Mugabe looks to China
strongman Robert Mugabe accused Britain, Australia and New Zealand on
Tuesday of forging an ''unholy alliance'' against him and said Zimbabwe's
future in the Commonwealth would depend on respect for its independence.
In a state
of the nation address, Mugabe told parliament that his embattled government
was working to build an ''alternative global power point'' -- including
China -- because a unipolar political order led by the United States
His remarks ahead of an annual Commonwealth summit in Nigeria follow
remarks made last Friday suggesting that Zimbabwe may quit the group
it had been suspended from altogether if the price of being readmitted
was to give up sovereignty.
''Our membership of the Commonwealth, itself a mere club, is dependent
on this fundamental consideration, currently being vitiated by Britain,
Australia and New Zealand, the Anglo-Saxon unholy alliance against Zimbabwe,''
he said, sparking a round of applause in a parliament dominated by his
ruling ZANU-PF party.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the 54-nation Commonwealth last year after
Mugabe was accused of rigging his own re-election.
He has not been invited to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
in Abuja in Nigeria from December 5-8. But Zimbabwe has dominated preparations
for the summit and threatened to split the group along racial lines.
Britain said on Monday it will urge fellow Commonwealth members to keep
up pressure on its former colony by maintaining a punitive suspension
of Mugabe's government at the summit, International Development Secretary
Hilary Benn told Reuters.
Australia also urged the international community on Monday not to be
intimidated by Mugabe's threats to leave the Commonwealth.
Facing international isolation over his controversial re-election last
year and seizures of white-owned farms, Mugabe said Zimbabwe was ready
to defend its independence.
''We abhor high global high-handedness of the strong and powerful; we
abhor unilateral interference in the internal political affairs of other
countries, especially smaller states,'' he said. ''We accordingly jealously
guard our sovereignty against such interference.''
In his 30-minute address, Mugabe promised to implement policies in the
coming year to reverse a deepening economic crisis which his critics
blame on mismanagement by Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain
Mugabe accuses a ''white'' section of the Commonwealth led by Australia
and Britain of pursuing a vendetta over the seizure of white-owned farms
for black settlement, and says opponents abroad and at home are sabotaging
Mugabe told parliament his controversial land seizures enjoyed international
support among Third World countries.
As Mugabe made his speech, calling for national unity, opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was in a court two streets away facing treason charges
of plotting to kill Mugabe. He could face the death penalty if convicted
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