Cape Town – Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe says he is no
dictator but is being smeared by Western countries because of the land
reform programme that addressed injustices through dispossessing white farmers
of excess land, according to a report.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe had followed the tenets of democracy
since independence, according to the Herald on Monday.
"They say I am a dictator because we took land from the
Europeans... But we had an agreement with the British government that there
would be land reform and acquisition.
"We have held elections from day one and every five years we
have been holding elections. [Tony] Blair [former British prime minister] said
he wanted to appeal to Europe politically by telling them that we were
violating democracy, violating human rights and the rule of law. He then
appealed to Europe to support him to impose sanctions on us."
Mugabe said his party Zanu-PF stood for people's rights.
"So, how does one become a dictator when one says we take
our land because you do not want to pay compensation, you Mr Blair," he said.
"We stand for people's rights and don't forget the people
fought for the land and died for it. We had thousands of people killed in
massive bombings. One incident claiming as many as 700 lives. We used to bury
them in mass graves in Mozambique and Zambia."
Mugabe said he never imprisoned any Briton for political
reasons, yet he was imprisoned for 11 years because he was fighting for
Turning to elections that are expected to be held in
Zimbabwe later this year, Mugabe said people would vote freely.
"There will be no violence," he said. “We do not want to
mete out violence on our people. What for?"
Mugabe said he would retire when the appropriate time comes.