Bush: Mugabe a "discredited dictator" in a national "nightmare"

Other News Materials 14 February 2008 22:32 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- On the eve of a six-day trip to Africa, US President George W Bush Thursday called Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe a "discredited dictator" who is presiding over "food shortages, staggering inflation and harsh repression."

Bush urged South Africa and other neighbours in the region to "support freedom in Zimbabwe."

He said America would "confront tyranny" in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa, and looked to the hour when Zimbabwe's "nightmare is over."

"The decent and talented people of that country deserve much better," he said.

Mugabe's disastrous policies, including his ruinous land reform programme, are blamed for hyperinflation of over 25,000 per cent, unemployment of around 80 per cent and widespread shortages of basic foods.

Mugabe is standing for reelection on March 29, when he will be challenged by an opposition badly splintered by oppressive moves by the government.

Bush is to visit Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia starting Saturday.