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25.05.2007 General News

Rawlings clashes with Zimbabwean minister

By myjoyonline

Former President Jerry John Rawlings and Zimbabwe Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, on Wednesday this week, vehemently opposed each other on current political issues in Zimbabwe.

The former Ghanaian Head of State suggested to the Zimbabwean Minister and his entourage to apologize to the people of Zimbabwe and others for troubles that have come up as a result of President Mugabe's land reform policy.

The ex-president was of the view that, in the land reforms, it was possible that toes were stepped on especially considering the manner in which the policy was implemented.

But Minister Patrick Chinamasa totally disagreed and stated that they owed no apology to anybody.

According to him, what the Zimbabwean government was seeking from the African Union Chairman, President J.A Kufuor and his team was a defence of African countries so that sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe are lifted to enable them access credit from international markets.

“We are not apologizing for anything. If there had not been any resistance against us by going to European capitals campaigning against us and lobbying the British not to own up to their commitment that would not have happened,” he said, adding “clearly they must realize the consequences of resisting; is not in their interest. So we have no apologies at all," he said.

The Minister made the observation when he led a team to pay a courtesy call on the former President, at his Ridge residence.

“Somehow, we are not making much ammunition from the fact that, this is one man, who has dealt with the most repugnant policy of the past as far as land acquisition issues are concerned. This is one man who has stood up and actually fought against imperialist policy. Admittedly, some aspects of it were a little bit too painful in terms of the manner in which it was approached. I believe that can be apologized for, for we all make mistakes," were the words of the former president.

Minister Chinamasa, who was accompanied by H.E. Ambassador Musaka, Zimbabwean Ambassador to Ghana; Mr. David Mangota, Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Mr. Water Tapjumaneyi, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Wayne Vudzijena, Ministry of Home Affairs; Mrs. Monilla Kuhenee, Ministry of Justice and Mr. Jeremiah Mukota, Deputy Ambassador, further explained to the ex-President why there was no need to render an apology to the people of his country but rather stressed the need for the lifting of sanctions.

According to him, the Zimbabwean government remained a principled one and was prepared to accord everybody equal rights irrespective of where one came from.

He stated that it was unfortunate that people who had refused to apply for the re-allocation of lands were now crying all over.

Hon. Patrick Chinamasa who again disagreed with the ex-president over the latter's assertions that perhaps, the land reform policy could result in the whites leaving Zimbabwe with all their scientific competence, said sanctions should be lifted; "we don't need the largesse from the IMF or the World Bank. For the past 10 years we have been operating on our own resources without any financial support, which demonstrates the resilience of our economy. We have been pummeled as far as we are concerned and all that we are asking for is the lifting of the sanctions".

The visit which afforded all the members the opportunity to openly discuss matters saw the Zimbabwean Minister argue that his government was battling seriously with the issues of de-colonisation and charged the AU under the chairmanship of President Kufuor to ensure that the liberation process, which was started some years back, would be completed.

Jerry Rawlings, after listening attentively to the explanations from the Minister whom he consistently referred to as "Chief" took a swipe at the Western Media for blacking out the other side of the story.

"Thank you. But the point is that some of these things are kept from some of us. Maybe, some of us are speaking from the perception of the Western Media who are against you.

"Or maybe, this is where a lot more effort had been made but I am saying that recently, the Zimbabwean government began to make some moves with regard to what they perceived as areas of rejection, as far as acquisition of land was concerned."

Before he proceeded, the Minister of Justice interjected and said, "What we are saying is that, the objective of the struggles must be realized. We did it by nationalizing our farm lands," adding that any Zimbabwean was eligible for allocation of land irrespective of whether the person is white or black. "If you are a black or white citizen you would all queue and make the application," he said.

Continuing, Flt. Lt. Rawlings who had with him, his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings; Mr. James Victor Gbeho, former Foreign Minister and Mr. Emmanuel Victor Smith, his Special Assistant who is also the Managing Editor of Weekly Standard, said, "from what we are seeing under this unipolar exercise of power, the right of might under the leadership of some of these Western Powers is actually made to supercede the philosophy of the might of right."

Describing President Mugabe as a good leader for, "his sense of patriotism," he said perhaps some of the scenes that were captured by the Western media and broadcast were designed to demonize the policies of the Zimbabwean President.

After launching his usual attacks on British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush, he said, "what I want to say is that the fight against neo-colonialism appears to be a more Herculean task than the fight against colonialism. It appears we have got a long way to go."

He did not also mince words on what he thought was wrong on the part of the Pope and the outgoing Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Credit: The Chronicle

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