Some Zimbabweans say President Mugabe should have toned down his speech when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.
They argue that they expected Mr. Mugabe to speak about sanctions, gays and related issues at the UN Assembly.
Independent political commentator and Pan-Africanist, Takura Zhangazha, said the president should not show his intolerance for gays when he addresses such forums.
Zhangazha said, “The president should not use such platforms as the United Nations to demonstrate specific intolerance at a time the country badly needs investment from countries that believe in some of these values. When you address the General Assembly you are presenting your country’s values but not necessarily in an antagonistic way.”
Human rights activist, Gladys Hlatywayo, echoed the same sentiments noting that Mr. Mugabe should always tone down his speeches at such events as Zimbabwe depends on the West for foreign aid.
She said, “When you are begging, when you are coming from a country that is in an economic crisis where you need bailouts and assistance from the global community you are not supposed to then go on International platforms to behave in the way he is behaving. One would have thought he was supposed to tone down and appeal for assistance for people to come in the country and assist the Zimbabwe economy that is facing serious problems.”
The two agreed that such a speech was widely expected from the president, who dislikes the West where he has at times found friends that support him for standing against what Mr. Mugabe thinks is some neo-colonial agenda being pushed by America, Britain and other nations.
However, James Shava, a Harare resident, said President Mugabe is spot on most issues as Zimbabwe fears that it may end up inheriting so-called foreign cultures like homosexuality.
“The President was spot on Africa and Zimbabwe in particular. We should be treated as trading partners and not recipients of donor monies because they come with stringent conditions that enslave us and make us subscribe to alien cultures which they want to impose on us. It confirms the fears that the President has always had that they want to recolonise this country.”
Local resident, Moses Chireshe, also said it is ironic that President Mugabe would speak on human rights and development and yet attack gays who are also human beings.
Chireshe said, (President Mugabe) He was talking about the inextricable link between human rights and development but he goes on to attack the human rights of others. Whatever our culture is we can not impose our values or religion on other people.
“The issue of sanctions also goes back to human rights as they came because of his disregard for human rights. (Mr.) Mugabe was parroting human rights at the UN General Assembly yet he does not apply them in his own country.”
Another Harare resident, Chipo Zhou, castigated the president for complaining about sanctions imposed by the West, saying the Mr. Mugabe should first address issues like corruption before the restrictive measures are lifted.
According to Zhou, “We have been crying about sanctions for a long time. What we need to do is to come back home and look for local solutions. There is a lot of corruption here but we are still crying about sanctions.”
The West imposed sanctions on President Mugabe and his inner circle claiming that the ruling party rigged elections and was violating the rights of its citizens.