me? That’s the more reason why I will not retire and will not die also,’’ he said.

President Mugabe attributed his longevity to strong genes and adherence to a strict exercise regimen.

He said the inclusive Government was not workable, likening it to putting together water and fire.

President Mugabe said the MDC was formed with the help of the British to extinguish the fire of the revolution.

He said Europeans who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe were being surprised by the country’s resilience.

“People of Europe are surprised why we are still alive,” he said. “They thought we were going to die, all of us, and this ‘monster’ called Robert Mugabe, they announced how many deaths of me? I don’t know now.

“I have ceased to count how many times they have said he has died, but here you are seeing me. I am not a ghost after dying so many times. A ghost of a ghost, of a ghost.”

President Mugabe said he pointed out to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their bilateral meeting on Saturday that after warming up to Zimbabwe in the early years of independence, Japan had suddenly gone cold.

“I remarked to the Prime Minister that we thought they were being influenced by Europe which had imposed sanctions on us,” he said.

“We didn’t understand why Japan should act in the same way as Europe and even withdrawing some financial grants.”

President Mugabe said Mr Blair, whom he could “not credit with much wisdom” was responsible for misleading other nations about Zimbabwe.

But he said he was not isolated from the world because of the sanctions since Europe did not represent the whole world.

“The world’s two biggest countries China and India, over a billion people each, and the whole of Asia I can visit any country and so its not isolation,” he said.

“What do I have to do with those robbers of Europe? They lived on our natural resources, depended on our gold. Now they have exhausted their natural resources. Africa still has plenty of natural resources and my country still has plenty of natural resources.”

President Mugabe also had courtesy calls from some Japanese organisations and companies at his hotel.

Speaking after meeting him, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation president Hirobumi Kawano said they were interested in bringing minerals exploration equipment to Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe is famous and rich in mineral resources and we want to enhance our cooperation in that area,” he said.

AFRECO president Mr Tetsuro Yano said he held a successful meeting with the President centred on investment in the manufacturing sector.

President Mugabe also met with Kaidaren Committee on Southern Africa chairperson Mr Yutaka Kase and discussed water and sewer reticulation infrastructure issues that need urgent attention.

He later met with Japan-African Parliamentary Friendship League chairperson Mr Ichiro Aizawa.

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