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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 14:47 GMT
Mugabe warns white Zimbabweans
Zimbabweans queue for food outside a store in Harare
Zimbabweans now queue daily for basic food
President Robert Mugabe has threatened to take retribution against white Zimbabweans if Britain and other countries continue to exert pressure on his government.

We realised we had nurtured enemies among us, so we started treating them as enemies

President Robert Mugabe on white farmers

"The more they (Western countries) work against us... the more negative we shall become to their kith and kin here," Mr Mugabe said at the annual conference of his ruling party, Zanu-PF.

In the speech broadcast live on national television and radio, he said countries allying themselves with Britain would be recognised as "our enemies like we recognise Britain as our enemy".

Zimbabwe's Government has been widely criticised for its controversial land redistribution programme and for controversial elections earlier this year which many said were flawed.

Mr Mugabe called Australia, New Zealand and Germany "naughty" for supporting Britain and blamed them for Zimbabwe's problems.

But he lashed out at Britain in particular, referring to Tony Blair's government as an imperialist monster, a serpent that needed to be sent into the sea and drowned.

Defiance

He said that white farmers resisting the land reform scheme had "committed an unforgivable sin... which shall always live against them".

"We saw who they were, what they were and we realised we had nurtured enemies among us, so we started treating them as enemies, enemies of our government, enemies of our party, enemies of our people."

Robert Mugabe
Mr Mugabe blames colonialism for Zimbabwe's problems
Mr Mugabe defiantly rejected calls by European countries to create a government of national unity with the opposition party.

"...Let them hang wherever they are," he said referring to the leaders of opposition.

BBC correspondent Hilary Andersson says Zimbabwe is facing a severe food crisis, with around half of its population facing critical food shortages. This is partly due to the regional drought but also due to the country's land crisis.

The ruling party's leaders say their policies to date have been highly successful. They say they have so far resettled 374,000 small-scale black farmers on land formerly owned by white farmers.

Many Zimbabweans and outsiders blame the land policy for the country's drastic economic decline.

Zimbabweans now queue for basics like bread, maize, sugar and oil on a daily basis.

With inflation now at more than 150% and high unemployment, there is huge discontent in the country.

But Mr Mugabe's speech makes it clear that he is in no mood for compromise.


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10 Dec 02 | Africa
28 Nov 02 | Africa
13 Mar 02 | Africa
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