AFRICANGLOBE – President Mugabe has saluted some African nations for standing by Zimbabwe despite pressure from Western countries compelling them to isolate the country.
A few African countries, President Mugabe said, had at the last minute turned down invitations to visit Zimbabwe for fear of reprisals from powerful countries in Europe and America.
President Mugabe made the remarks on Thursday while addressing journalists at the Harare International Airport together with Malian President Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at the end of the latter’s three day State visit.
He said the visit by President Keita and his delegation should not be taken lightly as it was a sign that the country did not succumb to pressure from the Western world.
“Many of our friends in Africa have been frightened by the fact that Europe and America have wanted them to distance themselves from Zimbabwe, but our friends have refused to do so,” President Mugabe said.
“That is why we are still going and going strong. It is that resistance they have shown but others, a few, have not behaved in the same way. We have invited, I think two, and they have said yes they will come to open our Trade Fair, Agricultural Show and only a week or so before the Show, they have said, No we have some other business. And we knew it was pressure from outside. But you did not feel that pressure, you have got the blood of Modiba Keita (Mali founding President).”
President Mugabe said President Keita’s visit, the first by a Malian Head of State, had been “friendly and rewarding” and more partnership should be forged going forward.
“That is a friendship we look forward to. Whatever they say in Europe and America is their own business and what we do here is the African visit, friendship, Pan-Africanism to the full,” he said.
“We managed just to take him (President Keita) to our Dairy (farm) and processing plant but the greater part was interaction between us, the two sides and the fact of the visit is historic in itself. It is a start of a new relationship with Mali and we will play our part in taking that relationship far. We can assure you that as he came, he was coming to a country with friends but friends have become allies now. We want to work together.”
Added President Mugabe: “We are very happy you and your dear lady (Aminata Maiga Keita) have visited unfortunately you found my dear lady (Dr Grace Mugabe) out but she will be coming in few days but be rest assured we are personal friends that is apart from our communities.”
President Mugabe said his visit to Mali last month to witness the signing of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement between President Keita’s government and the Tuareg Seperatist rebels had enlivened the relationship between the two African nations.
“And it was because of that visit that he made up his mind that as soon as we will have finished with our African Union business in Johannesburg, he will pay us a State visit,” he said.
President Keita said together with his delegation, they had seen for themselves the successes that Zimbabwe attained under President Mugabe’s wise leadership.
He said his country would never succumb to any international pressure as Africa pushed its agenda adding that all the Malian people were behind the State visit.
“We do understand that if we are not walking as our ancient masters’ wish obviously they will try to do everything possible to drop you in your way forward,” President Keita said.
“We have no right to be under the pressure of anyone in this world. There is behaviour we will never accept in the land of Modiba Keita. The whole of Malians are proud of my being here in Zimbabwe. We want to be respected as we indeed respect others.”
President Mugabe’s Mali visit, he said, had been greatly appreciated by the Malians to the extent that every young leader in the West African country wanted to be part of his entourage.
President Keita said the AU chair had even earned great respect and the hearts of many young Malian parliamentarians like Oumar Mariko and academics with some of them craving to meet him.
Some, he said, had sent him messages congratulating and thanking him just for inviting President Mugabe to Bamako.
“We have a lady, who is not at all liked by Western Governments because she says strong things about the economic relationships in Africa and the developed world,” President Keita said.
“She is working and underscoring all the injustices done by the Europeans. Some countries have refused to grant her visas, she is one of your greatest admires.”
President Mugabe asked President Keita to put in place plans to ensure that the lady, Aminata Dramane Traore visits Zimbabwe to meet him.
By: Felex Share