President Robert Mugabe and Chinese Leader Hu Jintao
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File
PARLIAMENT has withdrawn its participation at the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly scheduled for June 20 to 28 after the German Embassy in Harare inexplicably denied Zimbabwe’s head of delegation, Senator Forbes Magadu, a visa.
This comes barely a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made anti-Zimbabwe remarks.
The embassy denied entry visas to Sen Magadu and delegation secretary Dr Godfrey Chipare although they are not on the EU sanctions list.
Ironically, Zimbabwe is expected to feature prominently on the agenda of the joint parliamentary session and the move was tailored to ensure that the country has no strong representation.
In a statement yesterday, the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Austin Zvoma, said: "As a result of this unwarranted action by the German authorities and because Parliament of Zimbabwe can only be represented by a delegation of its own choice, it has been decided that Parliament will not be represented at these meetings.
"As Zimbabwe is expected to feature prominently on the agenda of the 13th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the context of the proposed urgent motion for a resolution on the situation in Zimbabwe, discussion on matters related to Zimbabwe should be suspended until such a time the Parliament of Zimbabwe is represented by a delegation of its own choice, in accordance with the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement."
Mr Zvoma said Zimbabwe strongly condemns the action by Germany as Sen Magadu had in the past successfully represented Zimbabwe.
"Parliament of Zimbabwe strongly condemns this arbitrary action by the German authorities meant to surreptitiously dictate the composition of its delegation to the 8th ACP Parliamentary Assembly and the 13th Session of the ACP-EU working relations," said Mr Zvoma.
Sen Magadu represents Chitungwiza while Dr Chipare is the Principal Director for External Affairs in the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
However, Chirumanzu-Kwekwe-Silobela Senator Clarissa Muchengeti (Zanu-PF) and Kuwadzana legislator Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC) were issued with visas.
Mr Zvoma said the refusal of visas was not in accordance with Protocol Two on Privileges and Immunities.
Considering that the officials were not on the sanctions list, it was evident that the German authorities were undermining the delegation’s effective participation, he said.
Mr Zvoma said the European country also violated ACP-EU working relations.
"Parliament of Zimbabwe categorically rejects attempts by the German authorities to dictate surreptitiously the composition of our delegation to the meetings. Consequently, all delegates are hereby advised that Parliament of Zimbabwe has decided not to send a delegation to these meetings," he said.
Mr Zvoma argued that Cde Magadu and Dr Chipare have attended Joint Parliamentary Assembly meetings in Brussels, Belgium, in March this year and there were no hustles in securing visas.
He said it was also agreed between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the ACP fact-finding mission in 2003 that the Parliament would avoid delegations consisting of members on the sanctions list.
Mr Zvoma said the Zimbabwean situation was expected to be topical at the 13th Africa Caribbean Pacific-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly but the meeting should suspend the matter until the country was allowed to send representatives of its choice.
Zimbabwe has been under attack from some European countries and the United States of America for embarking on the land reform programme in 2000. Thousands of indigenous Zimbabweans have been economically empowered by the agrarian reforms, which corrected a racially skewed land ownership pattern.
Gadaffi, Mugabe discuss federal govt for Africa
14 June 2007 12:21
Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi and visiting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe want African leaders to agree next month to unite Africa under one government to help it solve its own problems, state media said on Thursday.
The two men, both among the world's longest-serving leaders, agreed in talks in Tripoli on Wednesday that the 53-nation African Union (AU) should be turned into an embryonic federal government at an AU heads of state summit in Ghana on July 1 and 2.
"They consulted on the upcoming African Union summit due to be held in Ghana, and in relation to this they emphasised the establishment of the African Union government," Libya's official Jana news agency said.
"This plan embodies the hopes and ambitions of the continent's people, and the only means for the continent's independence, political and economic freedom and progress and development," it added.
Gadaffi has long favoured the establishment of a United States of Africa as a means of ridding the continent of 800-million people of what he calls Western colonialism.
The project attracts emotional support from some in Africa since the idea of a federal United States of Africa was first promoted by Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president and pioneer of Pan-Africanism, but many doubt its practicality.
The topic is due to be debated at the Ghana gathering, which will take place 50 years after Ghana became the first black nation in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence.
Jana said the two leaders also discussed a number of other issues but did not elaborate.
There was no mention of energy ties between Zimbabwe and oil-producing Libya.
Zimbabwe had received oil from Libya under a $360-million loan facility, which the Southern African country was meant to repay in part by supplying agricultural produce to Tripoli, but the deal collapsed in late 2002 after Harare failed to meet its obligations.
The facility, which covered 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs, had run for less than a year.
Zimbabwe is in the midst of an economic crisis that has produced the world's highest inflation rate of above 3 700%, unemployment of above 80% and chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency. -- Reuters
Allegations of coup plot in Zimbabwe
15 June 2007 12:37
A group of soldiers was in custody in Zimbabwe on charges of plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe and replace him with a Cabinet minister, a newspaper report claimed on Friday.
In sensational revelations, the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said it had obtained court papers containing the allegations.
The paper claims that six men, including a former army officer and at least two serving soldiers, were currently in custody, some of them since late May. They are being charged with treason, the Independent said.
The men are accused of plotting to overthrow the long-time Zimbabwean leader -- whose popularity many believe may be finally on the wane -- and replace him with Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, once a favourite of Mugabe.
The Independent says a former army officer spilled the beans on the alleged coup because he feared it would plunge Zimbabwe into chaos.
The army officer travelled to the Zimbabwean embassy in Paris to alert the authorities of the plot, providing them with a map and a list of those involved, the paper alleges.
Mnangagwa, who was shocked in 2004 to be pipped to the post of vice-president by former army commander's wife Joyce Mujuru, told the Independent he knew nothing about that.
"That is stupid. I don't know anything about that. I'm reading about it in the paper but there's nothing like that," he was quoted as saying.
There has been no official comment on the coup-plot allegations, which were also carried in a London-based weekly. The State Security Minister, Didymus Mutasa, has said he knows nothing about it.
But an activist from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Gilbert Kagodora, says he was seized by police in Harare as he spoke to a retired army officer.
Kagodora says he was held from May 29 to June 4, when he was beaten and accused of plotting to topple Mugabe's government by June 2.
Discontent is rising rapidly in Zimbabwe, where record inflation of more than 3 700% and deepening levels of poverty are making life unbearable for millions.
Unconfirmed reports say soldiers' anger at meagre pay packets has been rising too.
'Oblivious and blind'
Meanwhile, it was reported this week that country's main opposition leader said the Zimbabwe government's plan to change the Constitution ahead of 2008 elections undermines efforts to broker an end to political turmoil in the nation.
Mugabe's government has proposed a Bill that would pave the way for joint presidential and parliamentary polls next year and amend the rules for electing a new president should the post become vacant before an election.
The Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament in July.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the amendments were "pre-emptive and contemptuous" of South African President Thabo Mbeki's bid to bring the MDC and the ruling Zanu-PF to the bargaining table.
Mbeki took on the mediation role in March at the request of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which met at a summit to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"The message that Zanu-PF is sending out is loud and clear. It is oblivious and blind to the SADC negotiations," Tsvangirai told journalists in the capital, Harare. He noted that the MDC and the ruling party had not agreed on an agenda for the talks. -- Sapa-dpa, Reuters