Vice-President Joice Mujuru of the Republic of Zimbabwe. The southern African nation has been the victim of an international destabilization campaign directed from Washington and London.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
From Itai Musengeyi in HAVANA, Cuba
VICE President Joice Mujuru has paid tribute to Sadc and the African Union for backing Zimbabwe at a crucial time in its history as it battles Western hostility against the implementation the land reform programme.
Addressing African diplomats accredited to Cuba on Monday night, Cde Mujuru said Africa was well aware of the bilateral problem between Zimbabwe and Britain over the land issue and has always stood by Harare despite the West’s propaganda onslaught.
"I want to thank you for standing by us in this trying time of our history. Sadc and the AU know the root cause of our problem with Britain," Cde Mujuru told the diplomats.
She chronicled the history of the land issue in Zimbabwe, saying land was one of the major reasons liberation fighters took up arms against the colonial Rhodesian regime.
The Western propaganda included portraying Zimbabwe a collapsing and lawless state, an unsafe tourist destination and demonisation of the land reform programme.
"I can tell you that Zimbabwe remains one of the most safe tourist destinations. Zimbabwe remains one of the most peaceful countries in the world to the extent that some Western diplomats seek permission to buy properties in Zimbabwe on retirement," the Vice President said.
Cde Mujuru said Britain had sought to turn a bilateral dispute into a multilateral issue but Africa and other progressive regions such as Latin America have not been swayed by the misrepresentations.
She said while Zimbabwe was facing economic problems as a result of the Western sanctions, it was soldiering on and was far from collapsing. A decade punctuated by droughts had also worsened the situation but Government was providing farm implements to new farmers under its mechanisation programme and reviving irrigation schemes to boost agricultural production and turn around the economy. Some opposition members also got tractors and planters among other farm implements, the Vice President said.
The West was supporting the opposition and colluding with some businesses to effect regime change through price increases to incite people to revolt against the Government, Cde Mujuru said.
But Zimbabweans were a resilient people and would resist any attempts to recolonise their country.
"Indeed, the clarion call in Zimbabwe is that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. We cannot sell our birthright."
The diplomats urged Zimbabwe to maintain its stance to preserve its sovereignty and independence.
They said the problems in Zimbabwe should be solved by Zimbabweans themselves and not the West through their proxies in the opposition.
"Africa understands Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is defending its land," said one of the diplomats.
On Monday Cde Mujuru — who is here on an official visit at the invitation of her counterpart Mr Esteban Lazo Hernandez — also met Cuban Minister of Education Mr Luis Gutierrez and Minister of Investment and Economic Collaboration Mrs Marta Lomas Morales to discuss possible areas of co-operation.
The Zimbabwe-Cuba Joint Commission, which meets here next week, would follow up on the issues discussed between the Vice President and the Cuban officials.
Mr Hernandez hosted a dinner in honour of Cde Mujuru on Monday night.
Yesterday the Vice President laid a wreath at the Colon Cemetery where Cuban heroes who died fighting liberation struggles in Africa and other parts of the world are buried. She also met the Head of International Relations in the Cuban Communist Party Mr Fernando Remirez de Estenoz and toured La Rampa Polyclinic, one of many of Cuba’s high quality health facilities.