HARARE – President Robert Mugabe says he fears sharing the fate of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi president sentenced to death by hanging.
At a rally at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza yesterday, the Zanu PF leader accused the United States and Britain of trying to topple his regime, and said he was still in power because he has the support of the people.
“Look at what the whites do to us in Africa; our friends like Gaddafi were forgetting our solidarity and were assisting countries that were in need, dining with people like (former British Prime Minister Tony) Blair thinking that they were friends yet they were observing him,” Mugabe — once a bosom buddy of the fallen Libyan tyrant said.
“When the day arrived, they wrongly accused him and destroyed him in broad daylight.”
The 89-year-old strongman told his supporters the West hounded Gaddafi and Hussein to death in pursuit of the oil-rich countries’ natural resources.
“They did the same with Saddam Hussein claiming that he had weapons of mass destruction and they falsely
accused him,” Mugabe said.
“Look…all of them were killed and these nations are left in chaos as people fight among each other. Beware that is what they are seeking when you hear them speak of removing Mugabe because they say he is the impediment to our goals.”
Saddam, who ruled Iraq from 1967 to 2003, was hanged at dawn in December 2006 for crimes against humanity, a dramatic, violent end for a leader who ruled Iraq by fear for three decades before he was toppled by a US invasion in 2003.
Mugabe, in power since 1980, is seeking another five- year term, crusading on an indigenisation and economic empowerment drive.
He accuses his opponents of trying to surrender the country to his Western foes.
“Let’s ensure that the country remains in our hands. We were lost in 2008 but we have a chance to make things right,” Mugabe told thousands of party supporters bussed from across Harare and surrounding communal lands.
Mugabe yet again blamed the West for the country’s woes saying Europe and the US were covetously eyeing the country’s vast mineral resources and are therefore seeking a “regime change” in Zimbabwe.
In Chitungwiza, shops and markets were closed as thousands were forced to attend the Zanu PF leader’s rally amid the free-flowing sewer in the streets and water shortages.
He addressed a bumper crowd comprising largely of the unemployed.
Mugabe uncharacteristically showered praises on his bitter political rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai saying the peace message that the MDC leader is preaching is welcome and urged his supporters to uphold the peace.
Arriving just before noon, Mugabe, did not do his traditional walk-about greeting people, but walked slowly to the podium and then delivered a history lecture on the country’s protracted liberation struggle to gain majority rule in 1980.
Some people began leaving the venue while the octogenarian leader was still delivering his speech, which also touched on morals.
Meanwhile, a woman was reportedly killed when a security wall collapsed at the rally, police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed the incident.
Several others were rushed to hospital after they were injured in the stampede.