Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zimbabwe Convenes Parliament While Struggle Continues for Unity Government

Zimbabwe Convenes Parliament While Negotiations Continue for Unity Government

MDC-T leader Tsvangirai stalls on signing agreement with ZANU-PF

by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

Nearly two months after the June 27 run-off presidential elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe, a new parliament has been convened amid stalled talks over the formation of a government of national unity. President Robert Mugabe won the second round of elections after failing to secure a majority during the initial poll of March 29.

On the opening day of parliament, August 25, the opposition MDC-T was able to elect its representative Lovemore Moyo as the speaker of the national assembly. The MDC-T won a slight majority in the March 29 parliamentary elections. Moyo recieved 110 votes to the ZANU-PF 99 in the selection process that preceded the swearing-in of the new parliament in Zimbabwe.

In the Senate, ZANU-PF politburo member, Edna Madzongwe, was elected as the president of this branch of the legislative body.

In the aftermath of the June 27 election and the swearing-in of Mugabe for another term as head-of-state, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party launched a new political effort through a series of talks with the two opposition factions, the MDC-T headed by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-M, a breakaway grouping, headed by Arthur Mutambara, which disagreed with the leadership style of the parent body.

These talks, which have taken place periodically for the last several years, resumed with the mediation efforts of Republic of South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, who has worked during this time period on behalf of the regional organization, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The purpose of the talks are to reach a political settlement in Zimbabwe that would facilitate the lifting of sanctions as well as the halting of the destabilization campaign waged by the western imperialist countries over the last decade.

President Mbeki has recently been elected as the chairperson of SADC which has 14-member countries. This selection of Mbeki reaffirms his stature among regional peers in the sub-continent as well as the important role he has played in the quest for a political solution to the situation in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the Republic of Zimbabwe is chairing the peacekeeping portfolio for the SADC area, further overcoming efforts to isolate the country from its neighbors in Southern Africa as well as throughout the continent.

After weeks of negotiations between ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC-M, an agreement was reached in August between the smaller opposiiton party, the MDC-M. However, the Tsvangirai faction, MDC-T, after appearing as if the party would sign the agreement creating a unity government, suddenly withdrew from the negotiations.

The ruling ZANU-PF party has accused Tsvangirai of deliberating sabotaging the talks at the aegis of his backers in the imperialist countries. On August 22, the leader of the Zimbabwe war veterans, Jabulani Sibanda, issued a statement attacking the oppposition leader for acting in contravention to the interests of the country and its people.

"War veterans, who are custodians of the country's revolution, welcomes the convening of parliament set for next week," Mr Sibanda told the media, urging Mr Mugabe to form a new cabinet. Mugabe announced the appointment of eight minister on August 25.

He added, "The West had engineered an impasse in the talks so that their preferred leader takes over."

He noted that Tsvangirai continued to demand more, and the more he demanded, the more western sanctions are imposed, so that the ruling ZANU-PF will be compelled to yield to his demands.

"That is a condition that will never happen, a step that will never be taken by ZANU-PF as a party of the people of Zimbabwe," Mr Sibanda said.

What at Stake for the West in Zimbabwe?

It is well-known that the main oppposition party in Zimbabwe is supported politically and economically by the imperialists nations of the United Kingdom and the United States, along with its allies in the European Union as well as some surrogate leaders on the African continent. The MDC-T has been utilized by these western imperialist states to create the social conditions that would lead to the collapse of the ZANU-PF Government and the installation of a reactionary neocolonialist regime.

The fact that the ZANU-PF Government of President Robert Mugabe has been able to survive a decade-long persistent campaign aimed at undermining the country's national interests both internationally and domestically, speaks to the level of maturity and capability of the ruling party. This is the organization which evolved from the national liberation movement that fought alongside the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) for the independence of the nation in 1980, to a political party that merged with ZAPU two decades and still maintains state power today despite an international campaign to bring about its overthrow.

Consequently, if there was an agreement between ZANU-PF, MDC-M and the larger MDC-T, it would pose a challenge to the imperialist countries who have continued to claim that the exclusion of Tsvangirai and his cohorts from executive power is the major stumbling block towards achieving stability in Zimbabwe. Yet there has been very little acknowledgement or encourgagement from the UK and the US as it relates to the negotiations for a power-sharing arrangement.

What the imperialists want is the relinquishing of executive power by ZANU-PF and the transformation of the state and its institutions away from the control of the veterans of the armed struggle for national liberation and their allies. The imperialists wish to select and structure a new political dispensation in Zimbabwe that will follow the dictates of Washington and London. Such a defeat for the ruling ZANU-PF party would set a dangerous precedent in the region and place further pressure on the democratic revolution in South Africa to move faster in the direction of a neo-liberal economic and social agenda.

Zimbabwe continues to enjoy the support of neighboring South Africa, where President Mbeki has refused to follow western request to impose sanctions on the ZANU-PF Government. In addition, the ongoing support from the People's Republic of China has been essential in the state's "Look East" policy that is attemtpting to lessen its dependence on trade with the western imperialist nations.

On July 11, a double veto within the United Nations Security Council by both Russia and China, prevented further sanctions and possible military action against Zimbabwe by the United States and Britain. Just prior to the UN Security Council vote, President Mugabe had attended the African Union Summit in Egypt where he was accepted fully by the other heads-of-state on the continent. The AU endorsed the continuing negotiation process that has been conducted by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

Other countries in various regions of the continent have supported the Mugabe government. A recent visit by an envoy from the North African nation of Libya demonstrated the understanding by other progressive and revolutionary states as it relates to the process in Zimbabwe and the challenges the country is facing during the present period.

The Libyan envoy, Hafiz Mersal, "returned to Libya with a delegation of chiefs who were invited to take part in the 39th anniversary of the great Libyan revolution to be celebrated in September," according to the August 25 issue of the Zimbabwe Herald.

"We strongly stand with the people of Zimbabwe and their political leadership in the fight against imperialism," Nersal said.

"The president Cde Robert Mugabe is one of the people who brought independence to Zimbabwe and he is a liberation hero.

"We therefore understand him when he says he does not want outside meddling in the talks.

"The idea of power sharing is an African solution to African problems. Africa does not want to be dictated to and the people should come first."
Abayomi Azikiwe has written extensively on the political situaiton in Zimbabwe over the last several months. Articles by this author have been published in various newspapers and on numerous web sites throughout the world.

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