Mugabe links his violent style to past

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe attributed continuing economic and political woes to the nation’s history.

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Pillay, on a weeklong visit to assess human rights, said she had “an important meeting” with Mugabe, at his official State House offices in Harare. She said he outlined historical aspects affecting current events.

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Pillay said she commended his recent calls for an end to political violence.

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The 88-year-old president is widely seen as condoning human rights violations and has ruled since independence in 1980. He repeatedly accuses Western countries and Britain, the colonial power, of plotting to oust him.

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visiting United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay has urged Mugabe to call for peaceful and incident-free elections in the country. 

Ms Pillay was speaking when she met Mugabe at his compound this Wednesday.

Emerging from the meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, Ms Pillay described the meeting as very important, saying Mugabe explained to her the country’s history on how the local indigenous people were deprived and what government is doing to redress colonial imbalances.

She would however, not be drawn into commenting on the specific issues.

The UN Human Rights chief is on a six day visit of the country during which she is meeting various government ministers, civic groups, farmers and other stakeholders.

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Earlier, Ms Pillay has applauded Zimbabwe’s land reform programme for empowering thousands of rural people and former farm labourers, among them women. 

Ms Pillay, accompanied by Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Chairperson, Monica Chinamasa as well as farmer organisation representatives, visited Boka Tobacco Auction floors in Harare this Wednesday morning and witnessed how Zanu-PF farmers are being empowered by Mugabe.

She said the land gives poor Zimbabweans hope, dignity and a source of livelihood that will enable them to send their children to schools and other institutions of higher learning.

She welcomed the increasing number of women involved in tobacco farming, adding that more people should be given access to the programme and to property rights.

Ms Pillay said rural women should be given access to decision making bodies that ensure that their skills are passed on to other generations.

Over 300 000 Zanu-PF supporters were resettled under Robert Mugabe’s violent land invasions which started in 2000 and claimed many lives.