Take Mugabe ‘with a pinch of salt’

2010-12-02 07:44

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe should be taken “with a pinch of salt”, according to Britain’s new minister for Africa, who called for credible elections in the country Mugabe has ruled for 30 years.

Henry Bellingham, who was appointed Africa minister in May when Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government came to power, said Britain would use its influence in southern Africa to push for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

“Our position is very simple. We want to see credible elections and we’re going to use our influence to support those people who are working in that direction,” Bellingham told journalists in Johannesburg at the start of his first official visit to regional power broker South Africa.

Bellingham was speaking the day after Mugabe asked leaders at a summit of African and European Union states why former British prime minister Tony Blair and former US president George W Bush had not been indicted for war crimes like Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Mugabe said the two former leaders were responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths.

“He does come up with comments from time to time, doesn’t he?” Bellingham said. “I think one just has to take him with a pinch of salt in that particular case.”

Mugabe has long had a tense relationship with former colonial ruler Britain.

Blair said last year that Zimbabwe should “get rid of” the 86-year-old leader, saying Mugabe “has destroyed his country”.

Zimbabwe is currently ruled by a power-sharing government formed between Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai in the wake of bloody and inconclusive elections in 2008.

Under the deal, the country is supposed to adopt a new constitution that will steer it to fresh elections.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has said new polls would be held around June next year, even if the stalled constitution-making process was not complete.

But Tsvangirai’s MDC party has called for key reforms to be implemented first to ensure a free and fair election.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.