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What they said in 2003

“I am the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be

a Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.” – President Mugabe at the state funeral of Higher Education minister Swithun Mombeshora.

“I don’t know, I can’t remember.” – State witness Ari ben Menashe under cross-examination by advocate George Bizos during the Tsvangirai treason trial.

“It was an act of mischief on your part to have reproduced that story, for there was definitely no report to leak since it does not exist.” – Unnamed government official dismissing the existence of the Flora Bhuka land audit report.

“That woman is trouble, beat her!” – Jocelyn Chiwenga, ordering police to beat Daily News lawyer Gugulethu Moyo.

“I have always had a nagging feeling that for all their propensity to liberal values and civilised norms, these people are dirty. In fact, they are filthy and recklessly uncouth and actually barbaric.” – Information minister Jonathan Moyo after the publication of a story on his shopping spree in South Africa.

“I feel very sorry for the staff of the Daily News.” – Moyo after refusing the Daily News a publishing licence.

“We are not going to be going around the African continent removing governments.” – SA President Thabo Mbeki reacting to calls to be more pro-active in solving the Zimbabwean crisis.

“My brother, comrade Mugabe, and his Zanu PF must realise the world is changing in the direction of democracy. Laws that don’t benefit the people should be scrapped.” – Malawi President Bakili Muluzi before the Chogm summit.

“If leaders on the continent do not do more to convince President Robert Mugabe to respect the rule of law and enter into a dialogue with the political opposition, he and his cronies will drag Zimbabwe down until there is nothing left to ruin.” – United States Secretary of State Colin Powell before his visit to South Africa.

“There are others who are apologetic about our nationalism…. those who fear to be complete Africans, hesitate to express solidarity with us.” – President Mugabe after a lack of support for him at Chogm.

“I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq and I was afraid.” – Libyan leader Col Gaddafi in a phone call to Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi.

“My heart simply bleeds for my country.” – Archbishop Pius Ncube during his visit to Washington.

“There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never. No American tank is in Baghdad. Never. Most were forced to retreat and the rest were massacred. My feelings – as usual – we will slaughter them all.

“God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis. Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds at the gates of Baghdad. Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected. – Iraq’s Information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf (Comical Ali) as US troops occupied Baghdad.

“Italy is a great country to invest in. Today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one . . . Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries . . .” – Berlusconi in an interview with the Spectator.

“Women and trousers are the cause of the world’s ills.” – Swaziland’s King Mswati III, shortly after selecting an 11th wife.

“Ladies and gentleman, we got him.” – US civil administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein.

“We cannot in good conscience ignore the fact that millions of our compatriots are starving, unemployed and oppressed…” – Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, who wore black armbands during their World Cup match against Namibia.

“Any speculative reports on ‘transitional government’, ‘transitional arrangements’, ‘exit plan’ or ‘exile’ are at best wishful thinking and at worst an undemocratic insult to the people of Zimbabwe.” – Zimbabwean government statement, emphasising that Mugabe would not step down before his current term ends in 2008.

“Personally, I don’t know anybody who has died of Aids, I really honestly don’t.” – Mbeki, asked if he knew anyone with HIV.

“We are committed to the well-being and humane treatment of poultry.” – Kentucky Fried Chicken (South Africa) after complaints of cruelty to animals.

“I said to her that I didn’t want to sit next to someone who was the cause of the death of thousands of people. She said ‘f–k off’. I asked her if that was the way a Health Minister should respond and she told me to f–k off again.” – Cape Town resident Jens von Wichtingen, who asked to be moved from his aircraft seat next to Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang in protest against the government’s HIV and Aids policy.

“F–k Saddam” – President Bush, as quoted in Time magazine.

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