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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
US slams 'racist' Zimbabwe
US Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks in Cairo
Mr Powell downplayed differences
The United States has condemned "racial slurs" made against Secretary of State Colin Powell in the state-controlled media.

One editorial in The Herald accused Mr Powell of being an "Uncle Tom" - a reference to the servile black hero of the American novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin - who "dances to the tune of his masters".

This followed his call last week for Zimbabwe's neighbours to increase their pressure on President Robert Mugabe to observe the rule of law.

Mr Powell also promised massive aid to Zimbabwe "with the president [Robert Mugabe] gone".
The Herald and the Sunday Mail would serve their readers better by addressing those serious issues rather than resorting to personal attacks on critics of the regime
US embassy statement

Mr Mugabe says that he is standing up for the rights of Zimbabwe's black majority by seizing white-owned land and giving it to poor black farmers.

He says that Zimbabwe's economic problems are the result of a western plot to bring down his government.

Government mouthpieces

"The Embassy of the United States of America ... registers its profound disgust at the use of racial slurs with respect to Secretary of State Colin Powell," said a statement released by the embassy in the Zimbabwe capital, Harare.

Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo called Mr Powell a "liar" for his description of human rights abuses by the government.

Armed riot police patrol in Harare
Mugabe uses force to stay in power, Mr Powell said

Another article in the state-run Sunday Mail claimed that Mr Powell had not written the article.

Both The Herald and the Sunday Mail are widely seen as government mouthpieces.

"The Herald and the Sunday Mail would serve their readers better by addressing those serious issues rather than resorting to personal attacks on critics of the regime," the statement said.

Mr Powell said President Mugabe had no legitimacy or moral authority.

The US does not recognise the official results of last year's presidential elections, which were criticised by observer groups.


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