Mugabe aide tells West to 'go hang'
Robert Mugabe's spokesman told the West on Tuesday it can "go hang" amid growing criticism of the Zimbabwean president's widely discredited reelection which has seen Washington push for UN sanctions.
"They can go and hang a thousand times, they have no basis, they have no claim on Zimbabwe politics at all," spokesman George Charamba said in answer to a question about Western criticism of Mugabe's violence-marred election.
Charamba also appeared to reject a Kenyan-style power-sharing deal.
"I don't know what power-sharing is," Charamba said. "Kenya is Kenya, Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe."
The 53-member African Union was holding closed-door talks on the final day of a summit in Egypt amid intensifying pressure for the continent's leaders to act to resolve the crisis which some fear could destabilise southern Africa.
Mugabe , 84, was sworn in for a sixth term after being declared the winner of Friday's election runoff with more than 85 percent of the vote in a race boycotted by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change because of deadly violence and voter intimidation.
Amid South African-led efforts to broker a way out of the crisis, Charamba said: "There are two political parties in Zimbabwe that are prepared to discuss -- we are talking about a ruling party that has offered dialogue to the opposition."
But "we are not promising (Tsvangirai) anything beyond what will emerge from the discussions."
The opposition number two, MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti, however, said that Mugabe's holding of a one-man election killed off any prospect of a negotiated political settlement and denied any talks were taking place.
"While the MDC has pursued dialogue in a bid to establish a government of national healing before June 4, the sham election on June 27, 2008, totally and completely exterminated any prospect of a negotiated settlement," Biti said in a statement.
Following Charamba's "hang" comment, Tsvangirai told AFP by telephone that "we don't respond to this sort of thing ... This man is mad."
At the AU summit in Cairo, Robert Mugabe was caught on video apparently confronting a British TV reporter who tried to question him about his election win.
The mercurial strongman had to be held back as he rushed at the reporter from British ITN news on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Cairo.
"Who are you, you bloody idiots," ranted Mugabe, wagging his finger as security men tried to usher him away.
The reporter angered the 84-year-old leader when he asked about Zimbabwe's run-off election, which the opposition candidate boycotted amid violence and intimidation.
"On what basis do you regard yourself president of Zimbabwe," the reporter asked.
"On the same basis as (British leader) Gordon Brown regards himself as prime minister," replied Mugabe. "On the same basis."
Things quickly escalated as Zimbabwean and Egyptian security tried to manhandle the reporter.
"Don't ask stupid questions," Mugabe snapped. "We are not a British colony. You must know that. What does the British have to do with us?"