Mugabe: Critics Unwelcome, Foreign Aid Encouraged
So much for a weakening stance in Harare... Meanwhile, leaders of neighboring nations are saying a whole lot of nothing as the oppressive status quo continues. Mugabe has left the rest of the world in a conundrum: if we keep sending aid, he's encouraged to carrying on as he's carried on. If we stop sending aid, then his people suffer even more. How should Zim's neighbors deal with a bully like this, who will, by his own declaration, never change his ways?
A defiant Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told critics of his government to "go hang" themselves on Thursday in his first response to the arrest and assault of opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai.
After talks with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who had gone to Harare in a bid to mediate between Mugabe and the opposition, the veteran leader accused Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of instigating violence.
Images of a badly beaten Tsvangirai and his supporters have triggered worldwide condemnation, particularly from Mugabe's arch-foes in London and Washington, but Mugabe showed no signs of softening his stance.
"When they criticise the government when it tries to prevent violence and punish perpetrators of that violence, we take the position that they can go hang," said Mugabe at a joint press conference with Kikwete.
"Here are groups of people [the MDC] who went out of their way to effect acts of violence. We hear no criticism to this campaign from Western governments. This is the West that has always supported the opposition elsewhere, again showing its true colours. We don't accept their criticism."
Mugabe also acidly told Western governments that while they should keep their nose out of Zimbabwe's affairs, he would deign to accept their charity in a country where more than 80% of the people are living in poverty.
"We have no objection to their giving charitable assistance to our community, but when they indulge in our politics, we differ with them," he said.