International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

A Critical Discourse Analysis of President Mugabe’s 2002 Address to the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Advice Chimbarange, Prosper Takavarasha, Francisca Kombe

Language acts as a vehicle for propagating the ideologies, values and aspirations of those in power. Since politics is a struggle for power in order to put one’s preferred political, economic and social ideas into practice, the role of language cannot be over emphasized, as every political action is prepared, accompanied, influenced by and played out through language. As the world re-gathered for the World Summit on Sustainable Development dubbed Rio+20, this paper therefore, analyses the political discourse of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe focusing on the persuasive strategies and covert ideology enshrined in his address at the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. The concept of sustainable development is contextualized and redefined by the Zimbabwean president in accordance with his government’s ideology on the land question giving the concept a different emphasis. The paper is grounded in Fairclough’s assumptions in Critical Discourse Analysis that, “ideologies reside in texts”, that “it is not possible to “read off ideologies from texts” and that “texts are open to diverse interpretations” (Fairclough: 1995). The selected speech’s persuasive strategies and ideological underpinnings are assessed to reveal President Mugabe’s expert use, of personal pronouns and well timed repetition as the major rhetorical tools used in articulating his worldview.

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