From Innocent Gore at the UNITED NATIONS
ZIMBABWE does not criticise Britain and the United States for the sake of it but its criticism is based on fundamental principles, President Mugabe said yesterday.
Addressing the 58th UN General Assembly in New York, Cde Mugabe attacked the emergence of unipolarism in world affairs in which powerful nations such as Britain and the United States sought to dominate the world and dictate to other countries how they should govern themselves.
He lamented the invasion of Iraq by the US and Britain without the mandate of the UN.
"Let it not be said that Zimbabwe enjoys criticising the US and Britain for the sake of criticism. Our criticisms are founded on sound, fundamental principles.
"Let it not be forgotten that Zimbabwe was in the chair when the Security Council authorised the first Gulf War. We stood firmly by the US, Britain and many other nations that removed Iraq from Kuwait.
"We did so on the basis that expansionism and occupation of a sovereign country and people cannot be right, can never be just and warranted under any circumstance.
"We admired the deployment of power under the auspices of the UN. It is the absence of the same ingredients that explain our indignation, our sharp censure of the so-called coalition of the willing that does not seem to recognise that both the Iraqis and the world are unwilling to sanction the means employed, and the end achieved," said President Mugabe.
He said despite the determined and resolute attempt at frustrating Zimbabwe’s land reform programme, the fast-track phase, through which the country reasserted its sovereign right over its land as a principle resource, was largely concluded and was yielding tangible benefits to the vast majority of its people.
"There is a new sense of empowerment yielding a happy sense of ownership, which has brought thousands upon thousands of hitherto marginalised families back into the economic mainstream," he said.
Cde Mugabe said the National Economic Revival Programme gave clear priority to agriculture as the engine for economic revival and growth.
"We are forging ahead on the basis of our own efforts and the support from nations of goodwill. We are determined to move and succeed.
"A Land Review Committee set up by my Government to assess the whole reform programme, recently submitted its findings which will help in mapping the way forward to achieve sustainable development in the agriculture sector in line with the criteria and objectives we laid ourselves."
On trade, the President said Zimbabwe believed in a multilateral trading system that serves well all the members of the trading nations.
He urged the North to engage in honest negotiations and to desist from trying to use the WTO forum for hegemonic ends.
Zimbabwe and other countries in Southern Africa continued to grapple with the effects of Aids and to combat this, President Mugabe said the Government had declared HIV/Aids a national emergency.
The country had embarked on a national programme of prevention, the highlight of which consists of mass mobilisation to deepen awareness and understanding of the disease.
As a result of this, Zimbabwe’s infection rate in the sexually active 15 to 49 age group had come down from 35 to 24 percent.
The Aids levy had to date raised $8 billion and this money was being distributed through a decentralised structure, which ensures accessibility right down to village level.
On the international arena, Cde Mugabe said at the heart of the tragedy in the Persian Gulf was the unprecedented assault on multilateralism in world affairs represented by the Security Council which is the only guarantor of global peace, order and security.
"Some powerful western nations, led by governments of the United States and Britain, went to a war of unclear objectives in the face of clear opposition from the rest of the world and as we now know, with clear opposition from their own people.
"It was and remains (an) unjust and illegitimate war, unjust to the extent that it was founded and prosecuted on falsehoods; illegitimate to the extent that it was not sanctioned by the United Nations and has transformed itself into effective occupation of a sovereign people."
Cde Mugabe said there could never be world peace under conditions of foreign invasion and occupation.
There could never be world security and order when naked power suspended and substituted with unilateralism the hallowed principle of multilateralism, on the basis of which peace had been made, kept, preserved and expanded since the Second World War.
"This we tell you as a people from a continent that has suffered a similar fate in recent history, indeed as a people who had to overthrow foreign imperial occupation through costly struggles.
"It is a strange logic that the Iraqis pay for a bad president, a bad government and a bad war by occupation and loss of their sovereignty. Let us state here quite clearly to both Britain and the United States that the Iraqi people must have the sovereign right to determine the affairs of their country."
Like all peoples of the world, President Mugabe said, the Iraqis love for freedom and self rule was just as strong and just as deep as their hatred for bad leadership and bad governance.
The Iraqis, like all peoples of the world, are unwilling to be occupied and governed by a foreign coalition, however willing, however powerful it may be.
"No people want that and we of Africa know that. We must reject the present roadmap of naked unilateralism for consent-orientated statecraft in world affairs. What is the future for the world without the UN?
"Mr President (of the UN General Assembly), we hope the coalition that willingly went to war with Iraq without Security Council sanction is now willing to admit that defeating others is not always the same as winning peace, that wars are not ended by proclamations but by just settlements.
"Indeed we hope that they have learnt from their costly mistakes and are willing to let the UN reassert its authority in the broader search for peace and security in Iraq."
Cde Mugabe said there was need for a humane global governance under the leadership of the UN, as distinct from a unilateral global state and government if crises that could result in calamitous wars and social breakdowns were to be overcome.
He said the inadequacies of existing international institutions in dealing with present challenges was a sad testimony of their flawed foundational conceptions amid changing circumstances.
There were anachronistic institutions relying too comfortably on traditional norms to address new challenges.
"Decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany, does the world still need to rely on a system founded on the principle of rewarding the Allied powers for defeating Nazi Germany, thereby bringing post-world war peace?"
At its foundation, the President said, the UN collective system allowed two classes of response.
If a minor power committed aggression and there was unanimity among the five permanent members of the Security Council, a collective response could follow.
However, if a permanent member was opposed to such action, it could use its veto.
This approach in historical terms, represented the institutionalisation of a particular form of world order, the immediate post-1945 world order which sought to reward and empower the allied powers as the only competent stewards of world peace.
But, President Mugabe said, the world had changed a great deal since then.
Just as many new nations had emerged since then, allied powers had also evolved in ways that easily made them actors of injustice and therefore threats to world peace.
"The reality today is that we cannot treat the UN system as given. The institutional arrangements in place were relevant only for a specified period and must inevitably be adapted, transformed or even radically modified as material circumstances have changed and prevailing meanings, practices and purposes have been challenged by new inter-subjective voices.
"In this unipolar world of today, what can the Security Council do to one of its permanent members whose actions threaten world peace, I ask?"
Cde Mugabe said at a time citizens everywhere were pressing for a greater say in national governance, it was imperative for heads of State and government to seek a fairer representation through the democratisation of multilateral organisations such as the UN, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.
"What is good for the goose must surely be good for the gander. The present autocracy in global governance must be challenged stoutly so all nations, big or small, have equal say and equal power in the way we govern world affairs.
"I am happy that the Secretary-General’s current report entitled ‘Implementation of the Millennium Declaration’ is in agreement with our concerns that the composition of the Security Council, unchanged in its essentials since 1945 — is at odds with the geopolitical realities of the twenty first century.
"In the light of this stark reality, it is evident that the decisions of the Security Council, which have a decisive impact on events in the real world, increasingly lack legitimacy in the eyes of the developing world."
The President said the IMF and the World Bank, which were formed to provide assistance to the developing world, had succumbed to the whims of the major powers.
The Bretton Woods institutions, in their current form and practice, were designed to deny developing countries the capacity to chart their independent developmental path.
The President expressed concern at the situation in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
He said the conflict was costly on both sides and continued unabated, with the only response from the international community coming by way of episodic judgments that mal-distributed blame on the basis of individual national interests.
"Especially wrong is the belief that settlements can only come through ostracising and even eliminating the leadership of the Palestinian people. Assassinations and extra judicial killings must be rejected as a formula for peace," he said.
He, however, welcomed measures adopted by the UN Security Council aimed at strengthening the peace process in the DRC.
The President urged the international community to rally behind Ecowas’ peace initiative to bring peace to Liberia.
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