Saturday, March 07, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: VP Mujuru Says Nation Should Be Given Chance; Obama-Bush, Two Sides of Same Coin

Zim should be given chance: VP Mujuru

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE should be offered an opportunity to prove itself to the world that its people can work together for national development after the spirited media onslaught by the west that damaged its image, Vice President Joice Mujuru has said.

Speaking at a meeting with visiting president of the World Travel Group Mr Graham Cooke and his delegation at her Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday, VP Mujuru said the world should also give the newly formed inclusive Government an opportunity to succeed for the good of the country.

"The way the country has been portrayed is not true. We might have done things which might seem peculiar to Zimbabwe but what we have gone through has happened in some other countries across the world.

"We know the perception the world has on Zimbabwe but we want the inclusive Government to succeed. The people are tired of being given a wrong title.

"Enough is enough! We should let it work. We would want the inclusive Government to move on while we correct its shortcomings as we move on," she said.

VP Mujuru paid tribute to the group for taking an opportunity to visit Zimbabwe and help the country market its tourism.

"You have come at a time when we need you the most. A time when we need the world to know a true picture of Zimbabwe. We are a sociable society and the way Zimbabwe is portrayed is not true," she said.

VP Mujuru said although Zimbabwe has gone through a "black spot" it was not different from what has happened in other countries.

"The World should lend us an ear, listen and give us a chance to tell the true picture of our country and then comment on the country," she said.

VP Mujuru, who is also the patron of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, said Government was aware of the world’s perception on Zimbabwe and would appreciate all the help it can get from friendly organisations to fight the bad publicity.

She also pledged her support to the project to be run by ZTA and the travel group.

Mr Cooke, who was accompanied by the group’s senior vice president Mr David Falcon, said Zimbabwe has the potential to be among the best tourist destinations in the world.

"There is, however, need to improve connectivity so that we fight the falsehoods being peddled about the country on blogs.

"If you (Government) can set the bar high you can get the country on top. Zimbabwe has the resources to be on top of the world," he said.

Mr Cooke said his organisation would work with Zimbabwe for free.

"We are visiting the country at no cost from Government and we would continue to do so until we have achieved something then you could at least give us something," he said.

Mr Cooke said the bad publicity that Zimbabwe has endured could be put to the country’s advantage as it has given the country a starting block.

"Zimbabwe has a starting block to put its name on the market. The world is fascinated by this country and that should be used to its advantage," he said.

Zimbabwe, Mr Cooke said, needs an iconic statement for its tourism and the group would start with the Magnificent Seven project that would market the crocodile and hippopotamus together with the Big Five.

The Big Five include the lion, cheetah, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo.

Mr Falcon, who confessed to have had doubts about visiting Zimbabwe said the country was a very safe destiny.

"I have never felt so safe in a country. Zimbabwe is a very safe country, I feel immensely comfortable with the people in this country from the staff at the hotel and all the people we have met in Harare," he said.

According to the Ten Point agenda between Government the World Tourism Group, the project would establish a national website, improve Internet connectivity, promote Zimbabwe through the World Mobi programme run by the group, promote the Big Seven Project and take advantage of the Confederation Cup and FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The programme would also market Harare as the capital of business tourism in Southern Africa, promote opportunities in tourism and related sectors, establish ambassadorial programme and market Zimbabwe during the Miss World at the end of the year.

The project will also seek to bring about 300 journalists that would be covering the Confederation Cup set for South Africa in June this year.

There are also plans to bring two of the teams participating in the tournament for a friendly match whose proceeds would be channelled towards the fight against cholera.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office Minister Sylvester Nguni, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Walter Mzembi and ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke.

Obama, Bush: Two sides of the same coin

By Isdore Guvamombe

UNITED States President Barack Obama has extended by another year illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe despite the country’s new inclusive Government and the demand by the entire African continent to have the sanctions lifted.

It is extremely evil, dictatorial and an abortion of justice for Obama to want to keep sanctions on Zimbabwe when Zimbabweans themselves have agreed on a political settlement.

It is laughable that Obama is behaving like an outsider mourning more than the bereaved.

Obama and his cronies should know that it is sacrosanct to respect the people of Zimbabwe in their broad totality and to respect them for their unity of purpose.

Sadly, Obama who came into power on January 20 and has been widely hailed by many as someone who would usher a new political dispensation that could improve mighty America’s bullish and brutal image, is now slowly slipping into former president George W. Bush’s shoes.

Ironically, Obama claims that some people in the Government of Zimbabwe were continuing to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes.

But Obama has become so myopic and his mind clouded with power too early that he does not want to give the inclusive Government a chance.

Who is interfering with Zimbabwe’s democratic processes then?

Obama’s problem is that he has kept diehard remnants of the Bush administration in strategic offices like the embassy in Harare who are still pushing the old agenda.

If Zimbabweans, through the facilitation of Sadc, have agreed on a path they believe will drive their country to prosperity, who is Obama to lecture to them about democracy?

That the White House issued the notice to extend the sanctions last Wednesday, the same day that Zimbabwe’s former opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for the lifting of sanctions might be coincidence.

But the fact is that it is an outright wrong to seek to prolong the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.

It is clear that the political deal between veteran President Robert Mugabe and the two MDC leaders Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara has shattered the hopes of many political devils who wish to prolong the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.

It is now evident that the United States wants Zimbabwe to remain exposed to the cruel politicised NGOs and vampire nations in the European Union who — like vultures looking for prey — have over the decade hovered above Zimbabwe’s political space, chopping, munching and chewing up the humanity of the country’s people, all to line their pockets.

Everyone who sang the song of no rule of law, human rights abuses and Mugabe must go, ended up driving a huge vehicle and stashing foreign currency under his pillow.

The people of Zimbabwe got nothing.

The very few lucky ones got crumbs when their names were used as pawns in a game of perceived human rights abuses, for amassing wealth for other people.

Those who sang about sovereignty and defending the revolution were placed under travel bans.

Their companies were placed under sanctions.

The future of the children of Zimbabwe looked gloom and doomed.

Today it is prudent for sanctions to be removed to allow Zimbabweans to work together for the prosperity of the country.

If America, Britain and their allies are the true democrats they claim to be to the whole world, they should show their respect for Africans by accepting an African solution to an African political scenario.

If Britain, America and their friends are the masters of good governance and accountability, they should account and govern the unconditional removal of sanctions.

Keeping the sanctions in place for whatever reason is extremely evil.

It is a death wish for Zimbabweans and should be seen as a way of condemning innocent Zimbabweans to death. Sanctions should be condemned.

It is fact, not fiction that the British, Americans and their allies should not judge the progress or effectiveness of the inclusive Government unless they remove sanctions and allow the political parties to manouvre freely.

Keeping sanctions and expecting the inclusive Government to function properly is expecting too much.

It is evil.

Sadc, the African Union, Russia, and China among others have always insisted that the sanctions should be removed and those who imposed the sanctions should show their genuineness by removing them.

Zimbabweans should be given the chance to rebuild their country without strings attached.

Only until the sanctions have been removed can anyone judge whether the inclusive Government is effective.

After years of polarisation, swelling emotions, hunger and teething economic hardships, Zimbabweans need a rest and deserve the best from the unity of purpose from their political parties.

It had became common practice for people with little or no knowledge of Zimbabwe to form NGOs and cash in on the crisis while Zimbabweans themselves reeled under hunger and an multifarious array of foreign-orchestrated problems that threatened their real existence.

Gullible pseudo-democrats and human rights activists in Europe and the United States lost millions of dollars championing causes they really never understood.

With sanctions still effective, it will be difficult to measure the level of success of the inclusive Government and it will be difficult for the three political formations to trust each other. Trust is important as the three political formations find each other on the radar of Zimbabwe’s socio-political spectrum.

The sanctions, whichever name they were given — targeted or otherwise — destroy the essence of the existence of the Zimbabwean people regardless of whether they are Zanu-PF, MDC-T or MDC.

Sanctions are a disaster to every Zimbabwean.

The resultant blame game will have consequences too ghastly to contemplate for Zimbabwe.

The people of Zimbabwe are peace-loving and hardworking that without strings attached the country will soon prosper and return to its breadbasket status.

There is now need for a paradigm shift on the thinking and attitude of the international community that should cultivate a culture of knowing that what is good for Zimbabwe might not necessarily be good for Britain in particular and Europe and America in general.

Sadc leaders have proved to world that they are thinkers, masters and shapers of the region’s political destination, despite limited resources.

The Zimbabwean situation exploded and polarised not only Zimbabweans but Africa and world.

Love him or hate him, President Mugabe has proved to the world that he has the political intelligence, maturity, composure and national interest at heart.

This is why he agreed to sit down and negotiate with his political opponent.

Like him or hate him, Prime Minister Tsvangirai has demonstrated his willingness to work with the veteran nationalist President and fiery revolutionary fighter that Cde Mugabe is.

The problem we have is that the Obama administration has not removed the remnants of the Bush administration in Harare and elsewhere so much that it will take time to have them change their attitude and advise their capital correctly.

The problem is that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his team still do not believe that the Zimbabwean politicians finally agreed to a political settlement arrived at without their involvement.

It is this judgmental attitude that Africa cannot do anything good without the help of Europe that has become the biggest stumbling block in world politics.

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