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Perceptions of what Mugabe said at earth summit

President Robert Mugabe’s: “So Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe,” speech at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, received mixed reaction from the country’s two leading dailies.

The Daily News said: “Some will praise it for its blunt warning to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to stop what Mugabe believes is his interference in Zimbabwean politics. Others will rank it as a rather unfortunate speech which did not address the nitty-gritty issue of the summit’s agenda -sustainable development.

“They will regret Mugabe’s preoccupation with Tony Blair to the exclusion of the number one subject among the people today – starvation.”

The Herald felt this was Mugabe’s finest moment in history.

“In just 10 minutes he had devastated the entire Western coalition against Zimbabwe and given the Third World a new voice to speak with boldness against neo-colonialism being brought in the name of globalization and democracy,” the paper said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE2022, MEDIA REACTION WSSD; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2022

2002-09-04 11:26

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002022

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION WSSD; HARARE

 

 

1.   Following are excerpts of editorials carried in

the September 4 editions of the independent daily “The

Daily News” and the government-controlled daily “The

Herald” on Robert Mugabe’s speech to the WSSD:

 

2.   Under headline “As millions face starvation,

Mugabe scolds Tony Blair,” the “Daily News” (09/04)

comments:

 

“Zimbabweans will have reacted differently to

President Mugabe’s emotional address to the WSSD

in Johannesburg on Monday. Some will praise it

for its blunt warning to the British Prime

Minister, Tony Blair, to stop what Mugabe

believes is his interference in Zimbabwean

politics. . . Others will rank it as a rather

unfortunate speech which did not address the

nitty-gritty issue of the summit’s agenda –

sustainable development. They will regret

Mugabe’s preoccupation with Tony Blair to the

exclusion of the number one subject among the

people today – starvation. . . So, while it may

be possible that there are those who feel the

President’s speech to the Earth Summit hit the

right note, there may be others who feel

strongly that by taking his brawl with Tony

Blair to such a world forum, Mugabe did not

enhance his international reputation one whit.

Certainly, they would not feel that the speech

would do much to help the six million people

threatened with starvation. They would counsel

against the confrontational stance of the

government, while the country is in such dire

need of food aid.”

 

3.   Under headline “President’s speech should

invigorate us” the government-controlled daily “The

Herald” (09/04) comments:

 

“President Mugabe’s speech at the WSSD on Monday

has been hailed by most well-meaning people

throughout the world for speaking on behalf of

the poor. The thunderous applause he got during

and after his address said it all. This was

probably his finest moment in history as he

hogged international limelight on all major

television networks, newspapers, radio talk

shows and news agency reports. In just 10

minutes he had devastated the entire Western

coalition against Zimbabwe and given the Third

World a new voice to speak with boldness against

neo-colonialism being brought in the name of

globalization and democracy. . . Although he did

not insult anyone, British Prime Minister Tony

Blair particularly felt the sting of his candid

speech. . . What the speech has achieved more

than anything else is the message that firstly,

Zimbabwe is a truly free country and will die

protecting its sovereignty. Secondly, the land

reform program is here to stay. This is the

message the world needed to hear. . .

Zimbabweans should find new vigor and strength

from the President’s boldness and forthrightness

to push on the land agenda and support this

courage by making the agrarian reforms a

success. . . .”

 

SULLIVAN

 

(46 VIEWS)

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