Defending his decision to call for harmonized elections on July 31without consulting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe on Friday said he will always stick to his principles and values so long as they are in the interest of the majority of Zimbabweans.
Addressing thousands of people at Bondolfi Mission, south of Masvingo, President Mugabe said like all other Zimbabweans he has values and principles that he will never change because they are in the interest of the nation.
Mr. Mugabe was the guest speaker at the 50th anniversary of the Roman Catholic Mission. He took the opportunity to defend his unilateral proclamation of July 31 as the election date, saying it is the “interest of the people” that forced him to act.
“You are there to serve the people. You are there to rule in the interests of the people. And it is the interests of the people that must bind you.”
President Mugabe also emphasized the need for peace this political season, saying that Zimbabweans are equal and that disagreement should not require physical fighting.
“The teaching…our teaching, party teaching, political teaching…is that we are people. Christian teaching that we are the same. We are all sons of God, equal in the eyes of God. And so, if we are equal, we are brethren, we are sisters and brothers. Why should there be that when we differ, we punch each other?”
The president also took the opportunity to criticize Western countries, particularly the United States, for sending troops to Iraq, and said they are responsible for the death of that country's former leader, Saddam Hussein, as well as Libya’s late leader, Muomar Ghaddafi.
“And the United Nations said ‘no.’ They wanted to attack. They wanted permission from the Security Council to grant them that right to attack. So, Bush said with or without the United Nations I am going to attack. And Blair, his friend, said ‘yes, and I’ll be with you.’ So they attacked Iraq. Caused loss and suffering and death, had Saddam Hussein arrested, pretended that it was his people doing it. He was executed. And in the meantime, Bush’s brother, had an oil company draining oil from Iraq. That is the dishonesty that Europe is guilty of even today.”
Mr. Mugabe's remarks comes as SADC countries prepare to meet in Maputo, Mozambique Saturday to discuss Zimbabwe’s election roadmap and other issues.