Speech at the United Nations1

Statement2 to the 62nd Session of the General Assembly by
His Excellency Mr Robert Mugabe,
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

in New York, on 26 September 2007

Your Excellency President of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Mr Srgjan Kerim,  
Your Majesties,
Your Excellencies,
Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-Moon,
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Mr. President,

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

Allow me to congratulate you on your election to preside over this august assembly. We are confident that through your stewardship, issues on this 62nd Session agenda be dealt with in a balanced manner and to the satisfaction of all.

Let me also pay tribute to your predecessor, Madame Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, who steered the work of the 61st Session in a very competent and impartial manner.

Her ability to identify the crucial issues facing the world today will be remembered as the hallmark of her presidency.

Mr. President,

We extend our hearty welcome to the new Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who has taken up this challenging job requiring dynamism in confronting the global challenges of the 21st Century. Balancing global interests and steering the United Nations in a direction that gives hope to the multitudes of the poor, the sick, the hungry and the marginalized, is indeed a mammoth task. We would like to assure him that Zimbabwe will continue to support an open, transparent and all-inclusive multilateral approach in dealing with these global challenges.

Mr. President,

Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues of our time. Its negative impact is greatest in developing countries, particularly those on the African continent. We believe that if the international community is going to seriously address the challenges of climate change, then we need to get our priorities right. In Zimbabwe, the effects of climate change have become more evident in the past decade as we have witnessed increased and recurrent droughts as well as occasional floods, leading to enormous humanitarian challenges.

Mr. President,

We are for a United Nations that recognises the equality of sovereign nations and peoples whether big or small. We are averse to a body in which the economically and militarily powerful behave like bullies, trampling on the rights of weak and smaller states as sadly happened in Iraq. In the light of these inauspicious developments, this Organisation must surely examine the essence of its authority and the extent of its power when challenged in this manner.

Such challenges to the authority of the UN and its Charter underpin our repeated call for the revitalisation of the United Nations General Assembly, itself the most representative organ of the UN. The General Assembly should be more active in all areas including those of peace and security. The encroachment of some U.N. organs upon the work of the General Assembly is of great concern to us. Thus any process of revitalizing or strengthening of the General Assembly should necessarily avoid eroding the principle of the accountability of all principal and subsidiary organs to the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

Once again we reiterate our position that the Security Council as presently constituted is not democratic. In its present configuration, the Council has shown that it is not in a position to protect the weaker states who find themselves at loggerheads with a marauding super-power. Most importantly, justice demands that any Security Council reform redresses the fact that Africa is the only continent without a permanent seat and veto power in the Security Council. Africa's demands are known and enunciated in the Ezulwini consensus10.

Mr. President,

We further call for the U.N. system to refrain from interfering in matters that are clearly the domain of member states and are not a threat to international peace and security. Development at country level should continue to be country-led, and not subject to the whims and caprices of powerful donor states.

Mr President,

Zimbabwe won its independence on 18th April, 1980, after a protracted struggle, protracted war against British colonial imperialism which denied it people human rights and democracy. That colonial system which suppressed and oppressed us enjoyed the support of many countries of the West who were signatories to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Even after 1945, it would appear that the Berlin Conference of 18849, through which Africa was parcelled to colonial European powers, remained stronger than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is therefore clear that for the West, vested economic interests, racial and ethnocentric considerations proved stronger than their adherence to principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The West still negates our sovereignties by way of control of our resources, in the process making us mere chattels in out own lands, mere minders of its trans-national interests. In my own country and other sister states in Southern Africa, the most visible form of this colonial control has been over land despoiled from us at the onset of British colonialism.

That control largely persists, although it stands firmly challenged in Zimbabwe, thereby triggering the current stand-off between us and Britain, supported by her cousin states, most notably the United States and Australia. Mr Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr Brown's sense of human rights precludes our people's right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator and yesterday you heard Mr Bush here calling my Government the Mugabe regime because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists in their endeavour to keep us as slaves in our own country.

Mr President,

Clearly the history of the struggle for out own national and people's rights is unknown to the president of the United States of America. He thinks the Declaration of Human Rights starts with his last term in office! He thinks he can introduce to us, who bore the brunt of fighting for the freedoms of our peoples, the virtues of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What rank hypocrisy!

Mr President,

I lost spent eleven precious years of my life in the jail of a white English man whose freedom and well- being I have assured from the first day of Zimbabwe's Independence and that was Ian Smith. I lost a further fifteen years fighting white injustice in my country.

Ian Smith was responsible for the death of well over 50,000 of my people. I bear scars of his tyranny which Britain and America condoned. I meet his victims everyday. Yet he walks free today. He farms freely — has a farm of over 5,000 acres. He talks freely, associates freely under a black Government. We taught him democracy. We gave him back his humanity.

He would have faced a different fate here and in Europe if the 50,000 he killed had been Europeans. Africa has not called for a Nuremberg trial against the white world which committed heinous crimes against its own humanity. It has not hunted perpetrators of this genocide, many of whom live to this day, nor has it got reparations from those who offended against it. Instead it is Africa which is in the dock. It is Mugabe and not the British prime minister who is in the dock facing trial from the same world that persecuted us for centuries.

Let Mr. Bush read history correctly. Let him realise that both personally and in his representative capacity as the current President of the United States, he stands for this "civilisation" which occupied, which colonised, which incarcerated, which killed. He has much to atone for and very little, to lecture us on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His hands drip with innocent blood of many nationalities and today with the blood of the Iraqis.

But he still kills.

He kills in Iraq. He kills in Afghanistan. And this is supposed to be our master on human rights?

He imprisons.

He imprisons and tortures at Guantanamo3. He imprisoned and tortured at Abu Ghraib4. He has secret torture chambers in Europe. Yes, he imprisons even here in the United States, with his jails carrying more blacks than his universities can ever enrol. He even suspends the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Take Guantanamo for example; at that concentration camp international law does not apply. The national laws of the people there do not apply. Laws of the United States of America do not apply. Only Bush's law applies. Can the international community accept being lectured by this man on the provisions of the universal declaration of human rights? Definitely not!

Mr President, We are alarmed that under his leadership, basic rights of his own people and those of the rest of the world have summarily been rolled back. America is primarily responsible for rewriting core tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights5. We seem all guilty for 9/116. Mr. Bush thinks he stands above all structures of governance, whether national or international.

At home, he apparently does not need the Congress; he defies it. Abroad, he does not need the UN, he does not need international law and opinion. I'll go he says, to Iraq with or without the United Nations; that is with or without international law - in defiance of it. This forum did not sanction Blair and Bush's misadventures in Iraq. Did we say yes to it? Did we say yes to the attack of Iraq? The two rode roughshod over the UN and international opinion. Almighty Bush — perhaps some might regard him as their god. No he is not my god. I have but one God; he is in heaven. Pater noster qui es in caelis7. Indeed, he wants us to praise him! We say No to him and encourage him to get out of Iraq. Indeed he should mend his ways before he clambers up the pulpit to deliver pieties of democracy. Is he qualified to speak of democracy? Is he qualified to speak of human rights when he is shedding blood every day.

Mr President,

The British and the Americans have gone on a relentless campaign of destabilising and vilifying my country. They have sponsored surrogate forces to challenge lawful authority in my country. They seek regime change. They seek regime change - not my people - but they think they are entitled to change government. Placing themselves in the role of the Zimbabwean people in whose collective will democracy places the right to define and change regimes; and want to talk of democracy when they are behaving like that.

Let these sinister governments be told here and now that Zimbabwe will not allow a regime change authored by outsiders. We do not interfere with their own systems in America and Britain. Where they steal elections as they did during his first election we do not interfere. Mr Bush and Mr Brown have no role to play in our national affairs. They are outsiders and mischievous outsiders and should therefore keep out! The colonial sun set a long time ago in Africa; in 1980 in the case of Zimbabwe, and hence Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never ever!

We do not deserve sanctions. We are Zimbabweans and we know how to deal with our problems. We have done so in the past, well before Bush and Brown were known politically. We have our own regional and continental organizations and communities.

In that vein, I wish to express my country's gratitude to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who, on behalf of SADEC8, the Southern African Development Community, successfully facilitated the dialogue between the Ruling Party, my ruling party, and the Opposition Parties, which yielded the agreement that has now resulted in the constitutional provisions being finally adopted; the amendment to the Constitution which both parties agreed to and which paved the way to the elections for which our various parties are now campaigning. Consequently, we will be holding multiple democratic elections in March 2008. Indeed we have always had timeous general and presidential elections since our independence.

Mr. President,

We want to be left alone. We will interact with those in our region and those in organisations to which we belong. In conclusion, let me Mr President, stress once more that the strength of the United Nations lies in its universality and impartiality as it implements its mandate to promote peace and security, economic and social development, human rights and international law as outlined in the Charter. Zimbabwe stands ready to play its part in all efforts and programmes aimed at achieving these noble goals. The Charter of the United Nations is our charter also in African and we uphold it. Wrought unto him who defies the Charter.

I thank you.
[ Robert Mugabe ]


References and notes
(prepared by Yourpage to assist readers)
Advance apology for any 'broken' links below. Please send us (Yourpage) an e-mail to report it.
  1. United Nations General Assembly for written and spoken copies of UN speeches
  2. The Statement is as spoken by HE Mr Robert Mugabe (and may not exactly match the written, pre-speech text).
  3. Guantanamo refers to
    Guantanamo Bay detention camp set-up in 2002 at the US Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba
    The US established the naval base as provided for under the Cuban-Amercan Treaty of 1903
  4. Abu Ghraib refers to
    notorious events at Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq
    Charges of abuse, torture and killing of prisoners by US armed forces personnel in 2003.
  5. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    UN 1948 declaration of rights to freedom, peace and justice
  6. 9/11 refers to
    11 September 2001 on which the USA mainland was the target for aerial assaults involving 4 passenger aeroplanes
  7. Pater noster qui es in caelis
    Latin line of a Christian prayer - "Our Father who art in heaven"
  8. SADEC refers to
    Southern African Development Community ( SADC )
  9. Berlin Conference 1884
    Conference of ethnic-European nations to agree a division of Africa among themselves for colonial exploitation.
    Conference in 1884/85 was attended by the Austro-Hungary Empire, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, the German Empire, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the Ottoman Empire, and the USA.
  10. Ezulwini consensus
    African Union agreement reached in March 2005 regarding proposed reformation of the United Nations.
Blooming beautifully, in Erdington, Birmingham, UK …
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this page:09/06/2009

published:31/03/2008
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