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Zimbabwe: Mugabe 'an outstanding leader'
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2007

Zimbabwe: Mugabe 'an outstanding leader', says Zambian vice-president

HARARE, 04/21 - Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe won a show of support from neighbouring Zambia with its vice-president calling him one of the world's great leaders, state media in Harare reported Friday.

In comments carried by the Herald newspaper, Rupiah Banda said Mugabe had shown courage by embarking on his controversial land reform programme in the face of Western criticism and any problems in Zimbabwe should be resolved among Africans.

"We are proud to stand in front of the world and say this is our brother and that any problems here or in Zambia can be solved by ourselves within the context of our continent and our organisation," Banda said after meeting with Mugabe on Thursday.

"Zimbabwe is a sovereign state which should be respected by all and that within its sovereignty, its people decide who is their leader and as far as we are concerned, right here (pointing at Mugabe), we have one of the most outstanding leaders in the world and in Africa."

Banda's words of praise are in contrast to recent comments from Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa who has compared the situation in Zimbabwe to the sinking of the Titanic.

Banda is seen as close to Zambia's founding president Kenneth Kaunda who recently warned against the "demonisation" of his old ally Mugabe.

South African President Thabo Mbeki was recently tasked by regional heads of state to help resolve the divisions between Mugabe government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change after recent attacks on MDC leaders.

Zimbabwe is currently in the throes of an economic meltdown which has seen inflation surge towards the 2,000 percent mark.

Western critics have traced the decline of the economy to the launch of the land reform programme in 2000 which saw thousands of white-owned farms seized by the state.


Visit: Zimbabwe Watch

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