News / Africa

Mugabe Seeks Peace With 'Arrogant' West

President Robert Mugabe inspects guard of honor during opening of first session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, Harare, Sept. 17, 2013.
President Robert Mugabe inspects guard of honor during opening of first session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, Harare, Sept. 17, 2013.
Reuters
— Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday he was ready to re-establish normal relations with the "arrogant" Western countries that have questioned his re-election in a vote his rivals say was fraudulent.
 
Striking an unusually conciliatory tone, the 89-year-old, who has dismissed Western criticism of his July 31 victory, told parliament his ZANU-PF party would pursue a constructive foreign policy based on cooperation with other countries.
 
"We indeed stand ready to work even with those who, before, were at odds with us, our detractors," he said, without naming any state, at a pomp-filled opening of parliament.
 
"The opposition Movement for Democratic Change boycotted the ceremony in protest at what it has described as "massive fraud."
 
Mugabe arrived at parliament in a vintage Rolls Royce, flanked by police on horseback, some of the many colonial era-style trappings at odds with the politics of a leader known more for his verbal tirades against the West, especially former imperial power Britain.
 
However, Mugabe's 40-minute speech was remarkable for its politesse.
 
He described Western powers as arrogant for keeping sanctions on his ZANU-PF government for the last 13 years over charges of rights abuses and vote rigging, and said his administration would strengthen laws to force foreign-owned firms to surrender majority shares to locals.
 
However, overall he focused on plans to revive an economy struggling with poverty and unemployment.
 
Mugabe's victory was endorsed as free by African observers, but London and Washington questioned whether it represented the will of the southern African nation's 13 million people and said sanctions against top figures in Harare should stay.
 
Normal ties with the West would help Zimbabwe's economic recovery from a decade-long slump that ended in 2009 with the scrapping of the worthless Zimbabwe dollar, and to that end Mugabe has been calling for a lifting of sanctions.
 
He received a boost on Tuesday when the European Union agreed to lift curbs on state mining firm Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
 
Despite his radical rhetoric, Mugabe — Africa's oldest leader — has also shown a soft spot for British history and culture, speaking in immaculate "Queen's English," dressing in suits and ties and enjoying tea and cricket in the afternoon.
 
His respect for tradition was evident in the parliamentary ceremony, which included a guard of honor, a fly-past by military jets and 21-gun salute. He was also invited to address the House by a bewigged speaker, another echo of British political convention.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid