Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-04-24-Speech-4-185"
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substitute; Delegation for relations with the countries of south-east Europe (2007-03-14--2009-07-13)3
"Mr President, Zimbabwe's President Mugabe was once the hero of the liberation struggle. Thanks to him former Southern Rhodesia gave way to a new state of Zimbabwe which gave a democratic voice to the black majority population, after the end of British colonial rule and in the teeth of a white-led policy of apartheid which rebelled against that colonial authority. For years Mugabe was an incredibly moderate ruler. He did not pursue the pressing imperative of redistributing land ownership. He was radical only in his objection to homosexuals. Only when he was in danger of losing power did he remember his earlier promises about land reform. Since then his ill-considered actions have reduced his country's economy to total ruin. The redistribution of agricultural land did not follow a proper plan, but was done entirely arbitrarily, with his most aggressive supporters grabbing the land for themselves. Worse still is the way he has treated his political opponents. They have been relentlessly intimidated and attacked but have so far managed to survive. Last time elections were held there was already the suspicion that the results were rigged. This time the opposition won the parliamentary elections, but it seems that the proposed recount is designed to rob them of their victory. The result of the presidential election has been kept secret for a full month already, so the size of Mugabe's defeat remains unknown. In the last few days he has declared enthusiastically that he will never change anything in his country. He can only make good that promise by violence and oppression. He will do it using a shipload of imported Chinese arms. Given these circumstances it is reasonable for the outside world to concern itself with this domestic conflict. Support for refugees, support for the opposition and pressure on the ruling party are essential ways of achieving what Mugabe himself always claimed to want, namely political power for the majority."@en1
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