Monday, June 22, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Vice-President Mujuru to Represent Nation During G-192 Summit At United Nations

Mujuru leaves for UN summit

Herald Reporter

VICE President Joice Mujuru left the country yesterday for New York where she will attend the United Nations summit of world leaders on the global financial and economic crisis and its impact on development.

The conference runs from Wednesday to Friday this week.

She was accompanied by senior officials from the Ministries of Economic Development and Finance.

President Mugabe delegated Vice President Mujuru to attend the summit.

In an interview at the Harare International Airport before she left, Vice President Mujuru said the conference presented the right forum for interaction between the first and third world countries on how to address the global economic downturn.

"This is a meeting of Heads of State of Third and First World countries on the economic crisis (the current world recession). It is an occasion where the third and first world countries meet to discuss how to sort out economic problems," she said.

Vice President Mujuru said Third World countries had not been afforded the opportunity to meet and assess the effects of the global economic recession under the auspices of the UN. She said Zimbabwe required world support in accessing lines of credit to fund various sectors and ensure a successful economic turnaround programme.

Vice President Mujuru however, noted that the summit was not on Zimbabwe. The conference is expected to examine the roles of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the current global economic environment and the issue of conditional aid on developing countries.

Some powerful countries like the United States, Britain, Germany and France recently vowed not to give Zimbabwe any financial aid or lift the economic sanctions they have imposed on Harare citing unfinished issues under the Global Political Agreement.

President a hero — Mutambara

By Takunda Maodza

ACTING Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has described President Mugabe as a hero while challenging the nation to appreciate the sacrifices made by their fellow Zimbabweans to liberate the nation.

Addressing delegates at a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce-organised seminar in Harare recently, the Acting PM said there was need to make documentaries of heroes like General Josiah Tongagara, assassinated former Zanu chairman Cde Herbert Chitepo and President Mugabe.

"Where is the documentary on Tongogara, on Chitepo on (President) Mugabe? These are our heroes. Zimbabweans should celebrate their heroes," he said.

"I was asking President Mugabe, where is your biography? When are you finishing your book? What is wrong with you?"

Acting PM Mutambara assured delegates at the seminar that though the inclusive Government had its difficulties, it was working hard to address them.

"We have challenges. We are trying our best. There are areas where we have disagreements. We have been very slow in achieving political hygiene matters. We are also realising that this inclusive Government is the only show in town," he added.

Acting PM Mutambara reiterated that there was no other option to the current interim political arrangement in Zimbabwe.

"The alternative is too ghastly to contemplate," he said.

Business leaders attending the seminar told the Acting PM they were ready "to run but politics is not ready", and asked for assurances from him that the inclusive Government was working as a team.

They also called for the enactment of policies tailored to protect local industries from foreign companies selling their goods on the local market at very low prices. But the Acting PM said business should not to be crybabies and must rise to the occasion as globalisation had destroyed geographical boundaries.

However, he said Government would provide an enabling environment for companies to do business competitively.

He also challenged farmers to attract private investment, saying subsidisation in agriculture "should be a bonus".

Come home, PM tells Diasporans

AFP-Herald Reporter.

LONDON--Zimbabweans living in Britain booed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during a speech in London on Saturday ahead of his meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today.

PM Tsvangirai was jeered when he told a stormy audience of 1 000 people in Southwark Cathedral that "Zimbabweans must come home" to rebuild the economy.

Failing to make himself heard above the boos, PM Tsvangirai left the pulpit for two minutes before returning to face questions.

He said: "I did not say ‘pack your bags tomorrow’, I said ‘you should now start thinking about coming home’."

Boos also rang out when he insisted that the four-month-old inclusive Government, made up of Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations, had "made sure that there is peace and stability in Zimbabwe".

Some of the Zimbabwean exiles living in Britain and other parts of Europe and the United States are failed individuals who sold houses and household property to buy air tickets to go and do menial jobs.

Others have faked persecution at home to get political asylum.

In a question-and-answer session, some exiles asked PM Tsvangirai what the Government was doing to help Zimbabweans who had been "traumatised" by violence.

He replied: "If there is anyone who has been traumatised, it is me."

After briefly answering several more questions, a shaken-looking PM Tsvangirai was ushered away by his bodyguards amid a fresh hail of boos.

One exile in the crowd, Alex Chigumira (42), who left Zimbabwe eight years ago, said: "He is unrealistic."

In an interview on Saturday with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, PM Tsvangirai said he had an "extraordinary" working relationship with President Mugabe.

PM Tsvangirai insisted that the President was "an indispensable, irreplaceable part of the transition".

"It is a workable relationship, surprisingly. Yes, I am actually surprised. Who would have thought that sworn opponents like us could sit down and talk about what’s good for Zimbabwe? It’s an extraordinary experience," he said.

London is PM Tsvangirai’s final stop on a tour of Europe and the US to ask for the removing of economic sanctions and seek financial aid to revive the economy.

The Prime Minister was tasked by President Mugabe and Cabinet to go on the tour, but European Union countries and the US have refused to either lift the sanctions or offer any meaningful economic aid to Zimbabwe.

Britain has said it will support the inclusive Government but that it will not lift the sanctions.

As part of the drive, PM Tsvangirai met British ministers and business leaders earlier on Saturday, including Virgin chief Richard Branson and executives from Arup, Anglo American and Diageo.

"Zimbabwe is at a critical turning point and needs the support of the global community," Branson said.

"There is a lot business can do to help bring humanitarian support and inspire investment . . . rather than watching it (Zimbabwe) descend into a humanitarian crisis."

Despite maintaining the sanctions, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Zimbabwe was "in desperate need of investment and economic development. The British government, and British business, are ready to do what we can to help".

PM Tsvangirai is expected to hold talks with his British counterpart Brown today. — AFP-Herald Reporter.

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