Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe said recently that there is a very good reason that he is ostracized by United States President Barack Obama and other Western leaders: they are afraid of him.
Speaking to a small crowd of supporters outside of his rural home in the country’s Zvimba District, Mugabe offered up fear as the reason for Western sanctions against him and for his exclusion from a summit of African leaders in Washington D.C. last month.
“It's your support which enables me with my small frame to instill fear in the likes of Obama,” he told the crowd, according to The Telegraph. “They invite all other leaders to meetings but say Mugabe cannot come and I wonder whether it's my misfortune. In the past, when we attended these meetings, Western leaders would disappear once they knew that I was around.”
The 90-year-old Mugabe has been roundly denounced by world leaders for human rights abuses and rigged elections in his country. The U.S. joined Britain and the European Union in imposing an asset freeze and travel ban on him 12 years ago.
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He is, however, still allowed to attend United Nations gatherings and he appeared at the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005. But he is reportedly avoided by Western leaders when he attends such international events.
Mugabe, while addressing the same crowd, also said that whites would no longer be welcome in his country.
“The West prefers a weak leader who, they hope, would allow the whites to come back. They think if they intimidate us we will be cowed and allow the whites to come back; that will never happen,” he is quoted as saying in the International Business Times. “Don't they (whites) know where their ancestors came from? The British who are here should all go back to England. We now have airplanes which can take them back quicker than the ships used by their ancestors.”
The remarks came on the heels of a July declaration, made by Mugabe, that whites could no longer own land in the Zimbabwe. The rule was part of the president’s controversial, new land redistribution program.
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“They can own companies and apartments in our towns and cities but not the soil. It is ours and that message should ring loud and clear in Britain and the United States,” he said.