- The Washington Times - Friday, December 15, 2000

HARARE, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe urged militant supporters yesterday to "strike fear in the hearts of the white man" in a bid to keep control of the nation he has ruled for two decades.
A fist-waving and perspiring Mr. Mugabe made his plea to the cheers of 7,000 delegates of his ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) at the opening of a crucial four-day party congress.
"Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy," he said. "They think because they are white, they have a divine right to our resources. Not here. Never again."
By lashing out with rhetoric reminiscent of Zimbabwe's war against white rule more than 20 years ago, Mr. Mugabe dashed the hopes of critics within his own party for new blood in the organization's senior ranks.
He accused whites in Zimbabwe and throughout Southern Africa of conspiring to oust him and to oust black governments in neighboring states.
"The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans," Mr. Mugabe, 76, said to wild shouts and applause from party delegates.
He charged that Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was in cahoots with South Africa's newly formed Democratic Alliance, which consists of two mainly white parties.
Former labor leader Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC won an unprecedented 57 of 120 parliamentary seats during elections in June.
But Mr. Mugabe vowed this would never happen again, saying blacks who had voted for the MDC in June should be ashamed.
"No self-respecting black man must ever support the MDC because it is just a front for the white man," he said.
Many in the region fear Mr. Mugabe's escalating rhetoric. His anti-white message an appeal to a hard-line minority that shares a past of white colonial domination has already frightened foreign investors and dried up international aid.
Zimbabwe's government budget deficit is more than 24 percent of gross domestic product this year alone and by some estimates, the economy is shrinking at an annual rate of 10 percent.
The violent rampages associated with Mr. Mugabe's campaign to seize white-owned farms and give them to landless blacks has driven off 80 percent of the once-lucrative tourist business.
Zimbabwe's neighbors fear that economic chaos will drive more economic refugees out of the country.
"With the coming of independence in South Africa most business in Zimbabwe started closing," said Mr. Mugabe, who told the audience that it was part of a white plot to make his government collapse.
"We have an economy that largely excludes and exiles our people and keeps power in the hands of a tiny racial minority. We cannot speak of a national economy. We only have nationals in a foreign-owned economy," he said.
Mr. Mugabe won the most cheers when he said he would continue to ignore the nation's judiciary, which he blamed for siding with white interests in attempting to halt the land seizures.
"The courts can do whatever they want, but no judicial decision will stand in our way… . My own position is that we should not even be defending our position in the courts," he said.
The public campaign of vilifying judges has sparked growing fears in the legal community.
The independent Daily News reported yesterday that a number of judges had sought police protection as a result of death threats from Mugabe supporters.
Although the ZANU-PF congress was convened to plan strategy, Mr. Mugabe offered no indication of how he planned to stave off economic decline, but vowed to continue with the rapid resettlement of blacks onto white-owned commercial farms.
Mr. Mugabe spoke two days after white farmer Henry Elsworth was killed in an ambush near his farm southwest of Harare. He was the seventh white farmer to die violently this year.

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