Zimbabwe's former white minority leader has reacted with scorn to a threat by Robert Mugabe to put him on trial for genocide. President Mugabe wants to try Ian Smith for his role in the country's war of independence more than 20 years ago. 81-year-old Mr Smith said that he would welcome the chance to stand trial in Zimbabwe and tell the world that the President was a gangster who had plunged the country into anarchy. Analysts said that Mr Mugabe's threat to arrest Mr Smith and other whites would not stand up in court due to amnesties granted to both sides after the liberation war.

Mr Mugabe has told a rally at the ruling party's headquarters in Harare that his long-standing policy of reconciliation with the country's whites, which he adopted at independence in 1980, would be abandoned. He was speaking shortly before the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, began impeachment proceedings against him for what they claim is gross misconduct and wilful violation of the constitution. A new opinion poll indicates that 15% of Zimbabweans want Mr Mugabe to continue in office.