Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Zimbabwe Update: Editorial Supporting President Mugabe; MDC's Cheap Stunts; West Targets ZANU-PF

Confirm President as candidate for 2008 polls

Reprinted From the Zimbabwe Herald

EDITOR — The announcement by President Mugabe that he will stand in the next presidential election if Zanu-PF nominates him was good news to real party cadres and the country at large, and, of course, a knockout blow to Morgan Tsvangirai and other neocolonial appendages.

President Mugabe is the only leader within Zanu-PF who has national appeal and can floor the opposition anytime.

In the wake of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration, the myopic formed alliances along tribal and regional lines were threatening unity within the party, hence the talk of factions within Zanu-PF.

Given this scenario, it is prudent for Gushungo to carry on and choose his successor after winning the elections. It is too important a decision to be left to provincial leaders.

By the way, the President has not said he is going to run in 2008 but that he would do so if nominated by the party.

Time has now come for all genuine party cadres to stand up and be counted. We must put the interest of the party above selfish needs.

Some of the aspirants do not have what it takes to comprehensively floor the Western-backed Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai knows it, which is why when he thought Gushungo was not standing, he wanted early elections.

To him, President Mugabe was already out of the picture.

Hatimupeyi shumba yake chaiyo Gushungo (Let’s give him his nemesis Gushungo).

We pray that those mandated to choose a presidential candidate for the party would use their power wisely and choose Gushungo so that he can give Tsvangirai and his neocolonial backers chematsenganzungu (a felling blow) once and for all.

Through Gushungo’s candidature, we will have guaranteed peace and security. The uncertainties as to when elections were going to be held had seen some organisations with hideous agendas employing dirty tactics in attempts to soil the image of the party and Government.

Now that the elections are going to be held in 2008 as per the opposition’s wish, Tsvangirai and company must call off the violence and start campaigning in a peaceful manner.

Party cadres must quickly confirm Gushungo as the candidate for 2008.

At the same time we urge the President to intervene and call off the ban on rallies. We must give a fool a rope long enough to hang himself.

We want everyone to hear Tsvangirai calling for the violent ouster of a democratically elected government. Let us hear him say his rubbish on television for everyone to see.

What else can he say besides "Mugabe must go"?

Mwana Wevhu.

MDC’s civil disobedience tactics cheap publicity stunt

By Obi Egbuna
Pan-African Liberation Organization

While the latest demonstrations in Zimbabwe led by MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai have achieved absolutely nothing, on the other hand they exposed a lot.

The obvious thing is that the MDC was responding to pressure from Britain and the United States to destabilise Zimbabwe because their masters have invested a lot of time and money in the opposition over the past eight years only to realise that they have failed to unseat the Government.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s legacy in relation to the African continent will mainly be defined by whether or not he was able to force an illegal racist regime change in Zimbabwe, and his sidekick, United States President George W. Bush, is looking for any victory on foreign policy to shift focus away from the Iraq debacle.

President Mugabe’s two-word response — "Go hang" — to Western critics of his Government demonstrates to Africans worldwide that we at least have one head of state in Africa that does not toss and turn in bed all night worrying about validation by the imperialist powers.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell has three main issues on his plate before Bush makes his exit from office.

Firstly, he must do everything to make sure Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara reunite the MDC at all costs. Secondly, he will be corresponding with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to exaggerate political violence in Zimbabwe and blame it all on Zanu-PF.

Lastly, he will be working with the International Crisis Group to articulate why the Bush administration is justified in increasing sanctions on Zimbabwe. But Zimbabweans will not be fooled by Tsvangirai and MDC’s so-called Save Zimbabwe Campaign and are too busy with their bread and butter issues.

Thanks to his willingness to be the scapegoat Bush and Blair need to have on the ground in order to convince the entire world that by imposing sanctions they are responding to the wishes of the people.

Tsvangirai and the MDC are too brainwashed to understand that using civil disobedience tactics when you are financed by the two most violent warmongers on the planet is at best a cheap publicity stunt.

How dare a neocolonialist operation like the MDC try to use positive action as a strategy only a few days after the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana’s independence! This is an attempt by Tsvangirai to politically reinvent himself before Bush and Blair leave office.

If he and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ Wellington Chibebe fail at provoking confrontations with the police, even the Voice of America and BBC might ignore them. Besides, Trudy Stevenson, an MDC Member of Parliament, was severely beaten up by her own membership last year and also another MDC MP David Coltart publicly exposed that youth members in the MDC were planning to kill their director of security Peter Guhu a couple of years ago.

This led to the spokesmen of both factions — Nelson Chamisa (for Tsvangirai) and Gabriel Chaibva (for Mutambara) — openly debating which faction was more violent. This means African organisations in the Diaspora should really do their homework and resist the temptation of grabbing a few headlines which they are guaranteed to receive if they blame President Mugabe and Zanu-PF for all political violence in Zimbabwe.

Before his resignation from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People as their president and CEO a few weeks ago, Bruce Gordon sent President Mugabe a letter expressing their concern over alleged police brutality against demonstrators, and, more recently, the executive director of Trans Africa Forum Nicole Lee emphasised the responsibility that Zimbabwe’s Government had to protect the basic human rights of its citizens.

These remarks have serious political implications.

For starters, if they only issue public statements when the MDC and other opposition groups in their opinion are on the receiving end of violence in Zimbabwe, it means they are aligned with them politically or are strongly considering moving in that direction; and, most importantly, they have learned nothing from those who callously validated Mangosuthu Buthelezi in South Africa and Jonas Savimbi in Angola many years ago.

The propaganda war being waged by the US and its European Union cohorts against Zimbabwe has forced Africans to arrive at one conclusion: Any organisation in our community which hasn’t spoken out about the sanctions against Zimbabwe can keep their opinions to themselves. The concept of criticism is a dialectical exercise and some of us have become so intoxicated by our own critiques that we abandon the responsibility to defend a government and people who expect and deserve our solidarity as opposed to excuses to justify abandonment.

The MDC is not a balloon but is definitely full of hot air and Tsvangirai has taken false promises to new unprecedented heights. Last year he promised his British and US sponsors a cold winter of discontent.

When that failed, he then went to the United Kingdom and held a Press conference with Labour MP Kate Hoey urging United Nations intervention in Zimbabwe, only to see former Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorse President Mugabe’s recommendation for former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to mediate between Britain and Zimbabwe.

The opposition paper called the Zimbabwean leaked a story last year that Tsvangirai was scheduled to be meeting with Botswana’s President Festus Mogae which was to give the appearance he represented legitimate opposition in Zimbabwe, only to see Mogae open the Harare Agricultural Show last August and sign a new agreement of co-operation between the two governments reaffirm his support for the land reclamation programme in Zimbabwe and praise Zimbabwe for being its second biggest trade partner next to South Africa.

At the beginning of the year, the Financial Gazette had an article entitled "Tsvangirai talks tough" in a rare occasion an opposition paper indirectly suggested he had more bark than bite.

Tsvangirai and the MDC also seek to exploit the religious and spiritual tradition of his people to revive his dying support. Why else would these demonstrations attempt to incorporate a prayer?

Why has Tsvangirai never rescheduled the meeting with the church leaders in Zimbabwe that were cancelled due to his father’s death, where the topic of discussion was supposed to be an appeal for him to stop calling for the West to intensify the sanctions against his own people?

Even though Tsvangirai’s speeches and political thoughts lack substance and any real vision, his strength is in disguising himself.

During his time in the ZCTU, he tried to convince forces outside Zimbabwe like the AFL-CIO, Congress of Black Trade Unionists and the US Deputy Assistant of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Jeffrey Krila that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF were out of touch with the working class and only he was in touch with their aspirations.

With the help of imperialist Press he is presently doing his absolute best to reappear as the Dalai Lama in Tibet, which is almost as amusing as when Savimbi wore fatigues to give the public appearance Unita was a guerilla movement and not a CIA-trained and financed group of mercenaries and assassins. The African community in the Diaspora has to make a distinction between examples of military repression and violence and vigilant efforts to defend sovereignty.

The coups and assassinations that imperialist forces have orchestrated in every corner of the planet speak volumes because actions do speak louder than words. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah’s government in Ghana and 2008 will mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Maurice Bishop in Grenada.

The premature statements some of our organisations have been writing about Zimbabwe make you wonder: After all of these years, what have we truly learned? Under the guise of civil disobedience, Tsvangirai is seeking total anarchy and confusion. After the outcome of parliamentary elections in 2005, the MDC called for power outages countrywide as a way to show dissatisfaction with the results.

The publicity that Tsvangirai and the MDC receive is contingent on how much chaos their demonstrations can stir up. This is what the Blair and Bush administrations expect and demand of them.

The MDC will learn the hard way that in Zimbabwe, the people don’t accept civilian neocolonialism and an alternative to military neocolonialism. While he is not shooting people in cold blood like his political twin Savimbi, the blood of every Zimbabwean who dies or starves courtesy of sanctions is on their hands.

President Mugabe is known and respected worldwide for his defiance and strategic brilliance, therefore if he and Zanu-PF arrive at the conclusion that the MDC is threatening the national security of Zimbabwe, anything short of giving them unconditional support is compromising the future of the nation.


By Sophie Walker

LONDON (Reuters) - Western powers vowed on Tuesday to keep up pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe despite threats to expel their diplomats if they continue to criticise his government.

Both Britain and the United States have called for more sanctions against Mugabe's government because of what they say was a violent crackdown on opposition leaders and the severe economic crisis they blame on state mismanagement.

Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi on Monday warned Western envoys in Harare the government would not hesitate to expel those who backed opposition politics.

"Such threats will not deter the UK from speaking out against the continued misgovernance and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe," a British Foreign Office official told Reuters.

Zimbabwe officials have not said which countries could be targeted for expulsion but they are thought to include Britain, the United States, Australia and Sweden.

Mugabe last week told his Western critics "to go hang" and ordered Mumbengegwi to "read the riot act" to Western envoys.

Police arrested main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and 49 others on March 11, accusing them of holding an illegal rally. Tsvangirai and several others were later hospitalised -- they said they had been beaten and tortured in custody.

"With the international community, we are pressing (Mugabe) to reverse course and end human rights abuses and political violence," said Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.


The European Union recently renewed a range of sanctions including an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and other government officials. Western governments, including the 27-nation EU, deny they are meddling in Zimbabwean politics.

"We do not want to participate directly in the debate, but we want all Zimbabweans to participate," European Commission aid spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said.

The EU's executive has allocated nearly 3 million euros (2 million pounds) for ongoing projects in Zimbabwe which support local democracy, human rights defenders and media monitoring.

"We do not support the opposition as such but (help) so that the opposition and the civil society can express themselves freely," Altafaj said. "If this is interpreted by the government as supporting the opposition it shows there is something wrong."

Beckett told parliament on Tuesday that Britain was "endeavouring to get a head of steam" behind its call for urgent action by the human rights council at the United Nations.

Britain is also trying to persuade EU colleagues to extend sanctions against Zimbabwe and has demanded direct action against those responsible for Tsvangirai's injuries.

"The severe economic and humanitarian crisis facing ordinary Zimbabweans is entirely the fault of the misguided policies of President Mugabe and his government," Beckett said.

Zimbabwe has been relying on food aid from U.N. agencies and Western powers for the last six years as a result of a sharp drop in agricultural production that critics blame on Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms for distribution to blacks.

Once southern Africa's bread basket, the country is struggling with inflation of more than 1,700 percent, frequent food and fuel shortages and unemployment of about 80 percent. Zimbabwe's food crisis will also worsen this year because of a drought that has decimated key crops, a minister said.

Britain said the threat to expel envoys would not stop it supporting ordinary Zimbabweans in any way possible, including the delivery of "substantial humanitarian assistance".

Washington said its ambassador Christopher Dell had walked out of the meeting with Zimbabwe's foreign minister on Monday "refusing to participate in the government's attempt to justify its recent brutality".

"The United States will continue to speak and act steadfastly in support of the people of Zimbabwe's right to democracy," a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said.

Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka and MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, Ingrid Melander in Brussels and Sue Pleming in Washington

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