AFRICANGLOBE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused Western countries of starting conflicts in Africa and the Middle East because of their lust for vast resources in the region.
“There are those who grudge us because of what God has given us. They wish our oil was theirs. They cause war where there is peace,” Mugabe told African presidents and diplomats at the African Union summit in the South African city of Johannesburg on Sunday.
The Zimbabwean leader, who is currently chairing the AU, also recalled how former American President George Bush falsely accused ex-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of hiding weapons of mass destruction just so that the U.S. could invade Iraq for its resources. He also blamed the West for killing the ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“Now look at the turmoil in Iraq and Libya. They use excuses to go into these countries and draw oil to enrich themselves,” he said.
Mugabe urged African leaders to stop exporting raw materials from such Western countries and instead focus on industrialization in Africa.
“We need to industrialize so that we can stop importing finished goods which were once our raw materials,” the nonagenarian said.
He also said that as Africa celebrated having the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, it was important to evaluate if this growth was inclusive and beneficial to everyone on the continent.
Mugabe also congratulated African leaders who recently held peaceful elections in their respective countries.
“There are no presidential term limits in Europe. Two terms is like two weeks to some of us,” he said.
Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, said that if people still wanted a leader to rule them, then they should be able to elect such a leader as many times as they wanted.
Presidential term limits have been a huge issue at the African Union summit with most leaders proposing that a leader should be granted only two terms in office.
The people of Burundi have been protesting for two months against their President Pierre Nkurunziza who announced that he will contest for a third term in office.
Mugabe also condemned terrorist groups for killing innocent people and costing Africa’s development by destroying towns and creating fear among people. “Terrorist attacks are sliding back Africa from its development glory,” he said.
Several African leaders have gathered in Johannesburg to attend the 25th ordinary session of the Assembly which will end Monday.
The theme of this year’s summit is “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.”