President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe With His Family
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THE Pan African Parliament meeting in Midrand, South Africa, on Wednesday rejected a motion to send a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe after the House voted against it in yet another diplomatic victory for the country.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Ms Suzanne Vos moved the motion at the 15th session sitting, arguing that the mission should be sent as was agreed in May this year.
She urged the bureau of PAP "to proceed as a matter of urgency with arrangements required to send a fact-finding mission to the Republic of Zimbabwe" as was agreed at the last session, but the House rejected the motion.
Speaking from South Africa yesterday, Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Joram Gumbo, who is leading the Zimbabwean delegation to the meeting, said the motion was rejected on a technicality after they successfully argued that it could not be moved twice after it was presented in May.
He said Ms Vos had argued that the mission could not be aborted for financial reasons as the parliament could seek the funds from other sources.
"We opposed the motion because the House could not implement a motion which fails and then reintroduce it. We also made it clear that the parliament could only use funds from the African Union, not suspicious sources from outside.
"The House had a protracted debate leading to a vote and Ms Vos was the only one who voted in favour while the whole House voted against the motion," he said.
Cde Gumbo said even the MP from Botswana, Mr Boyce Sebeleta, who had seconded the motion in the last session, was nowhere to be seen during the voting.
Cde Gumbo said the latest diplomatic victory by Zimbabwe shows that the continent had finally built some confidence in efforts being made by the people of Zimbabwe and the region to resolve the country’s challenges.
Other members of the Zimbabwe parliamentary delegation in South Africa are Chief Fortune Charumbira, Cde Charles Majange (Zanu-PF), Senator Sheila Mahere (Non-Constituency) and Ms Paurina Mpariwa (MDC).
"The rejection of the motion shows that Africa has confidence in the Sadc-initiated talks being led by (South African) President Thabo Mbeki.
"The countries have also come to understand the situation in Zimbabwe and have decided to give the ongoing talks a chance," Cde Gumbo said.
He added that it also shows the progress being made through the dialogue between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition parties has impressed the countries.
"We brought before the Parliament evidence that indicated how much progress has been made in the talks, especially the successful passing of the Constitutional Amendment No. 18 Bill," he said.
PAP president Ms Getrude Mongella said the PAP would send an observer mission to the harmonised elections scheduled for early next year.
Delegates had, during the first session in May, voted to send a mission to Zimbabwe after opposition MDC representatives and other parliamentarians from some African countries raised allegations of human rights abuses by the Zimbabwean authorities.
Zimbabwe’s latest diplomatic victory comes shortly after a meeting of European Union foreign affairs ministers in Lisbon, Portugal, ignored calls by Britain to send a human rights envoy before the EU-Africa Summit set for December this year.
EU parliamentarians visiting the PAP last week also dealt British Premier Mr Gordon Brown a body blow after coming out in full support of President Mugabe’s attendance at the summit.
Mr Brown had caused division in Europe after threatening to boycott the summit in the event that President Mugabe is invited.
He, however, faced stiff resistance from fellow EU countries — Germany and the hosts Portugal — while Africa has solidly stood for President Mugabe’s attendance.
Sadc member states have also threatened to boycott the summit en masse if President Mugabe was barred from attending it.
Strong Zim, Zambia ties hailed
ZIMBABWE will always cherish contributions made by Zambia during the country’s liberation struggle and will also seek to enhance the cordial relations that date back to the pre-independence era, a Government minister has said.
Speaking at the occasion to mark the Zambia’s 43rd Independence anniversary, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Cde Reuben Marumahoko said the people of Zimbabwe were deeply conscious of the unique and excellent relations that exist between the two countries.
"These relations are rooted in our common history and culture and they were cemented by our common struggle against colonialism. Zambia occupies a very special place in the hearts of all Zimbabweans because of the unwavering support and sanctuary that you rendered to us during the liberation struggle for self-determination.
"Our governments should approach our economic challenges with the fortitude with which we overcame colonial subjugation, so that our farms, mines, industries and wildlife can benefit our people. I wish to reassure you of Zimbabwe’s determination to continue co-operating with Zambia to broaden and deepen our bilateral relations," he said.
He said the Government was satisfied with the close co-operation between Zambia and Zimbabwe on both regional and international matters and was confident that after taking over as the chair of Sadc, Zambia would steer the regional bloc to fulfil its mandate.
Speaking at the same occasion, Zambia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Sheila Siwela said the two countries had remained excellent neighbours, co-operating at both regional and international levels.
She said the two countries were co-operating well in economic, trade, immigration and social matters and were holding regular consultations at various levels for the benefit of both countries.
"Zambia and Zimbabwe have worked very well together to enhance initiatives such as the proposed building of the Kazungula Bridge and border facilities, which will link the two countries to Botswana and Namibia," she said.
She said the bridge, expected to be completed in the next four years, was important to the region as it would ease the flow of trade among the countries. The two nations are also working together in developing Chirundu border post.
"Zambia looks forward to more co-operation with Zimbabwe, for instance in the joint marketing of our shared treasure, the Mosi oa Tunya (Victoria Falls) which we can showcase to the world in readiness for the 2010 World Cup, not forgetting Kariba, the third largest artificial dam in the world," she said.
She said her country remained committed to African unity and will continue to call for a single voice in negotiating against the outside world.