Lloyd Gumbo in BEIJING, China
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met African diplomats based here, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Speaker of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang in separate meetings, where they described him as an African statesman who stood up to challenge the West despite the imposition of illegal sanctions on the country.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to China, Cde Fredrick Shava, said it had become a tradition for African diplomats to meet heads of state visiting China on state visits.
Ambassadors took turns to praise President Mugabe after he addressed them on the developments in Zimbabwe, Africa and his visit to China.
Sierra Leone ambassador, Victor Bockarie, was the first to heap praises on President Mugabe.
“You are a man we admire in our part of Africa. You are indeed a true son of Africa. You are standing the test of our former colonial bosses on the issue of land . . . Thank you for your endurance even if sanctions have been put on your doorstep,” said Ambassador Bockarie.
He implored President Mugabe to raise the threat of Ebola on the continent at the forthcoming African Union Summit.
Liberia’s ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mckniley Thomas, chipped in: “We are also great admirers of His Excellency, the President, a great son of Africa.”
A Nigerian representative praised President Mugabe for being the only leader who had told white people to back off.
In his remarks, President Mugabe said it was important for Africa to unite against imperialists.
He chronicled the bilateral dispute between Harare and London saying it arose after the country redistributed land to the landless majority.
He reiterated that it was important for Africans to add value to their natural resources in order for them to realise full benefits from the same.
President Mugabe said there was need for adequate infrastructure for the continent to fully industrialise.
He said Africa expected South Africa to take the lead in the industrialisation process of other African states, but to no avail since the economy in that country was still under white control.
President Mugabe said other countries on the continent would be patient with South Africa to address the skewed ownership of resources for the whole continent to benefit.
He said it was important for countries to merge businesses if they were similar so that they could improve their performance.
He blasted the West for killing former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi under the guise of protecting civilians.