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Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 11:48 UK

Press split on Zimbabwe anniversary

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe's government has accused the opposition of treason

As Zimbabwe celebrates the 28th anniversary of its independence from Britain, the main pro-government newspaper urges Zimbabweans to focus on national unity, while continuing to accuse the opposition MDC of being Western stooges.

Independent and opposition websites believe the celebrations are overshadowed by reports that President Mugabe's Zanu-PF is seeking to cling to power with a campaign of violence.

Papers in other African countries call for Zimbabwe's neighbours to intervene, or for Zanu-PF and the MDC to reach a negotiated settlement.

EDITORIAL IN ZIMBABWE'S PRO-GOVERNMENT HERALD

It is probably providential that we celebrate independence under the shadow of a bruising election, and a possible presidential run-off. We all know that the rain began beating us when we decided to acquire and redistribute our prime resource - the land. The independence we celebrate today would be meaningless if it is not tied to full sovereignty over all factors of production. This enjoins us all, whether we are ZANU-PF, MDC-T or MDC, let us differ only on the modalities of governing our nation, not who should govern it.

PETER MAVUNGA IN ZIMBABWE'S PRO-GOVERNMENT HERALD

Jesus detested liars, hypocrites, people who purported to be what they were not. I refer here to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T. They have become so used to lying that it is now part of their vocabulary. They have fomented trouble in the streets to take appropriate pictures to show to their masters abroad. If only the MDC-T took heed that telling the truth "will make you free".

OPPOSITION LEADER ARTHUR MUTAMBARA IN NEWZIMBABWE

This particular 28th commemoration is like none of the previous ones. We are in uniquely invidious circumstances... It is ironic that we should be celebrating the birth of our freedom in the prevailing climate. What a travesty of justice, principle and national interest!

EDITH KASEKE IN THE INDEPENDENT WEBSITE ZIMONLINE

Zimbabweans will commemorate Independence Day uncertain of their political future and gripped by fear that a three-week election stalemate could spiral into open violence, as President Robert Mugabe looks determined to hang on to power despite losing last month's vote.

EDITORIAL IN SOUTH AFRICA'S STAR

On this day in 1980, Zimbabweans freed themselves, and the country ceased to be a British colony. Today's commemoration comes at a time when Zimbabwe finds itself in a spot of bother. The best possible route for Zimbabwe is for both ZANU-PF and the MDC to put the interests of the country first, swallow their pride and opt for a negotiated settlement.

BILL SAIDI IN SOUTH AFRICA'S SOWETAN

Mugabe has convinced colleagues they are still fighting the cold war and that imperialism is still the No 1 enemy. Nothing matters more than sacrificing even the lives of children and expectant mothers in this fight. If the present impasse on the election results is not ended equitably, Zimbabwe is in for prolonged strife. Eventually, politics could destroy the country, if it hasn't done so already.

LAURENCE CAROMBA IN SOUTH AFRICA'S PRETORIA NEWS

The situation in Zimbabwe is growing increasingly dire... would South Africa - in conjunction with fellow SADC members - have a legal right to intervene? I believe so. Resorting to military force is always costly and can result in dangerous, unpredictable outcomes. Nevertheless, the severity of the situation justifies it... South Africa has a clear national interest in seeing the crisis resolved as quickly as possible.

EDITORIAL IN KENYA'S THE NATION

Come tomorrow and Zimbabweans will have waited for three weeks without the results of the presidential election. Tension is building in the country, with the eerie prospect of the Robert Mugabe-led government unleashing armed forces and the dreaded war veterans on the hapless populace. The African Union, the United Nations and the entire international community cannot continue looking the other side when Zimbabwe is burning.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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