We have Rhodes’ corpse, SA has his statue: Mugabe

Pretoria – President Robert Mugabe has weighed in on the debate around the statue of Cecil Rhodes‚ describing Rhodes as a strange and mischievous man.

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iol news pic Mugabe in SA headshot

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe speaks during a press briefing at the Union building in Pretoria. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

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“We have his corpse and you have his statue. What do you want us do with him? Dig him up? We cannot tell you what to do with the statue but we and my people feel we need to leave him down there‚” he said‚ reducing his audience‚ mainly journalists‚ to stitches of laughter.

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Speaking at the Union Buildings this afternoon after the signing of bilateral agreements‚ Mugabe said they did not know Rhodes until he was “forwarded to us a corpse”.

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Mugabe also used the platform to tear into the United Nations’ security council‚ saying it was controlled by five permanent members – United States‚ France‚ Britain‚ China and Russia – to the detriment of other non-permanent member states.

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He said if one of the big five countries rejected a resolution‚ that resolution was not passed. “We are wondering if we could go on with resolutions that are rejected and become a circus. Are we foolish? Can’t we bind ourselves and say this or (you) are without us?‚” he asked.

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The 91-year-old president claimed the UN security council’s bullying tactics were the reason Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi was hounded and killed so that oil could be sucked from his country.

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“It is the brutal approach of the West. They are the ones who say they gave Christianity to Africa but look at what they are doing‚” he said.

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Mugabe went on to thank South Africa for accommodating his countrymen despite them “crossing the border without passports…disturbing the country’s social system”.

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He also thanked journalists for paying attention to him and the publicity he was given as a “dictator” but said if he were one he would have cut off the head of the former president of his country Ian Smith.

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“(Instead) We worked with him. We allowed him not only to have his farm but his father’s farm‚” he said.

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Ministers from both countries signed cooperation agreements on the establishment of a Bi-national Commission‚ on diplomatic consultations‚ mutual assistance between customs administration which would see an establishment of a one-stop border post‚ to cooperate on water resource management and establishment of the Joint Water Commission as well as on trade cooperation.

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President Jacob Zuma said the two neighbouring countries not only shared strong historical relations but also strong economic cooperation to the extent that the economies of the two were historically and inextricably linked. “The historic fraternal relations between our countries necessitated that we work closely together for the betterment of the lives of our people and also promote sustainable development in our region and continent,” he said.

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– RDM News Wire