ZIMBABWE – Addressing the 26th African Union summit in Ethiopia at the weekend, Mugabe lashed out at the west, saying African states were not going to hesitate walking out of the UN if efforts to democratise the global body continued to be frustrated.
Mugabe said Africans’ “hollow speeches” at the UN were yielding no results. “We have asked and asked and asked for Security Council reform,” he said. To applause he said: “If the UN is to survive, we [Africa] must be equal members of it.”
True to form, Mugabe addressed the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon personally.
“We are supposed to be free and independent Mr Ban-Kimoon,” said Mugabe.
“You’re a good man, Mr Ban Ki-moon, but we can’t make you a fighter. That’s not what your mission was. But we shall fight for our own identity and personality as Africans.”
Mugabe told the UN boss to let it known to member states that Africans “are also human, not ghosts. Tell them, that we also belong to the world”.
But observers said Mugabe’s comments were both hypocritical and hollow because his record on the domestic front was not in keeping with his rhetoric.
“Mugabe’s call for the UN to open up is correct but it is hypocritical in the extreme to call for that when Zimbabwe itself remains a closed society,” wrote David Coltart on his Facebook page. The former education minister and human rights lawyer further reminded Mugabe that “charity begins at home”.
From South Africa, Makgobe Molomo tweeted: “I cannot listen to Bob or take anything he says seriously. Go to Zimbabwe and see why. Go to Matabeleland, talk to them and know why”.
MDC-T said it was “absurd” for Mugabe to threaten a UN pull-out. “Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out the Commonwealth and what did we benefit from such an emotional, selfish and angry decision?
“History has proved that Mugabe’s combative, populist and megaphone diplomacy doesn’t bring tangible benefits to Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general,” said Gutu.
He added: “Of course the UN must be reformed bust this cannot be achieved by pulling out of that important world body. Africans should simply ignore and laugh off Mugabe’s bizarre proposal of moving out of the UN.”
ZAPU spokesperson Mjobisa Nko said Mugabe’s suggestion should be dismissed as an “absurd” statement from a “deranged and selfish president who believes he is the Messiah of the world”.
People’s Democratic Party’s Jacob Mafume said it was “embarrassing” for Mugabe to willingly play the “village clown at important gatherings”.
According to observers, Mugabe is not fit to complain of prejudice and discrimination because of his record at home. Last year, Mugabe publicly said Kalanga people were “uneducated, petty criminals” committing crime in South Africa.
The veteran leader has, since the early 2000s, used international events to lash out at opponents and western leaders whom he has accused of having “bloody hands” and of being “gay gangsters”.
But at home many have no kind words for him as he has been at the helm for the past 36 years. He has been accused of masterminding the 1980s Matebeleland massacres which claimed 20 000 lives and of instigating violence against the MDC supporters and commercial farmers.