"Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy," he told about 7 000 supporters of his ruling Zanu-PF at Harare Sports Centre.
He vowed to continue commandeering white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks and said the courts, which have twice declared the land grab illegal, would not stop him.
"The courts can do whatever they want, but no judicial decision will stand in our way... My own position is that we should not even be defending our position in the courts. This country is our country and this land is our land.
"The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans," he said to wild cheers and applause from party delegates.
Party sources have said Mugabe's leadership ahead of presidential elections in 2002 could be on the agenda for the three-day party congress, but the 76-year-old president made no mention of his own position in the party.
Mugabe's lieutenants are adamant that he will stay, but analysts say the party is doomed if he does.
"I just can't see how they can seriously contest, let alone win, the presidential elections without a change of leadership," University of Zimbabwe political analyst Emmanuel Magade said.
Mugabe accused the country's one-percent white minority of sabotaging the economy in an effort to destroy Zanu-PF, in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
"They are closing their factories and companies in order to worsen our economic condition. They are trying to sabotage the economy in their fight against our government. They will not succeed.
"They think because they are white, they have a divine right to our resources. Not here. Never again."
Mugabe said Zimbabwe's 12-million blacks were not in control of their own economy, which is in deep recession.
"We have an economy which excludes and exiles our people... all the power and control is in the hands of a tiny racial minority and a minority of colonial origins," he said.
"What we have is... a foreign-owned and foreign-controlled economy. Of course we participate as wage-earners, but as modest and circumscribed wage-earners."
Zanu-PF officially called the special congress to discuss the party's flagging fortunes after losing a referendum on a draft constitution in February and only narrowly winning parliamentary polls in June after 20 years in power.
Former labour leader Morgan Tsvanigari's new opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won an unprecedented 57 of 120 parliamentary seats up for election in June.
But Mugabe vowed this would never happen again, saying blacks who had voted for the MDC in June should be ashamed.
"Tsvangirai is just an empty vessel, a bucket, a miserable figure. The intellectual level of our country will not allow the ignoramuses of our country to rule.
"No self-respecting black man must ever support the MDC because it is just a front for the white man," he said.
Returning to the main theme of his rule this year, Mugabe said the redistribution of largely white-owned farmland would be crucial to economic recovery.
"The real structural adjustment of the economy should start with the resolution of the land problem... the land must change hands in favour of the majority of our people.
"The land is ours by birth, ours by right, also ours by struggle. Africa is for Africans - Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans," he reiterated.
Mugabe spoke two days after white farmer Henry Elsworth was killed in an ambush near his farm southwest of Harare. He was the seventh white farmer to die violently this year. - Reuters
Zimbabwe President: Fight
The Associated Press, Thu 14 Dec 2000
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — President Robert Mugabe told followers Thursday to continue fighting Zimbabwe's whites and their ``black puppets'' days after the killing of a seventh white farmer by suspected members of his party.
``Our party must continue to strike fear in the hearts of the white man, our real enemy,'' Mugabe told his ZANU-PF party at the opening of its convention.
The meeting follows the shooting death of 70-year-old Henry Elsworth, a farmer and Mugabe critic, on Tuesday. Elsworth's son was shot five times but survived.
The party convention also comes after an election setback in June, which left the party with a narrow majority of 62 of 120 elected seats. On Thursday, the president urged party loyalists to never again ``go to sleep'' and allow gains by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.
``No self-respecting black man must ever support MDC, which is a front for whites,'' Mugabe told about 6,000 party delegates from the country's 10 provinces.
Mugabe also vowed his government will continue to ignore court rulings declaring seizures of white-owned land illegal.
His government has begun settling landless blacks on hundreds of white-owned farms without following land reform laws passed in April.
``Africa is for Africans. Land is ours by birth, ours by right,'' Mugabe said. ``We call on all blacks to stand together to isolate these whites.''
The government has also ignored two High Court orders to remove ruling party supporters and squatters who have illegally occupied 1,700 white-owned farms since February.
Earlier Thursday, Justice Minister Augustine Chikumira confirmed police were investigating threats by Mugabe activists to attack judges at their homes to force them to resign. The government and its supporters accuse the judges of racism and bias in favor of whites.
Six of about 30 judges are white, while most of the hundreds of magistrates are black.
About 70,000 whites live among 12.5 million blacks in the former British colony that Mugabe led to independence in 1980. On Thursday, he said whites still controlled the economy and about 4,000 ``white racist commercial farmers'' still owned a third of the productive land.
``They discriminate in every way against the majority'' he said.
Earlier this month, Mugabe warned white farmers that they would be expelled if they continued fighting the land confiscations in court.
Uncertainty over the land issue has aggravated Zimbabwe's worst economic
crisis since independence in 1980. Farm occupations have cut production of
tobacco and other export crops, and most foreign loans have been halted. Hard
currency shortages have led to acute shortages of gasoline.
A white farmer and former member of the Zimbabwean Parliament has reportedly been killed in an ambush
Henry Elsworth died instantly in a hail of gunfire as they drove to the family farm, according to his son, Ian (pictured), who was wounded in the attack.
It is claimed the killing may be linked to the wave of farm invasions which have already claimed at least 31 lives.
Mr Elsworth’s farm was one of the hundreds to be occupied by Zimbabwe’s war veterans in support of President Robert Mugabe’s programme of land seizures for black resettlement.
The Commercial Farmers Union had already warned its white members and their black workers faced more bloodshed until Mr Mugabe restored order to the farms.
The killing on Tuesday came ahead of a crucial meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF party where the future of Mr Mugabe’s leadership was expected to be discussed.
Mr Elsworth was a close associate of the country’s former white Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith, and had been a member of parliament for Mr Smith’s Rhodesian Front after its independence in 1980.
"It's becoming increasingly clear this is not a random act, but a calculated
political assassination. It was a military-style operation," said Malcolm
Vowles, spokesperson for the CFU.
Vowles said the Elsworth farm was occupied by war veterans and there had been tension on the farm, but it was "not greater than on other farms that were occupied".
War veterans had invaded and occupied Elsworth's farm in February and accused him of being "arrogant and racist", said other sources.
Elsworth had been convicted of crimia injuria by a regional magistrate in 1994 after he allegedly ordered a group of black women and children collecting firewood on his farm to strip naked.
|'He has been consistently intimidated in recent months'|