Monday, May 26, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: President Mugabe Urges ZANU-PF to Mobilize People in Defence of Independence; US Ambassador Threatened With Expulsion

Mugabe urges ruling party to mobilize people to defend independence

2008-05-26 08:07:23

HARARE, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Sunday his ruling Zanu-PF party should go on an all-out campaign to mobilize the electorate to defend the country's independence and sovereignty in the presidential run-off election next month.

Addressing delegates at the official launch of the party's presidential election run-off campaign at the party headquarters, Mugabe said there was need for the leadership in both urban and rural areas to go back and organize the electorate to give them renewed vigor and determination to win the election, the state media New Ziana reported.

"What we want is to energize ourselves and have determination to win," he said. "It is now a struggle. A big one so we want the people to be given the understanding. To be organized," he said.

Mugabe urged party leadership at all levels to bury differences and unite to mobilize the electorate to ensure a victory in the run-off.

He said unity was important to ensure the common enemy, bent on reversing the gains of the liberation struggle, was defeated first. Internal differences could be sorted out later.

It was also important for members to follow defined party procedures to resolve differences instead of taking these outside, Mugabe said.

Turning to economic challenges facing the country, Mugabe urged the party leadership to ensure the people to understand their origins. He also urged the party leadership to explain to the electorate measures that the government was implementing to economically empower previous marginalized people.

Mugabe revealed that the government would soon be extending the indigenization and empowerment to the mining and manufacturing sectors.

The Zimbabwean government recently enacted a law that requires all multinational companies to cede majority shareholding to indigenize people.

Zimbabwe ruling party launches run-off campaign

HARARE, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's ruling party the Zanu-PF supporters have come in thousands to attend the launch of the presidential run-off campaign set for later Sunday.

Zimbabwe opposition leader returns home

HARARE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday returned to Zimbabwe after over a month abroad, local media New Ziana reported.

The opposition leader was met at the Harare International Airport by a number of Western diplomats.

Zimbabwean rival parties in talks on presidential run-off

HARARE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's rival parties, ZANU-PF and the MDC-T, have been in frank talks to discuss conditions for the June 27 presidential election run-off and both expressed willingness to call for peaceful campaigns.

Mugabe threat to expel US envoy

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel the US ambassador, accusing him of meddling in the country's political process.

"I am just waiting to see if he makes one more step wrong. He will get out," Mr Mugabe told a rally in Harare.

Earlier this month ambassador James McGee warned post-election violence in Zimbabwe was "spinning out of control".

Mr Mugabe was speaking as he launched his campaign for the presidential election run-off on 27 June.

He also said Zimbabweans who had fled recent anti-immigrant violence in South Africa would be given land if they returned to Zimbabwe.

"Our land is still there, even for youngsters, those who are in South Africa who wish to return to the country," Mr Mugabe told his Zanu-PF party supporters.

Earlier this month, Mr McGee told the BBC he had found evidence of "politically-inspired" violence against hundreds of people in Zimbabwe.

The diplomat warned the situation made it impossible for the second vote to be fair.

Mr Mugabe also noted that Mr McGee had publicly urged opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to return to Zimbabwe to lead his embattled supporters in the run-off.

"As long as he carries on doing that, I will kick him out of the country," Mugabe said of Mr McGee, a Vietnam War veteran.

"I don't care if he fought in Vietnam. This is Zimbabwe, not an extension of America," he said.

According to Zimbabwe's election authorities, Mr Tsvangirai won the first round, but not by enough votes to avoid a second round.

He returned to Zimbabwe on Saturday after more than six weeks abroad.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/05/25 15:49:04 GMT

Mugabe fights for support, threatens US ambassador

Monday, May 26

HARARE (AFP) - - Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe called for unity in his faltering party on Sunday ahead of run-off elections next month in a fiery speech in which he also threatened to expel the US ambassador.

Speaking to a crowd of 2,000 at his party's headquarters, he launched his election campaign with a series of attacks on newly returned opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who he likened to a frog and described as a coward.

Now fighting for his political life after losing a first round of voting in March, he lambasted foreign "imperialists" who wanted to influence Zimbabwe and took aim at US Ambassador James McGee whom he accuses of interfering.

"Tall as he is, if he continues doing that (meddling in our affairs), I will kick him out of the country," the 84-year-old leader said as he stood in front of giant banner showing him with a raised fist.

The independence war hero, in power since 1980, has acknowledged his loss a in a first-round poll in March was "disastrous" and his justice minister said Sunday the party was "fighting with our backs to the wall."

"Disunity, that's what is killing us," Mugabe said, as he called for a new push to win the second round run-off scheduled for June 27.

"We should gear ourselves for a formidable fight and that means a fight that is waged through our support."

He faced a challenge from ex-finance minister and former party loyalist Simba Makoni in the first round who polled about eight percent.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived home Saturday after a more than six-week absence during which he lobbied regional leaders to put pressure on Mugabe.

In an emotional speech at the funeral of 33-year-old activist Tonderai Ndira, one of at least 40 activists the opposition say have been brutally murdered in the last two months, Tsvangirai promised not to betray his memory,

"This (murder) is clear testimony of the callousness of this regime and the extent to which they are prepared to go in order to stay in power without the support of the people," he told mourners.

"They can kill us, they can maim us, but on June 27 we are going to vote this man out. We will not betray the life of Tonderai."

The former trade union leader defeated Mugabe in a first round of voting on March 29, but not by enough to secure an outright victory.

The aftermath of the disputed first-round polls, the results of which were delayed by nearly five weeks, has been marked by violence that the opposition claims is designed to rig the run-off.

Rights groups and the United Nations have said the attacks are being directed at followers of Tsvangirai's MDC movement, with pro-government militias accused of a campaign of terror in the countryside.

US Ambassador McGee angered the regime on May 13 when he organised a tour of hospitals with other Western diplomats to see victims of political violence.

"I think it is absolutely urgent that the entire world knows what's happening in Zimbabwe," James McGee told an AFP correspondent afterwards.

On his return on Saturday, Tsvangirai made clear his position on several lingering questions about his campaign.

Firstly, he rejected the idea of a coalition government with Mugabe, which some have suggested would allow the ageing president a graceful exit and prevent further violence.

And he called for regional peacekeepers and election monitors from regional body the Southern African Development Community to be deployed by June 1.

No Western monitors were allowed to oversee the first ballot and teams from SADC and the African Union were widely criticised for giving it a largely clean bill of health.

Tsvangirai is threatened by a treason charge after he was accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe with connivance from former colonial power Britain in April.

Tsvangirai, who was beaten unconscious while in police custody in March last year, has faced treason charges on two previous occasions.

He had twice announced his intention to return to Zimbabwe only to delay the move citing fears of an army assassination plot.

No comments: