Mugabe Calls Bush, Blair, “Little Fellows�

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on Friday to survive any Western attempt to dislodge him from power.
Mugabe said Britain and the United States would never overcome the support he enjoys in his ruling ZANU-PF party, which led the former Rhodesia to black majority rule in 1980.

"Nothing frightens me, not even little fellows like Bush and Blair. I have seen it all, I don't fear any suffering or a struggle of any kind," Mugabe, 83, said to cheers from ZANU-PF supporters at a meeting in Harare.

"I make a stand and stand on principle here where I was born, here where I grew up, here where I fought and here where I shall die," Mugabe said, accusing the West of sponsoring the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to overthrow his government.

One of Zimbabwe's top Roman Catholic clerics, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, on Friday repeated his call for mass peaceful protests to end Mugabe's 27-year rule.

Police, meanwhile, accused MDC supporters of petrol bombing a police station in Mutare city, the latest in a series of violent acts which officials have attributed to opposition activists.

International criticism of Mugabe has sharpened this month after police cracked down on opposition supporters attempting to attend a banned prayer rally, arresting several MDC activists including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC officials say Tsvangirai and a number of other detainees were badly beaten while in detention.

Western critics including Britain and the United States have threatened more economic sanctions on Mugabe and his government, which is battling Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis in decades with inflation now topping 1,700 percent.

Meanwhile, Western denunciations of Mugabe drew criticism from one of the MDC's two main factions, with factional leader Arthur Mutambara saying Africa must lead the drive for change.

"We appreciate the support from Western powers but the double standards of the West undermine our struggle," Arthur Mutambara was quoted by South Africa's SAPA news agency as saying in Johannesburg. "The only ones who have the moral authority to speak out on Zimbabwe are Africans," Mutambara said.

Ncube, who has used his archbishop's pulpit to become one of Mugabe's most vocal and fearless domestic critics, on Friday said again he was ready to lead mass peaceful protests.

"This dictator must be brought down right now by the peoples' power but not in a violent manner. If we can get 30,000 people together Mugabe will just come down," Ncube told a news conference. "I would put myself on the line."

( Reuters)

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