A Senior Zimbabwean government official has called the bluff of critics of his country's 83-year old president saying only “death will knock off Mugabe from power.”
Aneneas Soko Chigwedere, Minister for Education, Sports & Culture, who was in Accra recently for the 3rd Secondary Education Conference, told the dailyEXPRESS that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation and would therefore not allow herself to be bullied by the “so-called god-fathers of democracy.”
Britain and other western governments have been very loud in their calls for Robert Mugabe to be removed from office by his own people through what they described as “palace coup” on the grounds that the government has orchestrated series of brutal attacks against its opponents, especially the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai who was allegedly beaten and shaved by state security on the instruction of the government.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has also been reported to have urged Zimbabwean nieghbours to put pressure on Mugabe to resign.
"He's been a disaster as a leader of his country and I think there is a very special responsibility on his neighboring African colleagues to do things," he said.
Mr. Howard told the Melbourne based radio 3AW that he has lost patience with arguments put forward by countries such as South Africa that Zimbabwe's problems should be resolved by internal debate.
"We pussy foot around far too much using diplomatic language — this man is a disaster; his country is just a total heap of misery," he said in a firm voice.
But Mr. Chigwedere dismissed the statements by the Australian Prime Minster. He told the dailyEXPRESS that the decision to remove Mugabe from power can only be taken by the people of Zimbabwe in an election expected to take place in 2010 and Mugabe will be contesting.
According to him, Britain and her allies have done everything within their power to topple Mugabe. “Everything they are doing is calculated at toppling Mugabe. The financial support they're giving to the opposition is something that we know,” he said.
Zimbabwe is at war with Britain, a war he says was precipitated by the decision of government to relocate white lands back into the hands of black farmers whose ancestors lost their lands during the time of white minority rule.
Mr. Soko Chigwedere also accused Britain and United States of sponsoring terror activities in Zimbabwe.
“The security forces recently arrested a number of youth who were involved in terrorists activities. These youth admitted throwing the series of bombs that killed an unspecified number of people in Harare and Bulawayo. But said they acted on the instruction of these two countries.”
The Zimbabwean minister denied accusations that journalists and other right groups in Zimbabwe are being harassed on a daily basis for expressing views contrary to what government would like to hear. According to him, apart from two pro-government newspapers- Zimbabwean Herald and the Chronicle- two others, Financial Gazette and Zimbabwean Independent, criticize the government on a daily basis and yet nobody attacks them.
Defending the decision to ban the Daily News newspaper owned by MDC sympathizer Jeffrey Nyanrota almost four years ago, Soko Chigwedere said the paper published seditious and libelous materials which it was unable to substantiate in the court of law.
“The government of Zimbabwe does not expect anything positive from the international media. All of them are agents of the British governments and their allies,” he added.
Robert Mugabe's government has come under increasing condemnation from western governments and Zimbabweans both home and abroad over a recent upsurge in what is believed to be state-orchestrated violence against well known critics.
With more than 80% of the population living below the poverty line, analysts are speculating a possible civil unrest that might lead to the removal of Robert Mugabe from power. Inflation is currently believed to be around 1,700%, the highest in the world as well as worsening unemployment rates.
More and more Zimbabweans are reported to be endangering their lives by attempting to run away from the country through the border in search of better living conditions. Surprisingly, the Zanu-PF has unanimously nominated Robert Mugabe as their candidate for the 2010 poll.
South African president Thabo Mbeki has come under heavy criticisms for his alleged silence over the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe. But he insists on engaging Mugabe in “constructive diplomacy” and that the current problems confronting that country should be resolved by them.