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Zimbabwe's Mugabe urges blacks to 'strike fear in heart of the white man'
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- President Robert Mugabe, opening a crucial party congress that could decide his future, on Thursday urged black Zimbabweans to unite against whites and strike fear into their hearts.
"Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy," he told about 7,000 supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF at Harare Sports Centre.
He vowed to continue commandeering white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks and said the courts, which have twice declared the land grab illegal, would not stop him.
"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. This country is our country and this land is our land.
"The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans," he said to wild cheers and applause from party delegates.
Analysts: Mugabe's party doomed if he stays
Party sources have said Mugabe's leadership ahead of presidential elections in 2002 could be on the agenda for the three-day party congress, but the 76-year-old president made no mention of his own position in the party.
Mugabe's lieutenants are adamant that he will stay, but analysts say the party is doomed if he does.
"I just can't see how they can seriously contest, let alone win, the presidential elections without a change of leadership," University of Zimbabwe political analyst Emmanuel Magade said.
Mugabe accused the country's 1 percent white minority of sabotaging the economy in an effort to destroy ZANU-PF, in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
"They are closing their factories and companies in order to worsen our economic condition. They are trying to sabotage the economy in their fight against our government. They will not succeed," he said.
"They think because they are white, they have a divine right to our resources. Not here. Never again."
Economy 'excludes and exiles our people'
Mugabe said Zimbabwe's 12 million blacks were not in control of their own economy, which is in deep recession.
"We have an economy which excludes and exiles our people. ... all the power and control is in the hands of a tiny racial minority and a minority of colonial origins," he said.
"What we have is ... a foreign-owned and foreign-controlled economy. Of course we participate as wage-earners, but as modest and circumscribed wage-earners."
Mugabe calls chief rival 'miserable figure'
ZANU-PF officially called the special congress to discuss the party's flagging fortunes after losing a referendum on a draft constitution in February and only narrowly winning parliamentary polls in June after 20 years in power.
Former labor leader Morgan Tsvangirai's new opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won an unprecedented 57 of 120 parliamentary seats up for election in June.
But Mugabe vowed this would never happen again, saying blacks who had voted for the MDC in June should be ashamed.
"Tsvangirai is just an empty vessel, a bucket, a miserable figure. The intellectual level of our country will not allow the ignoramuses of our country to rule.
"No self-respecting black man must ever support the MDC because it is just a front for the white man," he said.
Seizures of white-owned farms to continue
Returning to the main theme of his rule this year, Mugabe said the redistribution of largely white-owned farmland would be crucial to economic recovery.
"The real structural adjustment of the economy should start with the resolution of the land problem. ... the land must change hands in favor of the majority of our people.
"The land is ours by birth, ours by right, also ours by struggle. Africa is for Africans -- Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans," he reiterated.
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.
Zimbabwe's long-standing leader Mugabe faces opposition
ZANU PF Homepage
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