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Address by President Mugabe to the U.N.
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2004

The Herald (Harare)
September 24, 2004

Address by President Mugabe on the occasion of the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, on Wednesday.

MR PRESIDENT, I am delighted to congratulate you (Mr Jean Ping), a distinguished son of Africa, upon your election as President of the 59th Session of the General Assembly. Indeed, at a time when the community of nations has committed itself to paying due attention to issues that relate to development in Africa, through support for Nepad and other mechanisms, your Presidency gives us the hope and confidence that our concerns and aspirations and those of others will remain high on the agenda of this august body.

Let me also express our sincere appreciation to your predecessor, Mr Julian Hunte, for the efficient and exemplary manner in which he conducted the business of the 58th Session.

Mr President, at the 58th Session, alongside others, I spoke about the need to reform the United Nations and its related bodies so as to make them more democratic. I stressed the perils inherent in the status quo, particularly, with regard to the dominance of global politics by one superpower and its closest allies.

While we welcome the current debate on enhancing the authority and role of the United Nations, we wish to stress the need to address the core issue of democratisation of international governance. Debate on the reform of the Security Council has been too long-drawn because of attempts calculated to protect those whose interests are best served by the status quo.

Ironically, it is some of the same forces that, since last year, have been raining bombs and hellfire on innocent Iraqis purportedly in the name of democracy.

Iraq today has become a vast inferno created by blatant and completely illegal and defiant acts of aggression by the United States, Britain and their allies, in the full trail of which the world has witnessed mass destruction of both human lives and property, and with them our human rights, values, morality and the norms of international law as enshrined in our Charter.

We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that "There is but one political god, George W. Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet". Mr President, the UN Charter remains the only most sacred document and proponent of the relations of our nations. Anything else is political heresy!

Mr President, we note that the Secretary-General has placed before the General Assembly, the Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the United Nations Civil Society Relations. While civil society makes a significant contribution to the work of the United Nations, we hope any arrangements that will eventually be agreed upon will recognise that the United Nations remains an inter-state and inter-governmental body. It is also our expectation that the conclusions of the debate will recognise the different levels of development of civil society in different parts of the world.

Mr President, as we prepare for the mid-term review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration in September 2005, it is apparent that many developing countries, including my own country, Zimbabwe, may be unable to meet goals and targets set, as our sub-region of Southern Africa has over recent years experienced extended and successive periods of inclement weather, principally droughts, that wreaked havoc upon our economies and, accordingly, diminished our capacity to achieve the Millennium Declaration targets.

The situation, particularly with regards to the health and education sectors, has also been worsened by the brain drain and the devastating effects of the HIV and Aids pandemic.

Mr President, in this regard, Zimbabwe welcomes the continuing efforts by this community of nations to find solutions to the scourge of HIV and Aids that has ravaged our people and economies. At the national level, we have taken measures, within our limited means, to combat the pandemic. We are also co-ordinating our efforts at the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) level.

Regrettably, we continue to see the unfortunate and futile tendency to use assistance in this area as reward for political compliance and malleability, making it unavailable to countries whose governments are deemed "inconvenient". Let it be realised that the pandemic does not respect boundaries, and these self-serving, selective approaches will have little or no meaningful results.

Zimbabwe has also had to withstand unprovoked, declared and undeclared sanctions, imposed by Britain and its allies who are bent on bringing down our legitimately elected Government.

Mr Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, has arrogantly and unashamedly announced in his Parliament that his government was working with Zimbabwe's opposition party to bring about regime change. Once again, the lawless nature of this man who, along his Washington master, believes he is God-ordained to rule our world, has shown itself.

Regime change is an inalienable right of our Zimbabwean people who, through their sovereign vote, can make and unmake our governments. In any case, we reject completely the pretended assertions of democracy by our former colonial masters, whose undemocratic regimes we taught the lesson of one man or one woman one vote through our armed liberation struggles.

Here in the United States, as we look at the situation from Africa, we remain aware of the plight of the Black, that is Afro-American of both yesterday and today and of the semi-slave and half-citizen status that has been his burden. Have the Black in the USA got equal political, social and economic rights and status as their white counterparts? When shall we ever have a Black, Afro-American President of the United States? Never, ever, why?

I wish to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of my Government and that of the people of Zimbabwe for the humanitarian assistance we received from the international community during our period of need. Without such support, we would not have been able to avert a major catastrophe.

I am pleased to inform you Mr President that we have, in spite of the sanctions and evil wishes of Britain and its allies, now emerged from that difficult phase.

We had a relatively good agricultural season this year and our Land Reform Programme has begun to make a significant contribution towards the turnaround of our economy.

Despite the partial drought at the beginning of the season, we have managed this year to realise a good harvest, certainly, one good enough to ensure that we meet our food requirements until the next season.

We plead with the IMF to stop its strange political mouthings, lies and fabrications about our situation. Our own regional organisations know the truth about Zimbabwe and can the IMF listen to them, please and be for once clean.

Mr President, my Government is determined to eliminate corruption and its corrosive effects on national development efforts. After signing the International Convention against Corruption in November last year, we have put in place legal and administrative measures that have already arrested a growing and deliberate tendency to circumvent normal business practices, particularly in the financial services sector.

Our efforts have, however, experienced some setbacks as some countries, particularly in the developed West, provide safe havens for fugitive economic saboteurs from our country.

Mr President, in March next year, Zimbabwe will be holding its sixth democratic parliamentary elections since Independence in 1980. These elections, like others before them, will be conducted in accordance with our national laws, and the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections recently adopted by our sub-region.

We do not need any lessons from the Netherlands and its imperial allies in the European Union. Zimbabwe will, indeed, welcome to these elections those observers whose sole and undivided purpose will be to observe the process and not to meddle in the politics of the country.

Mr President, the fight against international terrorism has exposed the duplicity and insincerity of erstwhile leading democracies and human rights monitors with regard to the question of the observance of human rights. We have seen established international conventions being thrown to the dogs, and resolutions of the General Assembly and other UN bodies on this issue come to naught.

We are seriously concerned that the United Nations, the pre-eminent instrument for the maintenance of international peace and security, watched helplessly while Iraq was being unlawfully attacked and plundered by the US and UK-led so-called coalition of the willing. Such belligerent gun-slinging diplomacy and illegitimate territorial occupation of the State of Iraq are blemishes on the fair play image of the UN.

While the sadistic scenes from Abu Ghraib remain vivid in our minds, other places in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay have provided useful samples of the Western concept of respect for human rights. Let me say once again that the West should spare us their lessons on human rights. They do not have the moral authority to speak about anyway, let alone, parade themselves, as torchbearers of human rights.

Mr President, Zimbabwe remains deeply concerned about the situation in the Middle East. We continue to be revulsed by a situation where the collective decisions and authority of the United Nations are disregarded with impunity on account of big brother support.

We demand an immediate lifting of all restrictions illegally imposed on the Palestinian people, which have seen President Yasser Arafat remain a virtual prisoner of foreign occupation.

We welcome the recent opinion given by the International Court of Justice that found the construction of the Israeli wall to be in contravention of international law, and the subsequent General Assembly Resolution that demanded the immediate halt to that monstrosity.

Mr President, as you are aware, the African Union earlier this year established its own Peace and Security Council to seek and promote African solutions to African problems.

Already, the Council is seized with the matter of the crisis in western Sudan. These efforts need the support of the international community.

Let me conclude, Mr President, by assuring you of my country's support during the period you will preside over the work of this Session of the General Assembly.

I also wish to reiterate my country's commitment to positively contribute to the fulfilment of the aims and purpose of the United Nations.

I thank you.

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