PRESIDENT Mugabe has scoffed at international sentiment that Zimbabwe needs a rescue plan to save it from sliding deeper into economic crisis, blaming West
ern countries for the dire situation that the country is in.
In a graveside speech at Heroes Acre during the burial of the late Information minister, Tichaona Jokonya yesterday an unusually subdued Mugabe said: “We have heard about so many so-called initiatives to rescue Zimbabwe. You would think we are about to perish as a nation. We tell the world that Zimbabwe is not about to die, in fact it will not die.”
He said what Zimbabwe needed is just and lawful treatment by the Western world.
Mugabe’s speech is a clear indication of his stance and sets the tone ahead of an expected meeting with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan during an AU summit in Banjul, Gambia, which starts tomorrow.
There has been a diplomatic initiative to persuade Mugabe to accept international intervention through dialogue with the opposition to save Zimbabwe from a political impasse that has resulted in serious economic problems.
Mugabe remains defiant that the economic problems Zimbabwe faces stem from sanctions imposed by the West in protest over the land reform programme. He vowed to fight to the end to see that Zimbabwe remains in the hands of Zimbabweans.
But he admitted most Zimbabweans were facing serious hardships.
“Yes we are suffering. But what we need is justice, fair treatment and recognition that we are a sovereign state,” he told mourners comprising mainly members of the military, Cabinet ministers and members of the Apostolic Faith sect.
Mugabe pleaded with the international community to recognise the role it played, saying Zimbabwe had helped Mozambique contain rebels and South Africa and Namibia to gain their independence and restored the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Repeating his land mantra in line with a recent meeting organised by the Church, Mugabe promised to secure Cabinet approval to declare a National Day of Prayer to remind Zimbabweans of the value of land and its resources.
The holiday would inculcate “a message of belonging and reminder of our roots” to all Zimbabweans who cherish the land redistribution programme, he said.
“Ndimo matakaiswa, Ndimo matiri. Kana tikada kuita jerusarema zvinenge zvineyi nani? (This is where we originate from. This is where we are. If we decide to idle and dance no one should ask),” Mugabe said in apparent reference to criticism of the failed land reform scheme.