Zimbabwe's Mugabe: West Should 'Leave us Alone'

Zimbabwe's Mugabe: West Should 'Leave us Alone'

Published August 10, 2009

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- President Robert Mugabe said Monday that if the West can't support Zimbabwe's struggling coalition government, it should "leave us alone."

Mugabe spoke at the funeral of 85-year-old Vice President Joseph Msika, who served alongside Mugabe for two decades and died last week after suffering from heart disease for many years.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and other top officials in the five-month-old coalition government joined Mugabe and some 20,000 other mourners at Harare's Heroes Acre cemetery. Mugabe was the only one to speak.

Mugabe often turns his addresses at state funerals into fiery political speeches. His speech Monday came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited neighboring South Africa last week and called on Pretoria to help Zimbabwe cope with what she called the "negative effects" of Mugabe's leadership.

Mugabe did not name Clinton Monday, but said his coalition with former opposition leader Tsvangirai was working and supported by southern Africans. But not, he said, by the U.S. and former colonial ruler Britain.

"Who is the real judge of the political arrangement that we have done here in southern Africa?" Mugabe said. "Why should America not recognize the work we are doing as an inclusive government? These Anglo-Saxon nations are giving us problems. We tell them today, "Leave us alone, we don't need your interference because we can do it alone."

Mugabe is accused of bringing a once-prosperous nation to ruin during his decades of authoritarian rule.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki brokered Zimbabwe's coalition agreement after Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of presidential polling in 2008, and then pulled out of a run-off against Mugabe because of state-sponsored violence against opposition supporters.

Since joining the coalition, Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe hard-liners of stalling political reforms and continuing to harass Tsvangirai supporters.

Written by <P>Associated Press</P>


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