"Land occupations are peaceful demos." Mugabe

Tony Gosling tony at gaia.org
Fri May 5 18:26:21 BST 2000

HARARE 4 May 2000 Sapa-AFP

>From the ANC Website - Newswire service
posted by Tony Gosling tony at gaia.org

     Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe remains steadfastly defiant
international pressure to
     quickly end the ongoing land crisis in the country and has 
scoffed on British's offers for aid to
     resolve the problem. 

     Ignoring mounting international concerns over the illegal 
occupation of white-owned farms by
     war veterans and supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party, Mugabe 
repeated his refusal to end
     the land invasions when he launched his party's election 
manifesto Wednesday. 

     He said the invasions, which he has called "mere peaceful 
demonstrations" took him by surprise,
     but pleasantly so. 

     "We support the war veterans. The action they took was their own 
initiative, it all surprised us,
     but pleasantly," he said. 

     Britain, the former colonial master which has offered funding
the land reforms, wants an end to
     the illegal occupation of white-owned farms and is pressing 
Harare to end political violence and
     intimidation and stage free and fair legislative elections. 

     "Neither Britain nor any other donor is going to fund a
of land reform unless it is
     conducted within the rule of law, it is based on a fair price to 
the farmer and it reduces poverty
     among the rural poor who have no land," said British foreign 
secretary Robin Cook. 

     But Mugabe reacted angrily: "We can't learn the rule of law from 
the British, because they never
     introduced it here. They cannot be our teachers of democracy 
because we introduced democracy
     in this country, there was never any democracy here, no law and 
order here". 

     In coming days, Mugabe will use special powers to take the
but the United States said the
     use of presidential powers to seize white-owned farms was "not 
the way to go." 

     "Using presidential powers to confiscate land without 
compensation would undermine
     confidence in equal treatment of the laws in Zimbabwe," State 
Department spokesman Richard

     Sweden has meantime called for concerted action by the European 
Union to defuse the violent
     land crisis in Zimbabwe, but cautioned that economic sanctions 
could backfire. 

     Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said she believed Mugabe 
wanted sanctions because it
     would give him more support at home. Any attempt to use economic 
leverage would probably
     only strengthen his support for seizing property from white farm 
owners, she explained. 

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source: gopher://gopher.anc.org.za/00/anc/newsbrief/2000/news0505 
processed Fri 5 May 2000 09:43 SAST. 

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