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Zimbabwe Tells International Community Not to Meddle in Its Affairs

Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice says western countries should stop meddling in his country's internal affairs. He told delegates attending the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva that past colonial rulers have nothing to teach Zimbabwe about freedom and democracy.

In about two weeks, citizens of Zimbabwe go to the polls to vote for a new parliament. Zimbabwe's Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa notes this is the sixth time since his country gained independence that his people will be choosing a new parliament.

He says Zimbabwe fought off the shackles of colonial rule and earned its freedom through the shedding of the precious blood of its people. He says Zimbabwe does not need advice from anyone about freedom.

"We hold in utter contempt the preachings of our erstwhile colonizers and oppressors on the subjects of freedoms, human rights, good governance and the rule of law ... We feel very strongly that we should be left alone freely to choose our leaders, even when our choices should prove to be unpalatable to outsiders whose interests and agenda are at variance with our own," said Mr. Chinamasa.

The Zimbabwean justice minister saves his sharpest barbs for the United Kingdom. He calls it shameful for a foreign power, which he says has colonial vested interests in his country, to lecture Zimbabwe on human rights. He accuses Britain of backing opposition candidates in an effort to overthrow the government of Robert Mugabe.

"British interference in our internal affairs commenced with their financing the founding of the opposition party and has continued on with their partisan hostile external broadcasts beamed to the population of our country to sow dissent and lawlessness with the goal of unconstitutionally changing our government," he said. "Let me assure this August commission that our enemies, led by the United Kingdom, will not succeed."

Mr. Chinamasa says his country does not claim perfection in human-rights matters. But, he says Britain is no paragon of virtue and its efforts to demonize Zimbabwe will have no effect.

He appeals to the so-called peace-loving friendly countries in the U.N. Commission to uphold the right of all countries to be left alone to chart their own destinies without bullying from what he calls powerful, rogue states such as the United Kingdom.