Sunday, May 18, 2008

Zimbabwe Elections Update: Unite for Victory Says President Mugabe; Iran Reiterates Support; US Ambassador Summoned

Unite for victory: President

Herald Reporters

President Mugabe says Zanu-PF should gear itself for the presidential run-off and work hard for victory to repair the damage it suffered in the March 29 elections while deploring violence that has erupted in some parts of Zimbabwe as unacceptable.

"We have a crucial run-off ahead of us. We must use it to repair the damage and shortcomings which we suffered in the harmonised polls. The bitter rivalry of the party primaries must make way for unity of purpose. No bhora musango this time. All party members, whether defeated or triumphant in the party primaries or national elections, must work for the victory of the President.

"A party that forgives Ian Smith cannot fail to let bygones be bygones within its own house and membership. Whether you won or lost at whichever level of contest, today the hope of your future political career lies in Zanu-PF winning the Presidency. Let us go back to work," he said

The President was addressing the 73rd Ordinary Session of the Zanu-PF Central Committee at the ruling party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday.

The ruling party structures, he said, went to sleep resulting in the dismal performance on March 29 and the leadership should shoulder the blame.

"Let us go back to work fully mindful of the fact that except for one province, most of our provinces failed to mobilise even half of their registered voters to go to vote," he said.

"Most people stayed at home and that sleeping vote is what we must target and arouse. It is our vote. It is loyal to us and, in fact, stands already aroused by the sense of danger, which the party setback has shown. Let us galvanise it for an emphatic victory."

President Mugabe said the party entered the elections with lethargic structures.

"We went to the election completely unprepared, unorganised and this against an election-weary voter. Our structures went to sleep, were deep in slumber in circumstances of an all-out war.

"They (structures) were passive; they were lethargic, ponderous, divided, diverted, disinterested, demobilised or simply non-existent. It was terrible to see the structures of so embattled a ruling party so enervated.

"As leaders, we all share the blame: from the national level to that of the branch chairman. We played truant; we did not lead, we misled; we did not encourage, rather we discouraged; we did not unite, we divided; we did not inspire, we dispirited; we did not mobilise, we demobilised. Hence the dismal result we are landed with," he said.

Zanu-PF lost its House of Assembly majority for the first time since independence in 1980 but retained control of the Senate.

Cde Mugabe said the ruling party did not mobilise adequate resources for the polls.

"What is worse, it was pitted against an opposition backed by a hostile axis of powerful foreign governments with the strongest economies in the world. It was pitted against powerful global corporates who had decided to invest in the opposition in order to install a pliable client state sworn to promoting their commercial interests.

"On the ground, our sparse resources translated into onerous burdens on our candidates who had to finance their own campaigns, they had to find resources for campaign vehicles, campaign materials, campaign staff, food and all," he said.

He, however, paid tribute to the Zanu-PF candidates who are "of very humble means but with a deep love and commitment to their party. They did their utmost against insuperable challenges (but) we let them down".

President Mugabe said Zanu-PF went into the elections a
"bickering and divided party" and "dangerously operated at cross-purposes".

"What was amazing was that a party facing such formidable external enemies, a party which had upset such powerful interests, a party, therefore, whose very survival was under threat, could afford to bicker and indulge in internecine squabbles. We were either bravely mocking a horrible destiny or simply foolhardy. Either way, we were courting doom.

"It should have been clear, as it must now, that as Zanu-PF, our fate is one and inextricable, our fortunes, the very fortunes of this collectivity we call Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Zanu-PF is no Phoenix: that legendary Arabian bird said to set fire to itself before rising anew from its ashes!

"If we allow ourselves to go, we are gone. We have enough examples all around us to draw useful lessons on the fate and aftermath of strong liberation movements and their anti-imperialist governments once they are ousted."

President Mugabe said although ambition was encouraged, it has to be nurtured so that power-hungry individuals did not get an opportunity to destroy the party.

Cde Mugabe said Zanu-PF should be alive to its responsibilities as a liberation party.

"We rose united on the strength of a Patriotic Front which would push for total freedom and empowerment of our people. Our unity was, and remains, an instrument of consolidating our revolution so it is better able to deliver tangible gains to our expectant people," he said.

Cde Mugabe said the party rose on the strength of the programme of recovering the country’s stolen land and delivering it to the needy people.

"These are core principles, sacred goals which motivate us as a party. Our party is synonymous with the national question, as it has evolved over time, synonymous with the preservation and defence of the national interest.

"And hence the concentrated attack on us by forces seeking to recolonise our nation. They know where the defence of our revolution lies; they know who the consistent cadres of the revolution are," he said.

He said this was evident through post-election events that saw white farmers coming back to stake a claim on the land which had been liberated when they brazenly walked back to confront newly resettled A1 and A2 farmers.

"They felt buoyed by what appeared to be a Zanu-PF defeat which they mistake for an MDC victory. They had worked so hard for such an outcome, and had managed to reconnect with their erstwhile employees on the farms, to mobilise them into supporting the MDC.

"It is clear, as it has always been, that a Zanu-PF defeat is a victory for the Rhodesian settler, never of the MDC which is just a mere instrument for disguising their overriding interest. It is a victory for the British and Americans who arch over their kith and kin here, themselves the beachhead of Western imperialism.

"The fall of Zanu-PF, therefore, is the fall of Zimbabwe as a sovereign nation, indeed the displacement of our people’s interests by those of imperialism. We have to be alive to our responsibilities as leaders of a party of liberation."

President Mugabe said although succession in the party was a fact of life, it should never be taken to be a succession by former colonial powers.

"Succession is a fact of biology, of life. No one individual governs forever. I have to be succeeded. But we should never mistake the succession of individuals with the succession of Zanu-PF by the Rhodesian Front, however disguised. Zanu-PF cannot be succeeded by a Rhodesian opposition. Zimbabwe cannot be succeeded by Rhodesia."

He said Zanu-PF was supreme, lives forever and this means its cause must always triumph and carry the day.

"In an environment of defeat, there can never be succession. Our party must reclaim its glory so its leaders can hand over the revolution to new hands who must assure continuity of the party. Our people come first please."

President Mugabe paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for standing firm and resolute in the face of attempts to overrun it when it was not ready to announce correct results of the elections.

"Our electoral process must remain solely accountable to the Zimbabwean people who rightfully vote and who are fated to live with and submit to the Government that emerges from the exercise of their vote.

"The result is theirs and must satisfy them beyond any doubts and suspicion. And, as it turned out, Zimbabweans preferred an accurate result to one rigged by foreign-inspired haste and false timetables. Once that result came, not even the opposition or their sponsors could challenge it. That is Zimbabwe; that is us," he said.

Cde Mugabe said the elections strengthened the country’s democracy, built enduring institutions for it while there were also a crucial crucible for it.

"I happily announce that it emerged intact, solid and strengthened. We handled the whole poll on our own. We set the ground rules for it ourselves. We financed it ourselves. We managed it ourselves."

He said the process, however, revealed serious weaknesses, vulnerabilities and loopholes that have to be addressed.

"I believe this is happening so that irregularities — real or suspected — will not delay future polls, including the impending run-off. We do not believe that the integrity of our ballot is assured by foreigners. We believe it is assured by satisfied contesting parties and satisfied voters for whose support the parties arise in the first place.

"The West must never expect us to fulfil their stereotype of an inherently corrupt African ballot, only redeemed by foundations and institutions from Europe and America. Not here please; we are Zimbabweans," he said.

President Mugabe expressed concern over reports of violence received from some parts of the country.

"Such violence is needless and must stop forthwith. Our fist is against white imperialism; it is a fist for the people of Zimbabwe, never a fist against them.

"Support comes from persuasion, not from pugilism. Let us build genuine support for the party and such support cannot come through coercion or violence."

He warned the MDC and its white supporters who are perpetrating violence in the rural areas.

"We have disturbing evidence of motorised gangs trained and equipped by the MDC, and of returning white commercial farmers who have been visiting terror on villages and party supporters. They have targeted resettled farmers, in the process triggering anew the land question.

"Expensive equipment bought and distributed by Government through the central bank has been burnt. Granaries have been gutted by fire in naked cases of arson. Such acts of banditry must stop forthwith. The MDC and its supporters are playing a dangerous game.

"They should know they cannot win that kind of war which they have carried to rural constituencies in the hope of destabilising our supporters. We need peace and freedom everywhere in our country. They (the MDC) should take heed."

President Mugabe said Government would continue to import grain to offset the disastrous harvest that visited the country.

"We fend for all our people, regardless of political affiliation. Food must reach all families who need it. That has been our philosophy. We do not discriminate. We should never discriminate. When it comes to food, everyone is a citizen whose needs must be met by Government," he said.

Govt summons, warns US ambassador McGee

Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT on Wednesday summoned United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee and warned him over his involvement in the country’s domestic affairs.

Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi confirmed this at a Press briefing in Harare yesterday.

"The US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 14, 2008.

"Ambassador McGee was dressed down on the following sequence of events which constituted violations of Diplomatic Protocols and Procedures," he said.

Cde Mumbengegwi said McGee wrote a letter to the Press on May 12, 2008 making unsubstantiated allegations clearly in support of MDC-T.

"This was clear interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs and in violation of the protocols governing diplomatic relations between states."

Cde Mumbengegwi said on May 13, 2008, McGee travelled beyond 40km from Harare without making prior arrangements with his ministry.

McGee’s actions violated Zimbabwe’s rules and regulations which require that diplomats travelling beyond a 40km radius should make prior arrangements with the ministry.

"The ambassador made politically charged and inflammatory remarks when he visited the Avenues Clinic on 9th May 2008. This again constituted interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs," added Cde Mumbengegwi.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought to the attention of Ambassador McGee that he had not only failed to respect the laws and regulations of Zimbabwe, but had also blatantly interfered in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe."

He said McGee’s actions were in total contravention of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Vienna Convention reads: "Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of the persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. They have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state."

Cde Mumbengegwi said the summoning constituted the first warning to the US ambassador that Government would not tolerate any interference in the country’s internal affairs.

"The Government of Zimbabwe will not hesitate to invoke the relevant provisions of the conventions and protocols which govern the conduct of diplomatic relations between states," he said.

Asked what course of action Government would take if McGee persists with his actions, Cde Mumbengegwi said it would depend entirely on "what happens next".

He said other ambassadors who have also committed such acts would be duly warned.

"All diplomats and all ambassadors are fully aware of the provisions of these protocols and conventions. They will also be warned."

Iran reiterates support for Zimbabwe

Herald Reporter

IRAN has reiterated its support for Zimbabwe and is exploring new avenues in which the two countries can work together to further strengthen their relations.

In an interview yesterday, head of the cultural section of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr Mahommad Hassan Ipkachi, said Zimbabwe was one of the strongest allies of Iran and his country was keen to support more developmental projects in the country.

He said the reason why the two countries were put under sanctions was because they wanted their rights and nothing else hence the countries should work together to overcome the sanctions.

"Zimbabwe and Iran have a lot in common as both are under Western imposed economic sanctions so there is a need for the two countries to work together so that they can overcome the sanctions.

"Supporting oppressed countries such as Zimbabwe is one of Iran’s slogans after our revolution. Days after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, President Robert Mugabe sent a delegation that was led by the late former Vice President Cde Simon Muzenda to meet the country’s religious leader Mr Ayatollah Khomeini," he said.

The meeting, he said, meant that Iran was looking a lot into the relations of the two countries that he said continued to grow from strength to strength.

Mr Ipkachi said the two countries had the capacity to learn each other’s culture through cultural exchange programmes, adding that the Iranian embassy in Zimbabwe made a documentary dubbed "Here is Africa" which also showcased Zimbabwe’s culture and was shown on that country’s national television.

He said after the ZBC digitalisation an Iranian company was ready to digitalise Bulawayo Montrose Studios and a proposal had been sent to the Zimbabwe Government for approval.

Turning to the celebrations of the invasion of Palestine by Israel, Mr Ipkachi said there was nothing to celebrate.

"Due to the Islamic ideology, we observe the killing of martyrdom Moslems in any place of the world. We denounce the killing of innocent people in Palestine by the Israeli regime.

"Israel established an illegal government and it is important for all the people of the world to condemn Israel for the defeat of human rights in Palestine. May 14 is a very bad day for the Palestinian people. It is the year of al-nakba," he said.

He said just after Israel’s invasion of Palestine, the Islamic Republic of Iran closed the Israel embassy in their country and gave it to the Palestine Liberation Movement.

No comments: