|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
By Anthony Mukwita & Basildon Peta
Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda told Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe - with him on a Zambian stage - that he had to forget the past and rather focus on fighting Aids and fostering development.
Mugabe responded by saying Zimbabwe's problems were British prime minister Tony Blair's fault. Later he told reporters it would be "foolhardy" and "counter-revolutionary" for him to quit power, rejecting reports that he planned to make way for a new leadership.
Mugabe was in Lusaka to attend a ceremony in honour of Kaunda by current Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa. Kaunda said it was time to leave the hardships of colonialism behind and tackle the new problems of Africa.
"Yesterday it was the fight against colonialism," Kaunda said "Today it is HIV/Aids, not white or black." Mwanawasa, with Namibian president Sam Nujoma also looking on, bestowed the Order of the Eagle of Zambia: First Division and Grand Commander of the Eagle of Zambia on Kaunda.
Mwanawasa described Kaunda as "a true Pan Africanist who believed that Zambia could not enjoy true emancipation if the rest of the region remained under the yoke of colonialism".
Kaunda shed tears as he accepted the honour and said he would dedicate his life to fighting Aids.
He told Mugabe to bury the hatchet and get on with economic development instead of fighting "colonialist ghosts", quoting a passage from the Bible saying: "Vengeance is for the Lord."
Kaunda views Mugabe as a huge liability to Africa and has been lobbying regional leaders to exert pressure on him to quit.