Mugabe Accuses Western Nations of Wanting Regime Change

Western nations want a “regime change” in Zimbabwe to plunder its mineral wealth, President Robert Mugabe said.

Mugabe, 89, is seeking to extend his 33-year rule in elections scheduled for July 31. The southern African nation has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum and chrome after neighboring South Africa and gold, coal, diamond and iron-ore deposits.

“The land is ours, the country is ours,” Mugabe told supporters of his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front at a rally in Chitungwiza, about 16 miles southeast of the capital, Harare. “If you hear them talk about regime change, they mean removing Mugabe so that they can exploit our mineral wealth at will.”

Zanu-PF has shared power with the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, since a disputed 2008 election that international observers, including the European Union, said was marred by voter irregularities and violence. Tsvangirai, 61, failed in a court bid to postpone this month’s poll.

“There is abundant wealth, gold, diamond, chrome and platinum that is yet to be explored,” Mugabe said. “That’s the wealth they want. They are stealthily approaching some of our colleagues so that they weaken us in order to find their way back into the country.”

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from the U.K. in 1980.

“Africa is for Africans, Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans,” he said. “We don’t want people who behave like the British.”

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