No to self-anointed prefects: President . . . raps West’s bid to impose ‘new rights’ • Africa not looking for handouts

FILE PICTURE: President Mugabe addressing the United Nations General Assembly

FILE PICTURE: President Mugabe addressing the United Nations General Assembly

Mabasa Sasa at the UNITED NATIONS
AFRICA does not need handouts from donors or the West in its development quest, and is only seeking investors who want to come in and reap the rewards of partnering the continent, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly here yesterday, the African Union Chair also castigated “the self-anointed prefects of our time” for trying to impose “new rights” on the world, and for fostering injustices that include the illegal and discredited economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe said, “The successful implementation of (the African Union’s) Agenda 2063 calls, not just for the commitment of African stakeholders, but also for the support and engagement of partners beyond the borders of our continent.

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“Africa is not looking for handouts. Rather, it is looking for partners in massive infrastructural development in creating and exploiting the value chains of its God-given natural resources, and in improving the quality of life of the continent’s citizens.

“The entire world stands to benefit from an economically empowered African continent than from one emasculated by deprivation and with an over-dependence on others.”

In a thinly veiled reference to the Western crusade to bully small, developing countries into accepting “gay rights”, President Mugabe said the UN Charter was the standard by which nations should be measured.

“In that regard, we reject the politicisation of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimise those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time.

“We equally reject attempts to prescribe ‘new rights’ that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs. Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification and double standards will not.”

He pointed out the absurdity of imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, and emphasised that the country had always stood ready to engage all countries so that differences are resolved amicably.

“My country, Zimbabwe, is committed to a fair, just and effective United Nations, in which multilateralism, inclusivity and transparency replace unilateralism, exclusion and backroom deals. The Charter of the United Nations is built on the bedrock of the sovereign equality and independence of its members, without distinction as to their geographical size, economic might, or any other endowments or qualifications.

“We are deeply attached to these principles and call on other members of the United Nations to be similarly disposed.

“The United Nations was set up, among other purposes, to “develop friendly relations amongst nations”.

Zimbabwe desires, and is committed to nurturing friendly relations with other nations.

“We invite other countries with which we may have differences of whatever nature to eschew threats, pressures and punitive actions; in favour of reconciliation, friendship and dialogue. I therefore denounce, in the strongest terms, the illegal sanctions that are imposed on my country by the European Union and the USA and call for their immediate and unconditional removal. Once more, I put it on record that my country is desirous to live in harmony with all countries, big and small.”

President Mugabe reminded delegates that self-determination and independence were “intrinsic and fundamental rights that should be enjoyed by all peoples everywhere, without distinction”.

As such, he expressed his deep concern that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic remained under Moroccan colonisation and called on the UN to “expeditiously finalise what must be done to conclude the decolonisation of the Western Sahara”.

On Palestine, he also challenged the UN to assume its responsibility and “bring an end to this senseless conflict” that has seen Israel continue to subjugate Arab peoples in that part of the world.

The AU Chair reiterated his and the continent’s long-standing call for the reform of the UN Security Council and revitalisation of the General Assembly; while also highlighting the need for the world to unite to combat disease, climate change and poverty.

President Mugabe underscored the importance of gender equality, saying there was no way humanity could develop if women were still viewed and treated as inferior.

“The promotion of gender equality is critical for the realisation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The African Union designated 2015 ‘The Year of the Advancement of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Agenda 2063’ in order to mobilise our individual and collective actions around this key issue.

“Gender equality and women empowerment are central to the achievement of human development, progress and the elimination of the scourge of poverty and deprivation. We must continue to build upon the achievements that have been realised since the 1995 Fourth United Nations Conference on Women and the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action.”