Zimbabwe: UN 'duped' into condemnation of violence

Zimbabwe’s UN ambassador says a US and British-led conspiracy fooled the UN Security Council into concluding the violence gripping his nation has made it impossible to hold a fair presidential election.

“We see the international community, the Security Council, has been duped into believing that there is lawlessness in Zimbabwe and the opposition cannot campaign, which is not true,” Boniface Chidyausiku said last night.

A day after the 15-nation council unanimously condemned the violence in Zimbabwe, Chidyausiku said his government can still fairly re-elect President Robert Mugabe on Friday even though the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, dropped from the race.

Tsvangirai won the first election round in March, but not by enough of a margin to avoid a runoff. He dropped out of the race on Sunday, saying the violence made his supporters unsafe and the election a sham. Chidyausiku disputed that notion.

“The economy’s been assaulted, and there’s been a declared intention by London and Washington, who have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe ... to effect a regime change,” the ambassador said.

“Once the economy crumbles, and the quality of life of the people deteriorates, the people will reject Mugabe. That’s the grand strategy, and it’s been working. This is what influenced the votes on the March 29.”

European nations, the US and Australia have imposed limited sanctions on Zimbabwe, but US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said yesterday it is chiefly Mugabe’s economic policies that amount to “a sanctions regime against the people”.

Khalilzad, this month’s council president, brushed off any talk of conspiracy theories. British Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch-Brown also told BBC Radio on Monday there was no global effort to “delegitimize” Mugabe’s regime.

“There is no ill intent on the part of the international community, the US, towards the people of Zimbabwe. We see them as victims of the policies of President Mugabe,” Khalilzad told reporters.

“The decision about removing Mr. Mugabe from power is a decision that the Zimbabwe people will have to make.”

If Zimbabwe proceeds with its election, however, the council intends to “look at measures to be taken in the face of the defiance,” Khalilzad added. “We don’t have any specific date or measure at this point in mind.”

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