- Created on 13 August 2013
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's longtime President Robert Mugabe said Tuesday his party won "a resounding mandate" from voters to complete a sweeping black empowerment program to take over foreign and white-owned assets.
Mugabe said the program in Zimbabwe, widely criticized by Western countries, will be "pursued to its successful conclusion."
Outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 61, is challenging the results of the July 31 election and alleges widespread vote rigging that gave Mugabe, 89, and his ZANU-PF party a commanding victory.
Addressing military parades on the annual Defense Forces holiday, Mugabe said voters ended an unwieldy coalition with Tsvangirai's opposition that was formed after the last violent and disputed elections in 2008.
Mugabe said the vote showed confidence in his party and its drive for "total economic emancipation" for prosperity and jobs.
"I extend my hearty congratulations to all of you for showing our foreign detractors our destiny lies in our hands," Mugabe said, speaking at the main sports stadium in Harare where the parades and parachuting displays, gymnastics and a soccer match between the uniformed services of Zimbabwe and regional ally Tanzania were held.
In his first public appearance since the election on the Heroes' Day holiday Monday, honoring guerrillas in the war the led to independence in 1980, Mugabe described his rivals as an enemy he disposed of in the election "like garbage."
On Tuesday he called them "some misguided fellow countrymen" who received backing from hostile Western nations and followed a regime-change agenda to oust him.
Tsvangirai's party had called for reforms to the military and police it has blamed for state orchestrated violence in the past.
"What they call security sector reform is when the enemy's aim is to dilute the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces," Mugabe said. "We appeal to all Zimbabweans to resist the enemy's strategies and renewed advances by our erstwhile colonizers."
Britain, the former colonial power, and the United States have questioned whether the results of the July 31 poll represent a free and fair vote.
Mugabe, who for the first time this year inspected the parades from an open military jeep instead of walking through the ranks, said Britain has opposed black empowerment since 2000 when thousands of white farmers were forced to surrender their land.
Critics of the program say it disrupted Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy, shut down industries and scared away foreign investment in mining and other businesses where owners were required to yield 51 percent control to blacks.
Mugabe, however, said empowerment succeeded in creating jobs and economic growth in other African countries in the post-colonial era where it had not drawn the same condemnation as in Zimbabwe.
In its election manifesto, Mugabe's party vowed to take control of the last 1,138 foreign and white-owned businesses in the country.
"This policy beneficial to indigenous Zimbabweans will be taken to its successful conclusion" under a new ZANU-PF government, Mugabe said.
Tsvangirai and leaders of his Movement for Democratic Change campaigned for liberalization the economy to attract Western investors. They stayed away from Tuesday's parades and Monday's ceremonies at a national cemetery outside Harare.
- Created on 12 August 2013
JOHANNESBURG — The office of the South African president says Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition although his health is gradually improving.
In a statement Sunday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela is making a "slow but steady improvement."
Zuma thanked South Africans for praying for the 95-year-old former president, who has been hospitalized since June 8 because of a lung infection.
The government has released few details on Mandela's illness, citing privacy issues. Legal documents filed by the family of the anti-apartheid leader had said he was on life support, though some family members have in recent weeks given upbeat assessments of his health. A number of relatives have talked of Mandela returning soon to his home in Johannesburg but others have not spoken about him leaving the hospital.
- Created on 09 August 2013
(CNN) -- Billionaire U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she was the victim of racism on a recent trip to Switzerland when a shop assistant refused to show her a handbag because it was "too expensive."
Winfrey was in Zurich for Tina Turner's wedding in late July when she left her hotel alone and popped into an upscale handbag shop.
She told Entertainment Tonight: "I was in Zurich the other day at a store whose name I will not mention. I didn't have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and sandals, but obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich."
"I go into a store and say to the woman, 'Excuse me, may I see that bag over your head?' and she says to me 'No, it's too expensive.'"
Winfrey says she asked again to see the bag -- a $38,000 crocodile skin number by Tom Ford -- and the woman again refused, saying, "No no no, you don't want to see that one, you want to see this one, because that one will cost too much and you will not be able to afford that."
Winfrey says she asked a final time to see the bag: "One more time I tried -- I said, 'But I really do just want to see that one,' and she said, 'I don't want to to hurt your feelings,' and I said, 'Ok thank you so much, you're probably right, I can't afford it and walked out of the store. Now why did she do that?"
While Winfrey did not specifically identify the shopping trip as a racist experience she told the story during a larger interview on racism and how racism she has suffered..
The talk show host is the first and only female African-American billionaire, with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion. She said: "I could've had the big blow up thing and thrown down the black card and all that, but why do that?"
Winfrey chose not to identify the shop, but the name of the high-end boutique -- Trois Pomme -- was soon revealed. The shop's manager told CNN the entire incident was a "200 percent misunderstanding" and had nothing to do with racism.
"Mrs. Oprah said she just wanted to look at the bag, she didn't want it taken down, and because my sales assistant felt a little embarrassed about the price, she quickly said that she also had the model in other materials such as ostrich and suede, which weren't so expensive," explained Trudie Goetz, the manager of Trois Pommes.
Calling it a "normal selling discussion," Goetz said: "Mrs. Oprah got the impression she didn't want to sell the bag to her because she wanted to show her other bags. This had nothing whatsoever to do with racism."
"Who wouldn't want to sell a bag like that? Everyone would. My saleswoman just wanted to do her best. She feels very bad because she feels the way it's being represented is very unfair."
Goetz added that Tina Turner was her "best friend" and that she, like Oprah, attended the singer's wedding.
- Created on 09 August 2013
"I have to admit that the employee is Italian. Of course, she speaks English, but not as well as her mother tongue," Goetz was quoted as saying. "It was a real misunderstanding."