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Mugabe envisages world order header by china { December 3 2003 }

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Mugabe Envisages Alternative World Order Headed by China
By Patrick Goodenough Pacific Rim Bureau Chief
December 03, 2003

( - The current world order is "unjust and unsustainable" and needs an alternative headed by communist China, according to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

In a state-of-the-nation address delivered in Harare, the 79-year-old leader of the impoverished southern African country criticized what he called the "unilateral interference in the internal political affairs of other countries, especially smaller states," by powerful nations.

Though the reference was to Zimbabwe itself, which is subjected to sanctions because of Mugabe's controversial policies, he also cited the situation in Iraq.

"Recent events in Iraq have clearly shown that a unipolar order that presently govern international relations is both unjust and unsustainable," he said. The term "unipolar" usually is used to describe a world dominated by the United States.

Mugabe said the present order "is a source of conflict, and even of war, and calls for a more positive alternative order."

China was increasingly becoming "an alternative global power point," he said, suggesting this could form "the foundation of a new global paradigm." He referred in this regard, without elaboration, to "developments in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and here in Zimbabwe."

"Zimbabwe must work for this new paradigm, which is founded on principles of sovereignty and independence," he added.

Mugabe also used the speech to lash out at Western-oriented member states of the Commonwealth which have led efforts to isolate Zimbabwe, because of rights abuses, repression, and a program to drive white farmers off their farms and hand them over to government supporters.

He said Britain, Australia and New Zealand had formed an "Anglo-Saxon unholy alliance" against Zimbabwe.

The Commonwealth is a grouping of Britain and more than 50 former colonies and territories, making up about one-third of the world's population. Commonwealth heads of state are meeting in Nigeria this week for a summit to which Mugabe was pointedly not invited.

The grouping has long been split over what to do about Zimbabwe, with Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand favoring tough action against the regime, and many African nations disagreeing with a 2002 decision to suspend Zimbabwe.

Mugabe last week indicated that his country may quit the Commonwealth altogether.

Zimbabwe, which became independent in 1980 and has been ruled by Mugabe ever since, is suffering its worst economic crisis.

According to relief groups, at least half of the country's 12.5 million people are affected by widespread food shortages, in part resulting from Mugabe's "land redistribution" scheme.

Unemployment is running at around 70 percent, and poverty is rife. Recent estimates indicate that around 34 percent of Zimbabweans aged 15-40 is infected with HIV-Aids.

In his speech, Mugabe acknowledged the economy was in a perilous state, but he gave no signal that any political changes were planned.

He also gave no indication of when he may retire.

The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), challenged the results of last year's elections,which Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won, but widely criticized as neither free nor fair.

Commentators say many Zimbabweans have been closely watching recent events in Georgia, where an autocratic leader accused of corruption was forced to resign amid public protests.

A writer for the Harare-based Independent saw as a sign of the government's concern the failure of its mouthpiece, the Zimbabwe Herald, to report on the events in Georgia culminating in the forced resignation of President Edward Shevardnadze.

"Events in Georgia last weekend will have inspired Zimbabweans with a fine example of what peaceful 'people power' can achieve in removing an obdurate and parasitic regime," the Independent columnist said.

But the MDC has ruled out a Georgia-style toppling of Mugabe, saying it was committed to constitutional and democratic change, according to another independent paper, the Daily News.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been one of Mugabe's strongest critics.

Speaking Wednesday before flying to Nigeria for the Commonwealth summit, he told an Australian radio station Mugabe's departure was the only solution "if we're to have a restoration of reasonable hope in Zimbabwe."

Howard expressed the hope that African leaders attending the gathering "will understand the strength of world opinion and will bring pressure to bear on him to depart the scene."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan, has rejected charges that U.S. sanctions were responsible for the state of the country's economy.

It was Zimbabwe's "policies and practices" that were to blame, he told the Independent in an interview.

Decisions by foreign investors to shun Zimbabwe were also not prompted by Washington, he said.

"As Secretary of State Colin Powell has pointed out, international capital is a coward," Sullivan said. "It avoids like the plague places where the rule of law does not obtain, where there are no macro-economic fundamentals."

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