Harare - President Robert Mugabe on Monday marked 25 years of independence by telling the West to mind their own elections and leave Zimbabwe alone.
"Our elections have not needed Anglo-American validation. They are validated by fellow Africans, and friendly countries from the Third World," Mugabe told thousands gathered at a sports stadium for the independence celebrations.
"That is where we get justice, not from Europe neither indeed from America."
In his address Mugabe outlined the thinking that has informed his disastrous economic policies.
This is radical socialism tinged with racism -- impose economic hardship and social disruption so as to bring about fundamental change that can serve as a basis for reconstructing a nation along lines prescribed by ideology. Such programs failed with horrendous consequences in the Soviet Union and its dependencies, it failed in China, and Southeast Asia, and in South Asia, and in the Middle East, and in Latin America and the Caribbean. What makes anyone thing that it will succeed in Central Africa? Mugabe's fanatic blend of racism, socialism, and anti-colonial resentments are a prescription for disaster.
Mugabe, who has been in power since independence 25 years ago, also defended his land reform programme launched five years ago that saw some 4 000 commercial farms seized and handed over to landless blacks.
"The 25 years that have gone by have taught us democracy cannot grow well on the soil of racial poverty and inequality. Genuine democracy cannot co-exist with structural depravation and racial inequality.
"In Zimbabwe land governs the ballot, it is a symbol of sovereignty, it is the economy, indeed the source of our wealth as Africans," he declared before a coterie of African leaders including Namibia's Hifikepunye Pohamba and Botswana's President Festus Mogae.
Mugabe said the land issue "remains the core social question of our time as it was the main grievance on which our whole liberation struggle was built".
Mugabe scoffed at critics of his economic management saying "we are happy that it (the economy) has delivered spectacularly on our social goals, thereby laying firm foundation for our future growth policy."
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