Zimbabwe Accuses US, UK of Plan to Topple African Governments

July 7, 2008 - 8:08 PM

Nairobi (CNSNews.com) - The government of Zimbabwe has accused the United States and Britain of plotting to destabilize southern African nations, starting with Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's foreign minister Stan Mudenge claimed Sunday that the U.S. and Britain have teamed up to bring down the governments of Namibia, South Africa, and other states in the region that do not agree with the two superpowers.

He claimed the immediate target was Robert Mugabe's government and the ruling party, ZANU-PF.

The minister told a political rally that the US and Britain were openly supporting the opposition with the hope of bringing down the ZANU-PF leadership.

"Today they have targeted comrade President Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF government. Tomorrow it is going to be comrade President Sam Nujoma and his SWAPO in Namibia, then comrade President Thabo Mbeki and his African National Congress in South Africa, and then the whole region," he said.

Mugabe's ruling party is faced with the stiffest challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and it has accused Britain and the west of backing the MDC.

The minister, speaking in the local language, said the US and UK were meddling in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, especially in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24-25.

He warned that Zimbabwe and other nations in the region were ready to repulse their "evil attempts."

Last week, the United States government approved a bill to suspend bilateral US aid to Zimbabwe until democracy and the rule of law was restored.

The bill, which still must be approved by the full Senate, would be a catalyst for opposition groups to mount legal challenges to the election results or repressive practices.

But Mugabe's party has already warned that it will not relinquish power if the opposition wins the election with the help of foreign nations.

"We are saying no to this whole evil system, and Africa is prepared to fight back," foreign minister Mudenge said. "We condemn everything they are doing and if it is a war between blacks and whites, so let it be," he declared.

About 30 people, five of them white commercial farmers and black opposition supporters, have died and hundreds of others have been beaten, raped or forced to flee their homes in the last few months.

The violence is perpetrated by the Zanu-PF party supporters, who support the invasion of white-owned lands.

The state-sponsored land grab of hundreds of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks has plunged agriculture, the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy, into crisis. It has also put Zimbabwe on a collision with the international community.

Late last week, an opposition supporter was killed after he and his brother were abducted and beaten by suspected ZANU-PF supporters.

On Saturday, Mugabe's government also accused the United Nations of trying to hijack the monitoring of the elections.

Representatives of the European Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Organization of African Unity, and the USO's Democratic Institute are among the thousands of foreign and local observers monitoring the campaign and the elections themselves.

Britain was barred from monitoring the polls on the grounds that it was a biased observer. (Zimbabwe is a former British colony.)

However, on Friday, the UN pulled out of the election process after the Zimbabwe government rejected its offer to co-ordinate the international observers.

"If the United Nation wants to send observers, they were free to do so, but they cannot appoint themselves coordinators of sovereign observer missions, the government said.

Diplomats and analysts have blamed ZANU-PF supporters and self-described veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war for the violence that followed the invasion of hundreds of white-owned farms since February by pro-government militants.

Last week Amnesty's International's Africa Director Maina Kiai said the wave of "state-sponsored terrorism" against opponents of President Robert Mugabe threatened free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

He said the government was using liberation war veterans to intimidate the electorate before the parliamentary elections.