By BONGI DLODLO
“Allegations of gross abuses of human rights or failure to respect good governance have provided fodder for the West and its media, as they repeatedly seek blemishes to stick onto our country,” he told a public holiday rally.
“Even now, having received Southern African Development Community and indeed the African Union support for an inclusive government to which Zimbabweans have committed themselves, our detractors, the same old detractors, continue with their sinister efforts to divide us.”
The 85-year-old leader’s address followed a similar attack on Monday against “former imperialist and racist colonisers” where he also accused the West of seeking to divide Zimbabwe.
Mugabe in the past has regularly castigated former colonial power Britain for meddling in his country’s internal affairs.
The veteran leader, in power since 1980, joined Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a unity government in February, nearly a year after political turmoil caused by a disputed March 2008 poll.
“The peace and stability we enjoy have angered our detractors as they have sought, desperately and without good reason, to find wrong-doing on our part,” Mugabe said Tuesday at the event marking a public holiday in honour of the defence forces.
The unity government has managed to stem the country’s devastating downturn, and Tsvangirai has courted African and western countries for support to rebuild the shattered economy and return Zimbabwe to stability.
But Western powers have pushed for evidence of reform and an international chill remains towards Mugabe amid reports of continued rights abuses and internal power-struggles over key posts.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed last week for greater reforms in Zimbabwe while visiting South Africa where the two countries pledged to work together to speed up Zimbabwe’s power-sharing pact.