Mugabe: British plot thwarted

President Robert Mugabe has claimed that Zimbabwe has prevented attempts by Britain to damage the country's economy and overthrow him.

    Mugabe criticised Britain and his political opponents

    Opening a new session of parliament, Mugabe blamed Zimbabwe's economic crisis on his political opponents and accused Britain of mobilising what he regards as "illegal sanctions" by the European Union and the United States.

    The 82-year-old Zimbabwean leader has said Britain wants to overthrow him because of his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

    He said on Tuesday that attempts by Britain to isolate his government had failed.

    "It is refreshing that the world has now become fully aware of the dishonest and hypocritical anti-Zimbabwe strategy of the current British government," Mugabe said.

    Travel bans

    The British government denies trying to remove Mugabe and insists only targeted travel bans have been imposed on the ruling elite.

    Agricultural production has fallen
    60% and inflation is 1,180% 

    Mugabe's address was boycotted by politicians from the main wing of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change lead by Morgan Tsvangirai.

    "He has often delivered empty promises when it is clear his government has neither the concern nor the solutions to resolve the worsening multi-layered crisis," Tsvangirai's deputy, Thokozani Khupe, said in a statement.

    The MDC has boycotted most of Mugabe's official addresses to parliament since 2000, accusing his ZANU-PF party of rigging elections to stay in power.

    Reactionary elements

    Mugabe used the address to attack "reactionary elements" who he said threatened Zimbabwe's democracy.

    "Having failed to win the approval of the electorate, they would now want to subvert the country's legal electoral processes," he said. "They have become champions of violence within and without their own political organs."

    Mugabe said Zimbabwe - which is struggling with the world's highest inflation rate of over 1,180% - hoped to revive an economy in its eighth year of recession by boosting the agricultural sector.
       
    Mugabe said growing corruption was threatening Zimbabwe's economic revival programme and the government would amend its laws to deal with the problem.
      
     "This scourge has the potential to undermine the very foundations of the country's socio-economic development and, as such, constitutes a potent threat to national well-being," he said.

    Analysts say production in the farming sector has fallen by over 60% in the past six years since the farm seizures. The government mainly blames the decline on drought.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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