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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Zimbabwe accuses CIA of film plot
Nicole Kidman in The Interpreter
Kidman's thriller was a worldwide box office hit
Zimbabwe has accused a recent Hollywood film starring Nicole Kidman of being a "CIA-sponsored" campaign against President Robert Mugabe.

Acting Information Minister Chen Chimutengwende said The Interpreter was a thinly-disguised swipe at Mr Mugabe.

Kidman plays an interpreter at the UN who overhears a plot to kill the leader of a fictional African country.

Mr Chimutengwende called it propaganda and showed that "Zimbabwe's enemies did not rest".


Directed by Sydney Pollack, the film also stars Sean Penn as a secret agent who investigates the assassination plot.

Mr Chimutengwende said the film, which centres on an octogenarian African leader who plans to address the UN General Assembly, had "obvious connections" to Mr Mugabe.

"The film talks about an African president going to the United Nations and our president is going to the UN next week so the connection is so obvious," he said.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980

"It is part of a CIA-sponsored fight... but we will defeat them and we will defeat neo-colonialism. We have defeated a powerful enemy before which was colonialism," Mr Chimutengwende added.

Mr Mugabe has been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe won independence from the UK.

He is accused by foreign critics and domestic opposition of being responsible for the country's economic decline and for stifling democracy.

Sanctions were imposed on the country by the European Union and the US following the last presidential election.

The election was condemned as seriously flawed by the opposition and foreign observers.

The Interpreter ran for two weeks in July at cinemas in the Zimbabwean capital Harare and is now available on video.

Opposition legislator Trudy Stevenson described the accusations as "paranoia" that came two months too late.

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