Robert Mugabe delivers Zimbabwe attack on MDC rivals

 

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe: "We are delivering democracy on a platter... we say take it or leave it"

Robert Mugabe has launched a stinging attack on his opposition rivals in his first public speech since he won Zimbabwe's disputed presidential election.

Rejecting PM Morgan Tsvangirai's claims that the vote was stolen, he said those against him could "go hang".

Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) boycotted the speech.

The MDC has lodged a legal challenge against the result of the "stolen election", demanding it be rerun.

Mr Mugabe won 61% of the vote in the election on 31 July, while Mr Tsvangirai came second with 35% and Welshman Ncube third with 3%, according to official results.

The president's Zanu-PF party also gained a parliamentary majority of more than two-thirds, winning 160 of the 210 seats.

At the scene

A spirit of defiance was palpable at Heroes' Acre, reinforcing a controversial electoral victory that has possibly ushered 89-year old Robert Mugabe into office for another five-year term.

The posters overlooking the shrine captured the spirit of the moment: "There is honour in conceding defeat," and "It's Africa versus Europe".

The venom with which Mr Mugabe attacked his political rivals speaks of an unrepentant politician, who despised the power-sharing government that some believe gave him political respite over the past four years.

"They can go hang," he said, apparently referring to his former coalition partners. "Even dogs won't sniff their corpses."

For those tempted to think there may be a sudden shift in policies, another banner hailed the controversial proposal to force foreign-owned companies to relinquish 51% of their shares to locals. "Now begins the empowerment revolution."

In his Heroes' Day speech, which dealt with a series of national issues, Mr Mugabe focused at one point on his election victory and called for celebrations.

"Those who lost elections may commit suicide if they so wish. Even if they die, dogs will not sniff their corpses," he said.

"We are delivering democracy on a platter. We say take it or leave it, but the people have delivered democracy."

Zimbabwe's Western detractors had been "put to shame", he added. "Never will we go back on our victory."

Non-governmental organisations had been used to rig elections in 2008, he claimed, but Zanu-PF had never stopped planning since then and had "buried thieves in our midst".

"We found we were dining with and sharing our bed with thieves. We will never give thieves the power to rule."

Mr Mugabe's main rival Mr Tsvangirai won the first round of the 2008 presidential vote, but official results said he had failed to win outright.

He later pulled out of the second round because of attacks on his supporters, and eventually a power-sharing agreement was worked out.

Deep rifts

Heroes' Day is Zimbabwe's proud annual celebration, when the country remembers those who died during the 1970s fight for independence, reports the BBC's Mark Lowen in Johannesburg.

Zimbabwean soldiers adjust their ties at the Commemoration of Heroes' Day in Harare Zimbabwe's annual Heroes' Day honours those killed in the war for independence.
Robert Mugabe ( centre left) with his wife Grace and others attending the commemoration day Thousands attended Monday's event, including President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
Robert Mugabe at the Commemoration of Heroes day in Harare Mr Mugabe used the occasion to make his first public speech since being declared the winner of a disputed presidential election.
Robert Mugabe at the Commemoration of Heroes day in Harare He told those who were upset with his landslide victory to "go hang", and added that "if they die, even dogs will not sniff at their corpses".
Mr Mugabe's supporters at the commemoration event Most of those who attended the celebrations were supporters of Mr Mugabe and happy that the win extends his 33-year rule by another five years.

Mr Mugabe was speaking at National Heroes' Acre, the monument in the capital where some of those killed are buried.

Mr Tsvangirai earlier called for calm, saying there was no national celebration for the day but rather "a nation in mourning".

In a statement, published by the NewsDay newspaper, Mr Tsvangirai said the majority of Zimbabweans were "still shocked at the brazen manner in which their vote was stolen".

"We must all remain calm as we celebrate Heroes' Day. I know that we will always be a heroic people."

The MDC's boycott of the national commemoration has exposed the deep rifts at the heart of this troubled country, our correspondent says.

Mr Mugabe has not yet been sworn in for a seventh consecutive term, since the appeal is ongoing. He maintains that he and Zanu-PF won free and fair elections.

The MDC has said it has "strong evidence of electoral irregularities", including bribery, abuse of "assisted voting", and manipulation of the electoral roll.

African and regional monitors praised the poll for being peaceful but noted some irregularities.

Opposition's main complaints

  • Bribery - Village leaders were reportedly given food and kitchenware to persuade people to vote for Zanu-PF
  • Manipulation of voter roll - Voters said to have had most trouble registering in urban areas, where the MDC is strongest. More than a million names allegedly duplicates or dead people
  • Voters turned away - The MDC says 900,000 people were turned away from polling stations, mainly in the capital
  • Intimidation - There were reports of traditional leaders threatening villagers if they voted for MDC
  • Abuse of assisted voting - The MDC claims literate people were told to say they were illiterate so that they could be "assisted by Zanu-PF people"

But a local observer group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) and its network of 7,000 observers, said that about one million voters - mainly in urban areas - were "systematically disenfranchised" by being omitted from the voters' roll or turned away.

The nine-member Constitutional Court is expected to discuss the complaint this week. It has up to two weeks to deliver its verdict.

But with several judges being supporters of Mr Mugabe, our correspondent says few expect the MDC challenge to bear fruit.

In a separate development on Sunday, state radio reported that the ministry of mines had denied a report in the Times newspaper that it had agreed to sell Iran uranium for its nuclear programme.

A ministry statement was quoted as stressing that the report was "a malicious and blatant lie", and that no export licences had been issued.

Iran's foreign minister has also denied the report.

 

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  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 317.

    @310
    "A true Democratic nation limits the term of each Leader to 8 or 10 years. "

    i'm wondering here Britain or Germany lies then.probably a quasi-democracy.
    In as much as Mugabe is evil,the people adore him because his opponents are perceived more dangerous than himself by the people. Of course, Britain and co can say whatever but the citizens like worms are fully aware of the hawks around.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 316.

    60, Money "I have done extensive studies on Zimbabwe, and I hope I could educate one or two persons here. Zimbabwe used to be called Northern Rhodesia".

    Clearly not enough study then! Northern Rhodesia isnow Zambia. Zim was Southern Rhodesia.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 315.

    I wish the world was a kinder place. I wish if, we have to have leaders, they led for the good of the country and not for power or money. I wish everyone was so happy in their place of birth...they would stay there. We are individuals, not the same. We don't mix because of that truth no matter what the powers that be say (for their own agenda). I/we want nothing from you or your country.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 314.

    Problem is that Mugabe is wrongly considered a hero in Black Africa as he is perceived to have fought the whites government whereas in reality Britain forced Ian Smith out. The only people Mugabe fought were the supporters of N`Komo who he slaughtered before wrecking the economy.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 313.

    303. Still do the same here in UK. Any Census under Mugabe now would be at least 30,000 less, apart that is from elections then the population suddenly grows by a couple of million or so. 'I know you can read and write, but let me just help you put your mark here next to Mugabe, that is if you want to keep your thumb'.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 312.

    "Many of us have parents that fought against the Rhodesian forces. We have uncles, aunts, sisters and brother even grandparents that we never saw, never got to meet because they died in the war and their graves remain unmarked and unaccounted for, these died at the hands of racist the same racist Rhodesians who are now champions of human rights."

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 311.

    A message to Mr Mugabe-

    I am at a certain age where I truly know the difference between wrong from right and where I have equally learn't the meaning of evil and In turn the true meaning of Humanity.

    On all counts you fail misserably!

    I believe in the saying that what goes around comes around.

    As each day passes, you come closer to your 'inspiration'.

    I wish you luck as you will need it!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 310.

    Mugabe would insult his nation with the claim he is delivering Democracy on a platter. A true Democratic nation limits the term of each Leader to 8 or 10 years. This is to avoid despotic behaviour. Is he not aware that everyone knows his sly game full well? He emerged in the shadow of the great African statesman Mandela, and now he exists fully in disgrace compared to such moral leadership.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 309.

    @303 Chipo
    ----------
    Sure you do!!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 308.

    289.
    lordBanners
    Britain did not 'achieve' Apartheid. SA was self governing; the Afrikaaners imposed Apartheid against the will of the British.
    And in Zim almost everyone I met hated Mugabe; older people remembered being far better off under Britain.
    But Britain too was better and fairer, then.
    Now, though not like Zim, it's about worst in Europe for MPs serving their powerful pals.

  • Comment number 307.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 306.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 305.

    #303 Chipo

    Glad to hear it !

    --we hope our street demonstrations were of some use to you.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 304.

    The slaughter of 30,000 plus people in Matabeleland in the early 1980's is well documented and proven. It was referred to as tribal genocide even at the time. Mugabe was always more interested in personal power & aggrandisement than the interests of his people. Zimbabwe is unfortunately a basket case and Africa since independence a tragedy. We all hoped for so much more.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 303.

    In Rhodesia I was not allowed to live at a white only surburb where my mum worked as a maid, during census my mum used to hide me under the bed in her staff quarters. After independence I afforded a house in a low density suburb of Harare- used to be white only suburb. I was able to send my children to previously white only schools. Now I have my piece of land in Zimbabwe! Long live Mugabe!

  • Comment number 302.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 301.

    I don't know why you're all going on so about Zimbabwe.
    It's an African country. If it has problems then it's up to Africans to sort them out.
    We should let them all get on with it and spend our time sorting out our own problems.

  • Comment number 300.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 299.

    The Zimbabwean populace is largely beaten into submission. Their country, despite it's natural wealth is broke. Their neighbours don't care. It is hard to see a way out for them but I wish them well.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 298.

    There are some very weird people here talking about the West wanting to colonize Zimbabwe and breaking free of the shackles of the Empire etc. You should hear you guys talk - I have never heard such paranoia and puffed up self-importance. If we really cared about Zimbabwe we would never have let go of Rhodesia. Get over yourselves and start taking some self responsibility for your actions.

 

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