‘Ignore Mugabe UN pull-out threat’

OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has urged United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki Moon to ignore President Robert Mugabe’s recent threat to mobilise African Union (AU) members to pull out of the world body.

Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai, in a belated response to Mugabe’s threat at the AU summit earlier this month, last week wrote to the UN boss, arguing Zimbabweans would want to be part of the international body and its affiliate agencies.

“We want to assure you that Zimbabwe wants to be part of the international community. Mugabe’s threats must be ignored by all right-thinking members of the international community,” Tsvangirai said.

Mugabe made the threat at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he said African countries would pull out en-masse if the UN body’s Security Council was not reformed.
Mugabe is the immediate past chairman of the AU.

“But this is a man who has resisted all economic, political and some electoral reforms in his own country. In 2003, Mugabe dragged Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth after Zimbabwe was suspended in March 2002 for gross violation of human rights especially during the election period.

“When Mugabe made this grossly unreasonable move, Zimbabwe lost, inter alia, benefits enhanced by the Commonwealth Fund Technical Co-operation, which promotes economic and social development and the alleviation of poverty,” Tsvangirai said, adding Zimbabwe forfeited education opportunities as well.

“The international community knows that Mugabe’s regime thrives on violence, repression and intimidation. By threatening to leave the UN, he wishes to continue his unrelenting repression of the Zimbabwean people. Zimbabwe cannot live in isolation defying both national and international opinion.”

The former Prime Minister added that Mugabe’s government and Zanu PF officials were abusing food donations from international agencies.

“Various Zanu PF and government officials have threatened those who do not support them with starvation. The First Lady has openly abused donations and even national loans from Brazil, for example, to campaign for her party and herself.

“Despite this partisanship, however, Zimbabweans have benefited much from their association with the international community. It follows, therefore, that Zimbabwe must remain part of the international community,” the MDC-T leader said.

“Over the years the UN through its various agencies has come to the aid of Zimbabweans in need. Through the World Food Programme and other international relief organisations, the UN has over the years moved in to avert starvation among Zimbabwe’s needy communities.”

With about three million citizens facing starvation, Tsvangirai said UN agencies “must put in place mechanisms to ensure food aid they donate is not distributed in a partisan manner”.

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