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August 14, 2012

Mugabe Warns Against Foreign Forces

by Sebastian Mhofu

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has told security forces that they must be on the watch for what he called foreigners who want to loot the country's resources.

The 88-year-old Zimbabwean leader was speaking in Harare at Zimbabwe’s Defense Forces Day. He urged all security forces and “progressive Zimbabweans" to remain "focused, loyal and patriotic” to defend the country’s resources.

“We should join hands to resist the unjustified pander of our resources by undeserving foreign forces that come to us like friends in the name of democracy and globalization, yet they have sinister ulterior motives,” said Mugabe.

Mugabe, who has been Zimbabwe’s leader since the country won independence in 1980, is not new to scoffing at the concept of democracy. In the past he has referred to democracy as a foreign concept to Africans. On several occasions he has said the West cannot preach democracy to him since he fought British colonial rule in Zimbabwe.

He has said he would be justifying sanctions imposed on him by the West in 2002 following reports of human rights abuses and election-rigging.

Admonishment against violence

Mugabe also called on the people of Zimbabwe to respect each other's opinions and to not resort to violence in coming months, when the nation is supposed to hold a constitutional referendum and national elections.

The last elections in 2008 were deeply marred by violence, most of it by Mugabe supporters against the opposition, and led to the current power-sharing government in Zimbabwe.

Under Zimbabwe's power-sharing coalition between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democracy and Change, the new proposed constitution must be put to a referendum before fresh elections can be held.

Mugabe also thanked security forces for protecting Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields. Human rights organizations accused security forces of abusing civilians in the diamond mines. A police officer was sentenced last month to 19 years for murdering a civilian he suspected of illegally mining diamonds.