/ 11 September 2009

Mugabe denounces ‘bloody whites’ ahead of EU visit

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday lashed out at Western sanctions against him, condemning “bloody whites” for meddling in Zimbabwe’s affairs, on the eve of a landmark European Union visit.

“Who said the British and the Americans should rule over others? That’s why we say down with you. We have not invited these bloody whites. They want to poke their nose into our own affairs. Refuse that,” he said.

“We have stood firm and we have refused to let go. Zimbabwe, sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe remains ours,” he told a gathering of his party’s youth wing.

Mugabe spoke ahead of the first EU high-level visit in seven years led by aid chief Karel De Gucht.

The team will visit the nation to meet with Mugabe and his one-time rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who joined him in a unity government in February.

The EU and the United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle following a disputed presidential poll in 2002, which Western nations as well as independent local poll monitors described as flawed.

“Why are there sanctions? Why are our people being punished? It is because the imperialists want our heritage,” he said

He also insisted he would not back down from his controversial land reforms launched nine years ago, which saw white-owned farms resettled with black Zimbabweans in a bid to redress colonial-era inequities.

The chaotic reforms were tinged with political violence, while agricultural production plunged, leaving the nation dependent on food aid.

“There is no reversal of the land-reform programme at all,” Mugabe said.

“The land-reform exercise is irreversible. Those who have sought relief from outside Zimbabwe should know that land acquisition is through legal means and for that reason, the noises they make will simply frustrate them more,” he said.

On Thursday, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said the European Union is not ready to end its sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“I want to be clear: the EU is not prepared [for] lifting the restrictions we have on Zimbabwe,” said Reinfeldt, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

“It is not the restrictions that are creating problems in Zimbabwe, it is the mismanagement … not respecting of human rights,” he said in response to a question at a public address in Johannesburg. — AFP