ZIMBABWE'S President Robert Mugabe used an appearance at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 'World 2009' meeting in Geneva, SwitzerlandÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â to attack the West for what he called the continued violation of Zimbabwe's airwaves by foreign-based radio stations, writes Lance Guma for SW Radio Africa.
In a speech that aptly summed up his regime's attitude towards media freedom, Mugabe told a Council of Ministers meeting that 'certain western countries had 'radio broadcasting systems' that were targeting 'his' country to further their 'obnoxious regime change agendas'.
The remarks are a continuation of threats made by Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, who last month told a study seminar of army officers that foreign-based radio stations are at 'war with Zimbabwe' . The soldiers attending a five day seminar on 'low intensity operations and asymmetric warfare' at 2 Infantry Brigade Headquarters were told to remain on guard against this threat.
In Switzerland on Wednesday Mugabe was to stun delegates further by saying the use of Information Communication Technologies was a challenge to Zimbabwe's sovereignty. He claimed there was a 'philosophy that seeks to weaponize ICT by turning them into weapons of aggression.' One blogger sarcastically suggested that Mugabe might have been talking about 'exploding handsets' or 'sub machine guns cunningly disguised as laptops. Mugabe's exact meaning remained obscure but all the same exposed his paranoia about opening up the media.
ICT Minister Nelson Chamisa is also in Switzerland for the conference, having arrived separately on Monday. Mugabe arrived for the conference on Wednesday. Despite a European Union travel ban imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle the ZANU PF leader and his wife Grace were able to travel because the ITU falls under the arm of the United Nations, where they are exempted from the travel ban. Mugabe is expected back in Zimbabwe on Saturday.
Click here to read the full report, posted on SW Radio Africa's website.