Arrest me, Smith tells Mugabe
By Paul Majendie
London - Former white minority leader Ian
Smith said on Thursday he would welcome the chance to stand
trial in Zimbabwe and tell the world that President Robert
Mugabe was a gangster who had plunged the country into anarchy.
Reacting to Mugabe's threats to put him on trial, Smith
said: "I welcome it. I would love that. Let him try it."
"If he wants to make a fool of himself, that is his
business," said the 81-year-old Smith, in Britain to address
the Oxford Union.
"It would give me the chance to tell the world the truth
about this gangster. Our country is in total anarchy," he told
Reuters on a visit to London.
In defiant mood, Smith said: "I will give him the date and
time of arrival of my plane so he can meet me at the airport. I
go back on Monday week."
"Mugabe is like a wounded animal in a corner. He is
unpredictable and dangerous. He is in a state of panic."
"He should have gone long ago. He has ruined a wonderful
country," Smith said of his successor.
Mugabe, 76, told supporters of his ruling Zanu-PF party on
Wednesday that he would revoke the national racial
reconciliation policy adopted at independence in 1980 since
whites backed by Britain and the US were trying to
destabilise the country.
"Ian Smith and the whites who participated in the massacre
and genocide of our people, those who fought against us we
shall try," Mugabe said in remarks broadcast on state
"After all, in Europe they are still hunting the Nazis,
those who fought on the side of Hitler. We will look for those
who fought on the side of Ian Smith, where ever they are. If
they are still in this country, then they must be arrested."
Smith welcomed the confrontation with open arms: "I think
it is a brilliant idea. I would love to have a confrontation
with him. I have been trying to talk to him for 20 years." he
Smith said: "I have more right than Mugabe to be in
Zimbabwe. He is being stupid. If he wants to be stupid in
public, let us get on with it."
Ian Smith was a world figure for 14 years after 1965 when
he led 250,000 white Rhodesians in a Unilateral Declaration of
Independence from Britain rather than accept black rule.
He was forced into a ceasefire and political settlement in
1979 after a costly seven-year war against guerrillas led by
Mugabe and other Zimbabwean black nationalist leaders.
Analysts said Mugabe's threat to arrest Smith and other
whites would not stand up in court due to amnesties granted to
both sides after the liberation war.