Cocky Mugabe not deterred by sanctions

Zimbabwean president says he’ll be running things for years to come.

Zimbabwe’s ageing President Robert Mugabe, who turned 86 last month, yesterday told journalists that he was not planning to retire any time soon.

Mugabe held a four-hour news briefing with about 20 of the country’s top journalists at Zimbabwe House in the capital, Harare.

Mugabe was asked when he planned to retire and gave his standard answer – for as long as his Zanu-PF party wanted him to stay on as leader, he would.

“I will be in office for many more days,” said Mugabe.

He told journalists that the sanctions were not hurting him personally because he would never consider going on holiday to that “cold place” Britain.

Mugabe denied that he had financial interests overseas.

He said if his bank accounts were frozen there was “very little money” in them to worry about.

He said none of his colleagues on the sanctions list had ever complained about losing money overseas.

This week the US extended targeted sanctions against Mugabe and about 200 of his power elite.

The move came only weeks after the European Union extended the same sanctions, which were imposed for human rights violations.

Mugabe, who appeared to be alert and cocky, admitted that he had more than one farm.

Apart from the farm in Norton, and the infamous Gushungo Dairy belonging to his wife, Grace, Mugabe said his family had other farms around the country.

All the farms were seized from white commercial farmers as part of the land reform programme.

Gushungo Dairy gained international notoriety when Mugabe loyalists tried to force Nestle to buy its milk.

As has become customary, Mugabe blamed the UK, the US and sanctions for the economic collapse of Zimbabwe.

He warned the media against publishing hate speech against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and himself.

Mugabe said the unity government was expected to end early next year, once a new constitution was in place and elections had been held.

Source: www.timesonline.co.za 20100305

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