President Robert Mugabe on Thursday skirted the unraveling leadership issues within Zanu (PF), opting instead to rap African and western leaders for hypocrisy.
Speaking at State House to mark the July 31 2013 general elections that he and his party won with a two thirds majority against claims of vote rigging, Mugabe accused the current crop of African leaders of pandering to western interests.
He said Zanu (PF) had united to win last year’s elections, thereby enabling his supporters to remove the chains that he said Zimbabwe had endured under US and British interference and the west’s agenda to topple him and his party from power.
“They (countries like US and Britain) say, ‘We will give you help provided you do A, B or C’. You have to say ‘yes’ to them,” said Mugabe.
“Kwame Nkrumah (founder Ghanaian statesman), said Ghana would not be free until every corner of Africa was liberated. This thinking by Nkrumah is no longer there in Africa. Sad! How it will be gotten rid of, I just don’t know,” he added.
Mugabe said African leaders were letting the west control them through external financial assistance.
“There is this reliance—in some cases going up to 60 percent—on foreign aid across Africa. So, you can’t raise your voice against them (western countries). They seek to fund even our civil service,” he said.
He accused the US of hypocrisy, saying it was turning a blind eye on the “brutal” treatment of Palestinians in Gaza where Israel was “bombarding schools, hospitals and United Nations offices even, yet (US President Barack) Obama is silent”.
He said: “Obama is silent, (British premier David) Cameron is silent. That is when there is real suffering in small places like Gaza where the US sees no resources. Does their conscience then go to sleep? Is it so deep they can’t be awakened? They should not tell us about human rights”.
He hailed last year’s elections as peaceful, adding that western powers were manipulating the opposition—in reference to MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai—of making unsupported claims that he rigged the polls.
“All they say is that the elections were rigged but when we ask them where and how, they don’t have any answer. We ask them again, and they remain silent. It is clear that the west cannot come to terms with the fact that we won.
“We are back where we were on April 18 1980 (when Zimbabwe attained majority rule with Zanu (PF) winning most of the seats and forming the first black government). We are free to give direction to the masses as an unfettered political party. This is the celebration we are having today,” said Mugabe.
He described the time between 2009 and 2013 when Zanu (PF) was in a coalition government with Tsvangirai’s party and the smaller MDC faction fronted by former Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, as a painful one when “we were made to roll in the mud”.
He urged his supporters in the women and youth leagues to desist from violence in the looming branch elections set to take place from next week ahead of an elective congress in December.
Delegates could be heard whispering among themselves that Mugabe should have shed light on recent succession dynamics in the party which culminated in his wife, Grace, being endorsed as the only candidate to lead the powerful women’s league at the congress.
While the league said her elevation was meant to fight factionalism that they said was rife, critics interpreted the move as Mugabe’s way of maintaining his power dynasty.
Mugabe shared the high table with his deputy, Joice Mujuru, the Senate president, Edna Madzongwe—who was instrumental in elevating Grace—administration secretary, Didymus Mutasa and Defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi who is touted as a possible successor to the 90 year old party leader.
The national chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo and the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, were away on business, Mugabe announced, while Grace had travelled outside the country with Bona, their daughter.