ZANU-PF rejects UK offer for Mugabe asylum

HARARE – Zanu PF says its ageing leader, Robert Mugabe does not need a home in the UK as suggested by a former British minister this week whom the revolutionary party accuses of being silly and naïve to think the “warrior” would leave his territory.\r\n

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said suggestions by Lord Renton to give Mugabe a home in the UK as part of efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe economic and political situation were a joke.

“It’s silly. President Mugabe does not need a home anywhere other than Zimbabwe. He was born here, fought here and he is still fighting and from here the illegal sanctions imposed on the country,” Gumbo told the Daily News.“You can’t expect a warrior like President Mugabe to leave his territory and accept a home in the UK. It’s a joke made in poor taste.”

Gumbo said Mugabe would always be a Zimbabwean first and any suggestion that he be given a home in the UK was stupid.

Former British Minister for the Home Office and Foreign Office, Lord Renton, told the House of Lords during question time on Tuesday that offering Mugabe a home would be the best way for the British government to help the people of Zimbabwe.

Renton said: "Would you agree that the best way for us to help and assist the economic recovery of Zimbabwe would be to offer President Mugabe a safe, comfortable and well looked after home in Britain?"

Renton was Margaret Thatcher’s chief whip between 1989 and 1990 and served in John Major’s government as minister for the arts between 1990 and 1992.

Mugabe and his allies in Zanu PF have been slapped with travel bans by the UK and the European Union in response to Harare’s flagrant violations of human rights and lack of respect for the rule of law.

A former darling of the West and the UK, in particular, the 86 year-old Zimbabwean leader’s relations with London are now very frosty.

Mugabe has not been to the UK in almost a decade since former premier Tony Blair imposed targeted sanctions on him and colleagues in Zanu PF.

But Mugabe has consistently and spiritedly accused both the UK and US of using sanctions to hurt his administration as a punitive measure for embarking on  the agrarian reforms in 2000 which drove white commercial farmers off prime farming land.

Zanu PF and Mugabe accuse Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of taking instructions from the West and of being “used” as their agent to topple the aged President. – Daily News