*His land reforms and not dictatorship or human rights abuses stand out as the reason for the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States, Britain and other Western countries.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to address the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, amid accusations from the West for plunging his country’s economy into widespread poverty, hunger and inflation. He is also accused of destroying democracy and the rule of law in the Southern African nation of Zimbabwe.
Though Mugabe has been very popular in the international media, what the audience outside Zimbabwe and Africa know of him is simply a ruthless dictator who uses his office of president to oppress the masses and deprive his people of basic social amenities. News on the economic downturns which Zimbabwe has been facing since the United States, Britain, the Commonwealth and other European nations imposed economic sanctions on the country in 2003 have been churned out to the world audience. Little or nothing has been written or published in foreign newspapers on the fact that Zimbabwe’s land reform undertaken by President Mugabe is the real source of anger from the West.
Land Reforms in Zimbabwe
The western media has most often than not portrayed just the views of the West – blaming the president of Zimbabwe for the non-respect of human rights, and dictatorship, thus, heaping the blames for the crumbling Zimbabwean economy on Robert Mugabe. Little or no mention has been made on the bitter truth: the seizure of farms (that were ruthlessly taken away from the Zimbabwean people by the British colonial masters) and redistributed to the Zimbabwean farmers by the government of the country. Though this act by Mugabe may have its own issues in the land redistribution process, Britain and her friends are sad and angry with Mugabe’s action. The monstrous picture painted about Robert Mugabe by the West stems from this sadness and anger brought forth by the recuperation of farm lands that originally belonged to the Zimbabwean people.
Mugabe himself pointed to the land redistribution act as the reason why Britain and her friends decided to strain diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and the international communities.
Here is an excerpt of what President Robert Mugabe said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 concerning the land issue.
“The West still negates our sovereignties by way of control of our resources, in the process making us mere chattels in our own lands, mere minders of its trans-national interests. In my own country and other sister states in Southern Africa, the most visible form of this control has been over land despoiled from us at the onset of British colonialism. That control largely persists, although it stands firmly challenged in Zimbabwe, thereby triggering the current stand-off between us and Britain, supported by her cousin states, most notably the United States and Australia. Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr. Brown’s sense of human rights precludes our people’s right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists.”
On the accusations of dictatorship, destruction of democracy and the rule of law levied against Mugabe, here is what he said at the UN general Assembly in 2007.
“The British and the Americans have gone on a relentless campaign of destabilizing and vilifying my country. They have sponsored surrogate forces to challenge lawful authority in my country. They seek regime change, placing themselves in the role of the Zimbabwean people in whose collective will democracy places the right to define and change regimes.”
Again, these excerpts from Mugabe’s speech at the 2007 UN General Assembly were not given any attention by the international media such as the BBC and CNN. The President’s speech was butchered and convenient pieces put together for public consumption by the international media.
Addressing the issues of human rights in Zimbabwe in respect to the accusations of human rights violations, Mugabe said this to the UN general Assembly in 2007.
“Clearly the history of the struggle for our own national and people’s rights is unknown to the president of the United States of America. He thinks the Declaration of Human Rights starts with his last term in office! He thinks he can introduce to us, who bore the brunt of fighting for the freedoms of our peoples, the virtues of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What rank hypocrisy! I lost eleven precious years of my life in the jail of a white man whose freedom and well- being I have assured from the first day of Zimbabwe’s Independence. I lost a further fifteen years fighting white injustice in my country. Ian Smith is responsible for the death of well over 50 000 of my people. I bear scars of his tyranny which Britain and America condoned.”
From the speech Mugabe presented at the UN in 2007, one fact that has been so irrelevant to the international media is that which has to do with the years Mugabe spent in prison and other misery he faced fighting for the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe in the hands of the Whites – the British. Here once again, is an excerpt of that speech.
“I lost eleven precious years of my life in the jail of a white man whose freedom and well- being I have assured from the first day of Zimbabwe’s Independence. I lost a further fifteen years fighting white injustice in my country.”
While millions of the international audience today do not know that Robert Mugabe suffered for 11 long years in jail and underwent inhumane treatment for 15 years as he fought for the freedom of Zimbabwe, Mugabe pointed out at that general assembly that his country will only respect a United Nations that recognizes the equality of sovereign States, big or small. While blasting Bush for eroding the authority of the UN by going to war in Iraq against the decision of the UN, Mugabe blamed the UN for not sanctioning the United States for the blatant disrespect of the authority of the United Nations. Here is an Excerpt.
“We are for a United Nations that recognizes the equality of sovereign nations and peoples whether big or small. We are averse to a body in which the economically and militarily powerful behave like bullies, trampling on the rights of weak and smaller states as sadly happened in Iraq. In the light of these inauspicious developments, this Organization must surely examine the essence of its authority and the extent of its power when challenged in this manner. Such challenges to the authority of the UN and its Charter underpin our repeated call for the revitalization of the United Nations General Assembly, itself the most representative organ of the UN. The General Assembly should be more active in all areas including those of peace and security.”
It is therefore clear at this point, based on the facts illustrated in this article that there are several hidden facts – facts that are not allowed to be consumed by the public by the international media. This report on Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe is just one of thousands of examples which show how international media deliberately distort facts and selectively report only facts that favor the agenda which they set. The obvious effects are that the audience is left behind with a distorted and misinterpreted perception of world events and personalities.