Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Sunday, March 02, 2003

For all of Britains protests about the brutality of Comrade Bob, what's up with this?

Britain is sheltering a former supporter of an outlawed terrorist group who also acts as a propagandist for the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

David Matsanga, a Ugandan businessman, acts as a public relations adviser for Mr Mugabe. He also writes a weekly column for a Zimbabwean newspaper in which he regularly denounces Britain

Mr Matsanga, 43, a former official of the disgraced former Ugandan president Milton Obote, has lived in Croydon, Surrey, with his wife and four children for nine years. He was granted political asylum on the grounds that he would be killed if he returned home.

Until recently he was the British spokesman for the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, a proscribed terrorist organisation which conscripts child soldiers and has been accused by Amnesty International of terrorising the population.

Two months ago it was accused of killing 104 people and, last Wednesday, of abducting 30 children from a school. In January 1999, Kampala magistrates issued a warrant for Mr Matsanga's arrest, along with leaders of the LRA, for three murders allegedly committed by the terrorist organisation on February 14, 1997, in the northern town of Gulu. It requested his extradition.

Mr Matsanga, who claims to have worked as a researcher for Robin Cook, then the shadow foreign secretary, before the 1997 election, writes a vitriolic anti-British column in the Daily Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper. Among his many rants are attacks on Tony Blair and journalists who have written about Mr Mugabe's despotic rule.

He described an article in The Daily Telegraph about a possible coup in Zimbabwe as "nothing but a faked story by gay gangsters", adding that British "gays who hate President Mugabe" were sneaking into the country under the pretext of playing golf.

In another column, Mr Matsanga wrote: "Let Tony Blair seek the help of African medicine men to cleanse this soul that is haunting the very centre of British democracy."

Last week Mr Matsanga boasted about his Zimbabwean connections when he met two undercover journalists from The Telegraph at a hotel in Croydon.

He said: "I know all the government, all the ministers they turn to me for advice. Mugabe is always interested in what I have to say."

With Zimbabwean government cash, Mr Matsanga runs a company trading as Africa Strategy. Its aim is to try to win favourable publicity for the regime. Despite his attacks on Mr Blair, the businessman claims to have got a British passport and be a member of the Labour Party.

< email | 3/02/2003 01:26:00 AM | link

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