The African Union will on Friday convene a special summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to deal with the contentious issue of elections in Zimbabwe.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA
The summit has been necessitated by petitions from the MDC formations to the continental body accusing President Robert Mugabe of stampeding the nation into a July 31 poll when the playing field is not even.
Mugabe announced the development yesterday while addressing a Zanu PF campaign rally outside Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera, where he vowed to press on with the elections despite the AU summit outcome or the MDCs’ objections.
“They (the MDCs) have taken the matter to the AU, which used to be our OAU (Organisation of African Unity), so we have sent (Justice minister Patrick) Chinamasa to be prepared on the 19th of July. They want to postpone elections, but that will never happen with the absolute deceitful British who are supporting that,” Mugabe said.
The President said the country’s Constitution demanded that polls be held after every five years making them due now — on July 31 — without fail.
Mugabe dismissed the possibility of what he called a British-sponsored transition, saying that was “nonsensical”.
“You can do whatever you want. Your nonsensical talk about transition in Zimbabwe — there can never be any transition from the rule of our people to any other. There will be no change to the powers we gave to the people in 1980. There will never be that nonsensical transition. Keep it to yourself. Filthy aggressors, leave us alone,” Mugabe fumed.
It was not clear what transition he was talking about.
Turning to local politics, Mugabe said there was no need for Zimbabweans to fight among themselves, but would certainly stand up to foreign forces.
“The enemy we will only fight is the one who comes from afar to say I am here and want to change things in Zimbabwe. That one we will beat up. On our own we will not fight. Why should we fight?” he said. “We don’t want foreigners who say you have stayed in power for too long, give others a chance. No, no puppets, no,” he said. “We almost lost it in 2008, maybe we had overslept, we almost lost in broad daylight. That’s why I say be ready with your fist clenched and eyes alert and not to go back to 2008.”
Mugabe took a dig at MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube over his stance at the Maputo Sadc summit which recommended an extension of election dates in Zimbabwe.
“Others who call themselves professors (Ncube) said during a Sadc meeting in Maputo that I had erred in proclaiming July 31 as the election date. He said I did not have powers to do that. Why go to Sadc instead of going to your own courts? You do not rush to Sadc.
The courts set July 31 as the election date and so where did Mugabe err? The power comes from the people,” said Mugabe. “The MDCs are afraid of their deeds which they showed in the past five years. Some of them had lost their constituencies, but we allowed them into the transitional government that we thought would last for 18 months. They kept on saying they wanted reforms first, but now they have taken the matter to the AU.”
At the Maputo meeting of Sadc Heads of State, the regional bloc urged the parties to the inclusive government to seek an extension of the poll date and implement reforms. The Constitutional Court, however, dismissed the application and upheld the holding of the July 31 poll.
Mugabe also threatened to take over conservancies, saying animals were occupying huge tracts of land at the expense of people.
“I told Environment minister Francis Nhema recently that whenever I fly, I see acres of space for animals. Our people will have to farm on those safaris.
It is okay now because we are around 13 to 14 million, but years later we will be 20 million and farms will have to be cut to accommodate people,” said Mugabe.