Monday, March 19, 2007

Zimbabwe News Update: Bush Bankrolls MDC; President Mugabe Reads Riot Act

Bush bankrolls MDC, international terrorism

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

EDITOR — I was lucky enough to bump into some information that can help millions of peace-loving people in the world understand the evil machinations of the American government and the madness of its leader — George W. Bush.

This man has a tendency of deploying his weapons of mass destruction for purposes of effecting illegal regime change in other countries and does not care how much it will cost in monetary and human terms. To achieve regime change in targeted countries, Bush will stop at nothing, even sacrificing human life.

To this day, the Bush administration maintains illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in addition to propping violence by the MDC all in pursuit of illegal regime change. His madness continues despite the sobering bloody adventures in Iraq.

Bush’s war antics in Iraq and Afgha-nistan, sanctions on Zimbabwe, hatred for Africa’s respected development partners like Russia, China and Malaysia is a monumental miscalculation that will haunt successive American generations.

I recently read an article by American journalist Andrew Stevens in the New Statesman Magazine of March 12, 2006 and want to share the contents with your readers.

According to Stevens, the Pentagon is making frantic efforts to silence economists after it turned out that the war in Iraq will gobble it a whopping US$2,5 trillion dollars.

Who does not know how much US$2,5 trillion can achieve if channelled towards development projects in Africa? How many hungry children could be fed with US$2,5 trillion?

Hundreds of American soldiers have been killed, 50 000 more injured, trillions of dollars worth of property and infrastructure destroyed and millions of civilians killed — all in one madman’s effort to effect regime change in Iraq.

"America won’t simply be paying with its dead. The pentagon is trying to silence economists who predict that several decades of care for the wounded will amount to US$2,5 trillion," Stevens wrote.

Stevens — who spent several days observing the arrival of gravely wounded soldiers and dead bodies at Landstuhl, the first place where all the those injured from Iraq and Afghanistan are taken to, aboard critical care air transport—describes how Bush and Iraq’s Ibrahim al-Jaafari always visit the 13-acre Walter Reed complex to pay tribute to the "valour" of badly wounded soldiers.

What is most disturbing is that even the sight of those limb-less bodies, the disemboweled and decapitated ones have failed to knock an iota of sense in George Bush’s head.

Harvard professor and former Clinton Administration economist Linda Bilmes last week said she had discovered that the Bush administration was doctoring war figures for the injured and the dead.

Two entirely different and conflicting figures of those killed and injured in the war. The world is given the doctored ones while the horrifying real figures are swept under the carpet in the White House.

This is the same scenario when dealing with Zimbabwe, Russia, China and Malaysia in terms of business deals or saying the truth. Bush lies, enjoys lies, and he spends trillions on lie-based adventures. Bush hates all progressive governments unless they toe his line.

This is chicanery by Bush and his cronies. War is war and violence is violence no matter which side it comes from. In Zimbabwe, the MDC engages in violence and the Bush administration ignores it, the Government reacts and Bush cries foul.

A Russian spy dies and suddenly he is reported to have been poisoned by President Putin. MDC provokes violence and President Mugabe is "wrong" in stopping the MDC violence.

The world should know that there is a warmonger and dictator on the prowl in the name of Bush, it should be wary of this man, the world is never safe with him in office.

He is sponsoring terrorism by funding violent gangsters like the MDC thugs we saw in Highfield.

Just like the MDC, Bush is bad news and needs close watching.

Son of the soil
Harare


Government reads riot act

Herald Reporter

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi yesterday read the riot act to Western ambassadors for interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs, but United States ambassador Mr Christopher Dell walked out before the briefing got underway.

Mr Dell left abruptly in apparent protest a few minutes before the briefing which was held at the Foreign Affairs boardroom at Munhumutapa Building in Harare.

He had asked an official from the ministry if ambassadors would be allowed to ask questions after the briefing and was told to wait for the minister.

However, Mr Dell walked out of the boardroom in a huff to the amazement of his colleagues.

His move was calculated to incite other ambassadors to boycott the briefing, which lasted about half an hour.

But ambassadors and representatives from other Western countries, including Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden, remained in attendance.

Cde Mumbengegwi proceeded with the briefing and warned the diplomats to desist from interfering in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs.

"As we all know, the relevant protocols governing diplomatic relations do not allow interference in the domestic affairs of the state to which you are accredited.

"These ambassadors should desist from their interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs. We will not tolerate any interference in our affairs," Cde Mumbengegwi said.

He said diplomats would not be allowed to continue to abuse Zimbabwe’s hospitality under diplomatic cover.

"Zimbabwe’s tolerance is being stretched to the limit. There is a limit to our tolerance. You must all scrupulously observe the relevant provisions of the Vienna Convention governing the conduct of diplomatic relations.

"Any failure to do so will leave us with no option but to invoke the relevant conventions so as to bring to an end any interference in our domestic affairs," he said.

Cde Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe is an independent and sovereign country, with a vibrant democracy, judiciary and police force that is committed to its constitutional duty of protecting its citizens by maintaining law and order.

"We, therefore, do not require any instructions or supervision from our former colonisers and their allies.

"Let me remind you again that Zimbabwe is a country whose independence did not come on a platter — we had to fight for it through a protracted armed struggle."

The minister pointed out that over 50 000 people lost their lives for Zimbabwe to be free and independent and, therefore, the country would always jealously guards its hard-won sovereignty and independence.

"Therefore, any attempts to recolonise the country and rule it by proxy will be unflinchingly resisted by all patriotic Zimbabweans. I would like to make it very clear that the Government of Zimbabwe will not hesitate to invoke the above provisions of the Vienna Convention should at any time in the future any ambassador or member of any embassy violate the provisions of the laws of Zimbabwe or interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe," Cde Mumbengegwi said.

He said it was Zimbabwe’s wish to maintain diplomatic relations with other countries in the world but ambassadors would have to play their part by following protocols, reciprocating and respecting the sovereignty of the country.

Cde Mumbengegwi said despite the mayhem caused by the two MDC factions led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara and National Constitutional Assembly chairman Dr Lovemore Madhuku and his followers, some Western diplomats had shown feverish support for the opposition leaders after their arrest in connection with the acts of violence.

"Ambassadors from eight Western countries visited the police stations where some MDC faction leaders were being held and frantically demanded to be given immediate access to the faction leaders.

"They also had the nerve to instruct the police to immediately release the MDC leaders and bring them before the courts," he said.

The minister also reminded the diplomats that they are supposed to follow diplomatic channels when carrying out their duties.

"Let me also repeat that all diplomats are required to make any request through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The morbid interest shown by some ambassadors, who thronged the Rotten Row Magistrates’ Courts where the instigators and perpetrators of violence were due to appear in court on March 13, suggested complicity," he said.

"There was also the spectacle where these same ambassadors were observed falling over each other in their frantic efforts to take food and water to the hospital ostensibly on humanitarian grounds. The hospital has food. Their families have food. Water is available. So one is compelled to ask: What ‘food’ and what ‘water’ were the whole ambassadors taking to the hospital?" Cde Mumbengegwi said.

He said these were clearly politically-motivated actions calculated to generate cheap propaganda on one hand, and tantamount to unwarranted political interference on the other.

"Let me remind you that not so long ago we had a national disaster here in Harare at a rail-road level crossing killing nearly 40 people and leaving many more in hospital. Let me now ask you: How many of these ambassadors or even their third secretaries took food and water to the hospital?

"The answer, as you all know, is none of them even thought of it.

"The complicity in the orgy of violence by these same ambassadors is that none of them has condemned this orchestrated violence by the MDC factions nor have they expressed any sympathy for the police officers who were brutally assaulted by MDC thugs as they exercised maximum restraint as they undertook their legal and constitutional responsibility to maintain law and order," Cde Mumbengegwi said.

Members of the force, he said, had sustained serious injuries and were battling for their lives in hospital but the ambassadors did not condemn the violence unleashed by the MDC.

"There has been no word of condemnation for these acts of terrorism. There has been no word of sympathy from these ambassadors nor have they offered them any food or water. Surely shouldn’t these self-appointed guardians of democracy, good governance and the rule of law be taking the lead in directing the MDC factions to pursue the democratic and lawful route to power?" said Cde Mumbengegwi.

Instead, he said, they chose to condone and support the MDC factions in planning and executing these acts of violence and lawlessness.

He disclosed that the Government had been aware since 2006 that the MDC was planning a campaign of violence and lawlessness as part of the opposition party’s scheme to destabilise the country and render it ungovernable.

The minister also said the MDC, through its so-called democratic resistance committees, whose sole objective is to attack law enforcement authorities, had been armed with an array of dangerous weapons as well as teargas for use in their war against law enforcement authorities and peace-loving citizens.

He said the MDC faction leaders had also shown their open disregard and defiance of the law by announcing that they would hold political rallies under the guise of prayer meetings.

The leaders had also sought to use the international media as a platform to make seditious pronouncements.

"The message was not clearly meant for their dwindling support here in Zimbabwe but for some of the Western capitals, who have long been openly calling upon the opposition to confront Government in the streets since they had failed to dislodge the ruling party from power by legal and constitutional means," he said.

Cde Mumbengegwi said contrary to the propaganda often peddled that Government was repressive and intolerant, no action had been taken against the MDC leaders for these subversive pronouncements.

The minister also said the MDC embarked on series of events building up to the orgy of violence which occurred on March 11.

It was planned and orchestrated to coincide with the current session of the Human Rights Council being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said despite Government allowing the opposition space to hold rallies, the MDC used the opportunity to incite its supporters to engage in public violence and defy the law in its bid to remove President Mugabe from power.

MDC supporters had looted shops, flea markets, and destroyed more than 29 private vehicles which they stoned and burnt, while nine commuter omnibuses had been burnt down since January to date.

In a related matter, Cde Mumbengegwi laughed off reports by the Botswana Press Agency, the official mouthpiece of the Botswana government, that parliamentarians in that country were calling for the temporary closure of their embassy in Harare "pending stabilisation of the economic and political arena" in Zimbabwe.

They said the closure of the embassy would send "a strong signal" that Botswana did not condone the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.

The MPs further claimed that Zimbabwe had become a liability to the Sadc region and now "epitomised an example of bad governance" and disregard for the rule of law.


West can’t preach human rights

By Reason Wafawarova

THE launch of the long-promised "defiance campaign" by the fractious MDC and its allies has, understandably, ignited debate on the political processes in Zimbabwe.

Whatever the merits or demerits of one’s argument, it has to start from the realisation that the opposition launched a defiance campaign aimed at toppling the Government.

What then ensues is debate centering on the wisdom and acceptability of the strategy adopted and favoured by the opposition as well as the tactics adopted and effected by the Government as represented by its police force.

There are few pertinent questions to be pursued in this debate and these questions are centred on law and politics. If one were to pursue questions related to law and maybe to establish the relevant chronology of such questions then there might be need to start with the idea of a "defiance" campaign. A defiance campaign is different from protest and this is very important if one wants to contextualise what is happening within the confines of legality both at municipal or international law.

Defiance by definition is "daring or antagonistic resistance to authority . . ." according to The Macquarie Dictionary and protest is defined as "an expression or declaration of objection or disapproval".

It is common knowledge that both Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai, as leaders of the two factions of the MDC, have openly declared an official position to preside over a "defiance campaign" and they have not ignored the illegality of such a campaign.

Mutambara was quoted as saying following the law would be akin to allowing the Government to tell the opposition how to conduct its struggle while Tsvangirai is on record saying the Public Order and Security Act was there "to be broken." In the context of defiance, the statements from these opposition leaders are in line but there is the question of the legal legitimacy of taking up such a position.

Needless to say, at municipal law, that is Zimbabwean domestic law, such a resolve is outlawed as plain rebellion if not treason. At international law, there is the problem of how to balance the doctrine of sovereignty and non-interference with individual human rights such as association, expression, affiliation and conscience. While the Bill of Rights provides for a protection of all these rights, domestic law tends to determine such things as the legality and acceptability of what one associates with, of what one expresses themselves about, of what one affiliates themselves with and what one subscribes their conscience to.

To this end these human rights tend to lose their absolute status and to assume a regulated form with what respective governments and people view as acceptable limitations.

Before taking any position on the legality and acceptability of what the opposition has done or has resolved to do, let us take a look at the State’s response.

Firstly, we are told there was a rally that turned violent when the opposition’s "Democratic Resistance Commit-tees" clashed with police and there are reports of casualties on the police side. The police responded by evoking a temporary ban on political rallies in specific areas of the capital. They used the powers bestowed on them by the supreme law of Zimbabwe, the national Constitution. The ban was ignored as the opposition vowed to defy it and proceed with its plans, with or without the permission or blessing of the police.

The opposition went ahead with the planned rallies, this time using some church leaders as a front.

The police moved in and deployed details to seal off the rally venue and some of the invited people turned up for the rally. An argument ensued between the police and the leaders of the opposition and the crowd got excited if not incited. The police rounded up the leadership and ferried it to a police station while leaving a smaller and weaker deployment behind. The crowd and the remaining police officers clashed and one person was shot dead while opposition supporters assaulted several police officers.

The crowd was in a confrontational mood and the police were perhaps in a retaliatory mood following the assaults. There were reports that the arrested were beaten in police custody while police maintain they only used the force necessary to effect arrest on those resisting arrest. Again we will not take a position on the legality and acceptability of the police action for now, but we will do that later.

Now, the assaults and the shooting were all taken within the context of a defiance campaign until news filtered that the alleged beatings of those arrested included one of the faction leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai. The US, Britain and New Zealand quickly issued statements condemning the alleged beatings; threats and ultimatums were also issued against the Government in general and President Mugabe in particular.

British premier, Tony Blair described the situation as "truly tragic" and the Government concurred only for the reasons that it was Tony Blair’s tragedy of losing the plot to topple a democratically elected government.

President Mugabe responded saying if the West was going to look the other way when the victims of political violence are perceived to be pro-Government and only cry foul for those from the opposition, then they (the West) could "go hang".

Now the political questions to be raised here would include the question of the West’s political interests in the affairs of Zimbabwe. Who is best placed to serve those interests?

The other question is the Government’s desire to safeguard its mandate and to protect the national interest. Interest accruing from the gains of the Second Chimurenga, which was a 14-year war of attrition against a conventional force powered by Ian Smith and the apartheid South Africa regime.

Zanu-PF sees in the West, an attempt by the erstwhile oppressor to return by proxy through the MDC which is distrusted by the larger rural populace that bore the brunt of the struggle. On the other hand, the West has resolved to topple President Mugabe for alleged bad governance.

Part of this includes the Govern-ment’s decision to compulsorily acquire farms from white commercial farmers for redistribution to landless black peasants.

The land reform programme saw the EU, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand slapping ruinous sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The Western interest in the MDC has not received the support of African governments. In fact, the MDC and its Western backers have openly expressed frustration with the African Union in general and South Africa in particular for what they perceive as their open support for the Government.

The same Western alliance was in Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s pursuing its ideological interests. It had a lot of bad things to say about the Vietnamese regime.

The alliance is in Iraq where it again talked itself "right" saying bad things about the Baath regime.

It also talked "right" about itself, vilifying the USSR, and got it all wrong when it declared the "end of history" after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.

It again said trash about China’s human rights record but again got it wrong, as it now needs China more than China needs it.

The point here is the Zimbabwean situation falls in the context of Western battles for imperial authority and supreme control of the world system.

The legitimacy of the opposition’s call for a defiance campaign is just as debatable as the Government’s use of force to thwart such defiance or rebellion. If the opposition at least pretended to be protesting, then it would have been easier to argue its case. Instead it vowed to defy the Government and try to unseat it through violence.

Whether the force used to quell the attempted insurrection was proportionate or not is debatable but as it stands the West’s biased support for the opposition, and the MDC’s vow to continue street violence will only legitimise any action the police might take against those involved in the campaign.

The Government says the opposition has no right to disobey the law and the opposition’s handlers from the West have no right to interfere in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state, while the opposition claims the laws it is meant to obey are repressive.

The question is; is it democratic for a group of people in a country that holds regular and periodic elections to adopt a strategy of using force in attempts to assume power unless there is consensus that the electoral system is undemocratic?

Is there such consensus among Zimbabweans, is there any in Sadc, is there any in the African Union and is there any in the United Nations?

Without taking any positions on what has just happened in recent days in Zimbabwe, one might just see the difference between talking it right on human rights and actually getting it right on internal contexts of conflicts, based on domestic politics, values, culture and historical factors.

This is where the West misses. It seems the West is driven by its own capitalist interests as evidenced by its silence on Pakistan were not less than six demonstrators, not sworn rebels, were shot down by police about the same time one Gift Tandare was gunned down in Highfield.

Such double standards make the implementation of law at international level very problematic.


Police investigate assault on MDC legislator Chamisa

Herald Reporter

THE local media was yesterday barred from taking pictures of MDC legislator for Kuwadzana Mr Nelson Chamisa, who was allegedly assaulted by thugs at the Harare International Airport on Sunday, but the Western Press was allowed.

Police have since instituted investigations into circumstances surrounding the alleged assault on Mr Chamisa — who is also the secretary for information and publicity in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction.

Police chief spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said they were keen to get more details about the incident.

Mr Chamisa was allegedly assaulted at the airport on his way to Brussels where he was scheduled to attend a session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

"Indications we have so far show that Mr Chamisa did not make a police report about the assault. However, as police we are carrying out investigations and we have sent our officers to the hospital to take photographs of him which we believe might assist us in our investigations," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.

He said the procedure was for a police report to be made, following which a medical report form, filled by a medical doctor detailing the nature and extent of the injury, would be issued and this would be used in police investigations.

The Herald could not visit the legislator at the Avenues Clinic as only a few close relatives were allowed to see him.

Mr Chamisa’s bodyguards also barred ZBC-News and New Ziana from taking pictures or interviewing the politician from his hospital bed.

However, the Western media was given access and splashed Mr Chamisa’s pictures on their websites and television screens.

Mr Chamisa, nonetheless, told The Herald in a telephone interview that unknown assailants assaulted him as he approached the departure enclosure, soon after he had disembarked from a vehicle.

He had not yet made check-in formalities.

"The people who assaulted me appeared to have actually been waiting for me at the airport," he said.

He, however, admitted that he did not make a police report, adding that in his view it did not make any difference "as some police officers were present when I was assaulted".

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