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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid