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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Nujoma bangs the anti-colonial drum
Land reform is also a pressing issue in Namibia

Namibia's leader made his mark at the Sustainable Development Summit in Johannesburg staunchly defending Robert Mugabe to cheers from the audience.

We don't need your investment. You can keep your money. We will develop our Africa without your money.

President Nujoma

President Sam Nujoma accused Tony Blair of creating "the situation in Zimbabwe", called for the end of sanctions against President Mugabe's Government and said Africa did not need Western investment.

On the same day, the Zimbabwean president launched his own attack on Britain and said that Africans shed blood for their freedom and would not be puppets or beggars.

President Nujoma
President Nujoma supported Zimbabwe's stance
Later in an interview with the BBC's Barnaby Phillips, the Namibian leader was again blistering in his criticisms of Britain, colonialism and "European culture".

In launching these attacks they were appealing to residual anti-colonialist feeling in a continent which suffered hugely from European occupation but it is by no means clear that they spoke for the majority of Africans.

Sam Nujoma is a veteran of the southern African struggle against colonial and apartheid rule. From 1959 to the country's independence on 21 March 1990, he led Namibian opposition to South African rule.

As leader of the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo), he led a 23-year guerrilla struggle against the South African army occupying Namibia.

In this struggle he was allied to other liberation movements in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola and Mozambique.

After its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe was a militant supporter of the Namibian fight for independence.

Zimbabwe became independent 22 years ago and Namibia 12 years ago, but their leaders still use the rhetoric of the liberation wars in their approach to the challenges facing their countries now.

Keep your money

Namibia, like Zimbabwe, also has a problem of land redistribution.

About 4,000 white farmers own almost half the farming land, while tens of thousands of Namibians are landless.

Namibian policy has been to obtain land for redistribution on a willing-seller, willing buyer basis. President Nujoma confirmed to the BBC on Monday that this remained the policy.

President Nujoma set a very "strident" tone at the summit, according to The Namibian newspaper, and on his return to Windhoek told Prime Minister Gurirab and Foreign Minister Hamutenya that he had given a long interview to the BBC and "told them off".

Ugandans at the summit
African demonstrators called for fair trade

In his interview with the BBC, he argued that when Britain and other Western countries talked about good governance and human rights, what they wanted was to "impose European culture".

"When you talk about human rights you include also homosexualism and lesbianism, its not our culture we Africans. And if you try to impose your culture on us Africans, we condemn it, we reject it.

He said that Africans wanted equal trade terms but when asked about the need for investment to create jobs for the younger generation of Africans who suffered from unemployment, he was even more forthright.

"We don't need your investment. You can keep your money. We will develop our Africa without your money."

When he arrived back at the airport in Windhoek, he repeated his rejection of investment, saying, "I told them today that we don't need your money. We can develop ourselves," the Namibian reported.

Out of tune

While some BBC correspondents reported from the Johannesburg summit that the attacks on European and British attitudes went down well with black South African taxi drivers watching the proceedings, others said that the anti-colonialist style of the rhetoric was not representative of what many young Africans want or of what governments want.

The rejection of investment and of Western approaches to human rights was certainly not in step with the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) being championed by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

Nepad calls for a partnership that will bring investment to Africa and will bring from African leaders commitments to good governance and respect for basic human rights.

The initiative is being pushed forward by presidents of South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria and has drawn widespread support inside and outside Africa, including from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

It has also drawn criticism, too, most notably from President Mugabe.

But the Nepad formula of partnership with developing countries, stress on good governance and human rights and encouragement of foreign investment was adopted by the continent's heads of state at the inaugural meeting of the African Union in Durban in July.

Sam Nujoma's attacks on European attitudes and culture and his rejection of investment might hit the right notes for some Africans and be rooted in Africa's fight for freedom, but it now sounds out of tune with the Nepad song sheet and with what many Africans see as the way to a more prosperous and secure future.

President Sam Nujoma
"When you talk about human rights you want to impose European culture."

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