Sun, Jul 10, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Zimbabwean leader blames sanctions for late salaries

IN DARKNESS:President Mugabe slammed white minority rule, saying that his government has created a prosperous nation that provides jobs and prosperity

AP, BINDURA, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday blamed sanctions imposed by Western countries for his government’s failure to pay salaries on time, in his first public comments after a week of unrest across the county.

The 92-year-old Mugabe, in power for 36 years, delivered his speech in the dark, explaining to supporters that he was late because he spent most of the day in meetings to solve internal differences in his ZANU-PF party.

Government workers boycotted this week because they had not been paid their salaries for last month. The boycott was called off on Thursday after the government started paying them.

On Monday, police in Harare battled rioters protesting what they said was police harassment. On Wednesday, the country shut down after people heeded a call for a national strike organized via social media.

Mugabe said the salary delays were temporary, adding that striking government workers were ignorant of Zimbabwe’s history.

“They don’t understand because some of them never experienced the hardships we faced when we were under white minority rule. Now they have a government that gives them land, jobs and prosperity,” he said in the local Shona language.

Mugabe did not directly address Zimbabwe’s widespread social unrest, but claimed the US and European countries were out to destabilize the country.

He also accused opposition parties of receiving advice from “white South Africans.”

Mugabe routinely blames the West for Zimbabwe’s economic and political problems.

He accused the US and EU nations of stifling Zimbabwe’s economy through sanctions.

“We have problems emanating from sanctions. It doesn’t mean we are poor. The sanctions are hurting us. Be patient, we will pay you,” he said.

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