Zimbabwe’s Mugabe could be a fierce, captivating speaker

International

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Robert Mugabe, the former Zimbabwean president who has died aged 95, was renowned in his lifetime as a gifted speaker whose words could be pleasing as well as annoying to many at home and abroad. Whether he was attacking his apparent opponents at home or foreign leaders he did not especially like, Mugabe could be a fierce, captivating figure at the podium, sometimes seen wagging a finger as he made his point at boisterous campaign events. That charismatic presence that made him stand out as a revolutionary leader lasted many years after he first took power as prime minister of Zimbabwe. Because he was an interesting speaker, Mugabe also was the victim of false quotes attributed to him over the years.

Here are some of Mugabe’s famous quotes:

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ON INDEPENDENCE

“Surely this is now time to beat our swords into ploughshares.” (Urging reconciliation between whites and blacks in a speech after taking power as prime minister in 1980 after the independence war)

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ON PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HOMOSEXUALITY

“We have this American president, Obama, born of an African father, who is saying we will not give you aid if you don’t embrace homosexuality. We ask, was he born out of homosexuality?” (Addressing a political rally in 2013)

“Since President Obama endorses the same-sex marriage, advocates homosexual people, and enjoys an attractive countenance, thus if it becomes necessary, I shall travel to Washington D.C, get down on my knee, and ask his hand.” (Speaking after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriages in 2015.)

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ON HIS OPPONENTS

“Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy.” (Addressing a political rally in 2000 as his government began violently evicting white farmers)

“Only God who appointed me will remove me, not the MDC, not the British.” (Speaking at an election rally in 2008)

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ON NELSON MANDELA

“The most important thing for Mandela was his release from prison and nothing else. He cherished that freedom more than anything else and forgot why he was put in jail.” (Addressing a political rally in 2017 while criticizing Mandela for not seizing land from white people.)

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ON FOREIGN LEADERS AND DIPLOMATS

“You saw this little American girl trotting around like a prostitute celebrating that the MDC had won. A disgraceful act.” (Talking about then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer at the launch of a presidential election runoff after Mugabe had lost the first round of voting in 2008)

“We have fought for our land, we have fought for our sovereignty, small as we are. We have won our independence and we are prepared to shed our blood . So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe. We are still exchanging blows with the British government. They are using gay gangsters against me.” (Speaking at the Earth Summit in South Africa in 2002)

“May I say to the United States President, Mr. Trump, please blow your trumpet. Blow your trumpet in a musical way towards the values of unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness, dialogue, which we have always stood for.” (Addressing United Nations General Assembly in 2017)

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ON BRITAIN

“Britain is a very cold, uninhabitable country with small houses.” (Speaking at a political event in 2013)

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Reported by Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda, and Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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