Mugabe breaks silence on xenophobia

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday broke his silence as anti-immigrant violence spread to parts of Johannesburg’s commercial heart, and amid withering criticism over his hitherto quiet diplomacy on the matter.

In a conciliatory speech marking the country’s independence from Britain 35 years ago, Mugabe expressed shock at the xenophobia that the UN Refugee Agency has said has internally displaced 5 000 people in the current wave of violence.

“I would want now to express our sense of shock and disgust, and as we abhor the incident that happened in Durban where some five or six Africans were burnt to death deliberately by some members of the South African Zulu community,” Mugabe said.

“We understand it was a protest against the influx into South Africa of or by citizens of neighbouring countries.

“The act of treating other Africans in that horrible way can never be condoned by anyone. And whether these are followers of the Zulu King (Goodwill) Zwelithini, or the followers of some other misled of the South African community, we say on our own behalf and on behalf of Sadc as indeed on behalf of the African Union, that must never happen again,” added the AU and Sadc chairman.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst crisis since independence in 1980, with soaring unemployment, scarcity of foreign exchange and food which many blame on Mugabe’s policies.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses Mugabe of being the push factor of immigrants to neighbouring countries and stealing the 2013 presidential election.

The opposition has vowed to lead street protests in a bid to drive him out of office.

The South African government has come under increasing pressure from other African States to stop the violence against immigrants in the country.

Mugabe said: “Our own African people on the African continent must be treated with dignity.

“If there is any issue arising from the influx of Africans into any country, surely that can be discussed  and measures taken, taken amicably to deal and address the situation.

“We are glad that president (Jacob) Zuma has expressed his abhorrence just as we are doing at what happened.

“He has done so in regard to that incident, assuring us and assuring other African people on the continent that this is not the South African way, that it is the way of misguided South Africans.

“We take it at that and we are glad there has been this denunciation from the government of South Africa.”

Addressing the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon, Zuma said the attacks violated all the values that South Africa embodied, especially respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu.

“We appeal for calm, an end to the violence and restraint,” he said.

“Criminal elements should not be allowed to take advantage of the concerns of citizens to sow mayhem and destruction.

“Any problems or issues of concern to South African citizens must be resolved peacefully and through dialogue.

“The police have been directed to work around the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens and to arrest looters and those committing acts of violence.

“On our part, we have all the same, put in place, measures to bring back those of our people in South Africa who would want to be brought back now. “These measures have been taken by a group of ministers working together and transport has been lain on in South Africa to bring them to the border and from the border, our own transport, our own buses, to bring them into the country so that they can be brought to their own homes.”

Mugabe, the country’s sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence in 1980, says the economy has been sabotaged by domestic and Western opponents of his land campaign aimed at redressing past colonial injustices.

The European Union and the United States have slapped sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle even though the EU has scrapped most of the measures.

They deny allegations by Zimbabwean leaders that their opposition to Mugabe is “racist” and aimed at controlling the country’s natural resources.

Comments (18)

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Mugabe xenophobically burnt Solomon Mujuru beyond anyone' s imagination and he can never be the right candidate to comment on xenophobia. Unless if he wants to teach them how to burn people beyond recognition the way he did to the man who helped him to get where is today.

Ziziharinanyanga - 20 April 2015

if he doesn't comment people complain that he doesn't care. when he comments about the xenophobia, people complain that he is not fit to comment. so which is which hama. what do we want exactly? tiri confusion chaiyo.

taurai - 20 April 2015

For Mugabe to keep quiet is just as bad as him saying anything about the killings going on in South Africa.The man has lost credibility forever.There is no longer any respect for him whatsoever.

tsunami - 20 April 2015

Taurai what we want is for him to peacefully step down. That's it! In plain English! he has failed and ZPF have failed. ZPF need to eat humble pie as we all should at certain junctures of our lives. Zimbabwe is a massive mess and irredeemable whilst ZPF are there. ZPf must now begin to consult and consort with the entire nation to find a way out of this. There needs to be repentance!

Freedom4Zim - 20 April 2015

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Blessing - 20 April 2015

What does the Last King of Far far away know about dignity and human rights. If it wasn't for his dictatorship and man made economic difficulties, would these people still crossing into SA? Tell us where Dzamara is instead of trying to to potray youself as Saint that you not.

shit - 20 April 2015

Taurai,no normal person would still believe RGM whaever he says.The best thing for him to do if he was PATRIOTIC enough would be to retire & let someone take over.But unfortunately,the guy loves power more than even his life.

takairasa - 20 April 2015

the problem is about these artficial borders which were imposed on us in africa by colonialists, we are africans we are one. why white foregners are not being attacked? steve matikiti

steve matikiti - 20 April 2015

while i do not condone violence what is happening in south africa is exactly what happens in zim during elections even more bcoz if we combine the death toll of xeno 2008 and this year it amounts to about 70 while 200 people died in 2008 zim election alone killed by zanu thugs just exactly as like how south africans are killing migrants .It is a lesson for Zuma who quickly declared that violence marred elections were very free and fair but the thug he declared as a winner is blasting him now . in future Mr Zuma condemn thuggery . All zimbabweans know that every election time is like xeno time in SA . Villagers under cover of night darkness are forced to some meetings by heavily armed thugs who threaten to shoot them if they do not vote for zanu and opposition supporters are killed all rape in the process to instill fear . Non of those thugs has be arrested unlike in SA where some xeno thugs have been arrested . Itai was kidnapped Mugabe sad nothing very disgusting indeed

Diibulaanyika - 20 April 2015

As usual we always miss the point and start blamin our own President. Leaders are chosen by God people. What is happening in South Africa is pure evidence of crisis of expectations. They are now feeling that their independence has not benefited the black South Africans so they are frustrated. We should be writing comments to help them make the riht decisions that will helptheir country go forward. As for our relatives in South Africa please come back home and let us work for our own upliftment and add value to our independence. What we must remember is that colonisation came because of wars and strife in the white world caused by hunger and greed.

Jemedzo - 21 April 2015

Mugabe is entitled as the AU leader and the President of Zimbabwe to comment against the terrible things happening in SA. As a Zimbabwean although people say a lot we have never degenerated into savages and no foreigner under Mugabe's rule has ever faced what others are facing in SA.

Tafadzwa - 21 April 2015

Nonsense this country has known no peace since Mugabe took over . in the 80s he committed genocide which is the highest crime against humanity . All normal people blame Mugabe every day for making them jobless and poor except those living in CIO quarters for the reasons we all know . Mugabe makes a living through violence and it has kept him this far . He should zip up on xeno bcoz himself has a lot of human blood under his belt .

Diibulaanyika - 21 April 2015

guys i agree with you so much let the sleeping Dog lay down and am not refferning to our leader but to the government and the the party itself

vimbainashe - 12 May 2015

Lets treat each other with dignity as human beings more so as africans who all have a right to leave. I support Robert Mugabe.

King Mugabe - 7 June 2016

Lets love each other as africans.

King Mugabe - 7 June 2016

Lets treat each other with dignity as human beings more so as africans who all have a right to leave. I support Robert Mugabe.

King Mugabe - 7 June 2016

We ought to know that we all have a right to life. Why killing each other without

King Mugabe - 7 June 2016

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