Hands off Zimbabwe, Kaunda tells Brown
Posted: Monday, April 28, 2008
From Augustine Hwata in LUSAKA, Zambia
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April 28, 2008
BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not qualified to comment on challenges facing Zimbabwe, let alone to call for more sanctions, founding Zambian president Dr Kenneth Kaunda has said.
Dr Kaunda told Zambia's Post newspaper at the weekend that Brown lacked proper background information regarding Zimbabwe's problems and was not helpful towards finding a lasting solution to the current situation.
"It is sad for Prime Minister Brown to say what he said about the Zimbabwe situation," Dr Kaunda said while delivering a speech as a special guest to recipients of recognition awards from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Embassy here last week.
"Brown does not understand what he is talking about. It is a sad thing that he said that (calling for more sanctions against Zimbabwe)," said the former president.
Dr Kaunda said he had wanted to inform Brown on how the challenges facing Zimbabwe came about before the British premier had even replaced Tony Blair, but failed to get that opportunity.
Dr Kaunda was at one time determined to travel to Britain to meet Brown, but did not do so on the advice of his doctors.
The former Zambian president, who turns 84 today, said Brown and the West should leave Zimbabwe alone so that it solves its own challenges, especially the political tension between Zanu-PF and the opposition.
"I think people in Zimbabwe are trying to find a way out of their own problems by talking of a government of national unity."
He urged the West to discard the belief that they were the best to prescribe solutions for Africa's problems.
"As usual, they want to tell what they think is right for us."
Dr Kaunda said calls by Brown for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe were misplaced and do little to solve the problems.
"Embargoing the defence forces is not the solution at all," said Dr Kaunda, adding that he wondered why the shipment of arms from China was being blocked when the order was placed last year.
It was unfortunate that the consignment was now being linked to the post-election period and a stalemate over the result of the presidential election.
Meanwhile, Zambian farmer and boxing promoter Mr Gevan Mumba has thrown his weight behind President Mugabe and the land reform programme.
Mr Mumba said Africans had a right to work on their land.
"I own more than 80 hectares of prime land in the Mufulira area and have two streams that pass through my plot. I produce crops and feel empowered that I have something to call my own," he said.
Unlike Zimbabwe, Mumba said Zambia does not have much pressure on land because it had a bigger geographical area and vast open areas against fewer people who wanted to farm.
"We are lucky that there is land available to Zambians who need it, unlike in Zimbabwe where the whites had most of the good areas. Because land is important, Britain, which does not have as much land, was pained when President Mugabe took some farms from their white relatives to redistribute to his people.
"I know for sure that Britain and America want (Cde) Mugabe to go and replace him in office with someone they can control over Zimbabwe's land. The same thing happened in Iraq when Saddam (Hussein) was killed for his oil," Mr Mumba said.
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