Friday, September 19, 2008

Despite Power Sharing Agreement, Imperialists Will Maintain Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

Despite Power Sharing Agreement, Imperialists Will Maintain Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

Parties sign accord to end economic blockade but the West is not moving away from its existing policy

by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

After months of painstaking negotiations between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two main opposition parties, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and the small breakaway faction known as the MDC-M, the leadership of these organizations reached an agreement to share power in a Government of National Unity (GNU).

Under the political deal signed on Sept. 15, with the mediation of Republic of South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, President Robert G. Mugabe of ZANU-PF will maintain his executive autthority as head-of-state. Mugabe will appoint members to the cabinet and remain in charge of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF).

At the same time, the post of Prime Minister will be re-instituted and taken by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who will serve along with an expanded cabinet including members of both MDC factions. Also there will the appointment of two Deputy Prime Ministers, one from each faction of the opposition.

Despite this historic agreement, however, the western imperialist countries announced on the same day that the agreement was signed in Zimbabwe capital of Harare, that the dreaded and devastating sanctions that have been imposed on this southern African nation would continue in force. This will be done, according to various governments including the United States, Britain and the EU states, until they were satisfied that President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party had relinquished effective control of the Zimbabwean state.

European Union foreign policy minister Javier Solana said on Sept. 15, that any decision on the part of this economic alliance would be postponed until October. The EU has followed the line of the United States and the United Kingdom by imposing economic sanctions and banning key political officials from Zimbabwe, including President Mugabe himself, from traveling privately in any of these European member states.

On Sept. 15, a statement from the 27 EU ministers emphasized that these capitalist states would monitor the agreement's implementation, with specific reference to the "immediate cessation of all forms of intimidation and violence".

Following the EU statement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has also played a key role in the western attempts to isolate Zimbabwe by freezing all economic and technical assistance to the country since 2006, said that it was prepared to engage in talks with the new unity government. Nonetheless, the IMF declared that the coalition government would have to take steps to prove that it is worthy of assistance from this US-controlled financial agency.

The former colonial power's representative, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, echoed this same approach through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), affirming that the all-party administration in Zimbabwe would have to "make significant progress before the lifting of sanctions would be considered."

In the United States, which has played a leading role in the attacks on Zimbabwe, followed the same reasoning by stating that the ruling ZANU-PF and President Mugabe must be viewed as turning over power to the western-backed opposition MDC-T before any movement is made towards the normalization of political and economic relations between the two countries.

According to the Assistant US Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer: "We haven't yet had a chance to study the details of the agreement, nor do we know who will be in the cabinet of this new government, so in some ways it's a bit premature for us to comment until we have the full picture."

Lifting Sanctions is Key to Success of Agreement

What stands out most in the 15-page unity accord between ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC factions, is the necessity for the agreement to lead to the lifting of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. The sanctions have plunged the economy in Zimbabwe into a severe depression. Without the assistance of the Republic of South Africa, the People's Republic of China and other states and solidarity organizations, the government in Zimbabwe would not have been able to survive the onslaught that it has been subjected to for the last decade.

In the opening paragraphs of the agreement, all parties concur that an essential objective of the unity government is geared toward: "COMMITTING ourselves to putting our people and our country first by arresting the fall in living standards and reversing the decline of our economy."

Zimbabwe, which has struggled since its national independence in 1980 to overcome the legacy of settler-colonialism that was established by the British imperialists during the 1890s. Other imperialists states such as the United States and the western European member states, supported the former Rhodesian settler-colony which had ostensibly broken with Britain in 1965, despite the refusal of the former colonial power to take firm action to put down the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) that was proclaimed under the racist leader Ian Smith.

Section 3.1 of the unity accord declares that: "The Parties agree to give priority to the restoration of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe. The Government will lead the process of developing and implementing an economic recovery strategy and plan.

"To that end, the parties are committed to working together on a full and comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy, which will urgently address the issues of production, food security, poverty and unemployment and the challenges of high inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate."

In addition to this acknowledgement of the economic crisis inside the country, the economic sanctions imposed by the West are clearly identified as the principal element in fostering the continued economic underdevelopment of Zimbabwe.

The document states in Section 4.6 that: "Desirous and committed to bringing to an end the fall in the standards of living of our people, the Parties hereby agree:- (a) to endorse the SADC resolution on sanctions concerning Zimbabwe; (b) that all forms of measures and sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted in order to facilitate a sustainable solution to the challenges that are currently facing Zimbabwe; and (c) commit themselves to working together in re-engaging the international community with a view to bringing to an end the country's international isolation."

Consequently, the continuation of sanctions against Zimbabwe by the western imperialists nations can only undermine these peace efforts as well as the stated objectives of creating the conditions for economic development and prosperity for the citizens of the country.

Land Question Acknowledged as Key to Peace

Another important section of this agreement is the recognition of the necessity of maintaining the land redistribution program instituted by ZANU-PF after 2000. The Zimbabwe anti-colonial resistance during the late 19th century and all through the 20th century, has been based on the retaking of the land and resources stolen by the British colonialists.

In the agreement signed by the Zimbabwe parties, the document upholds the centrality of the land question for the future peace and development of the country. In Section 5.9 it states that: "The Parties hereby agree to: (a) conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownerships."

In addition, the agreement commits to: "(b)ensure that all Zimbabweans who are eligible to be allocated land and who apply for it shall be considered for allocation of land irrespective of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or political affiliation; (c) ensure security of tenure to all land holders."

The agreement "calls upon the United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from former land owners for resettlement;
and (e) work together to secure international support and finance for the land reform programme in terms of compensation for the former land owners and support for new farmers; and (f) work together for the restoration of full productivity on all agricultural land."

Whither Zimbabwe?

It is instructive that this agreement has been met with such skepticism and lack of enthusiasm by the former colonial power in the United Kingdom as well as the United States and its allies in the European Union (EU) and in other parts of the world. Judging from the statements emanating from London, Washington and Western Europe, these states will not be satisfied until Zimbabwe is firmly back under the control of the imperialist states.

This power sharing agreement has been met with great enthusiasm in Southern Africa and throughout the continent as a whole. According to the Zimbabwe Herald on Sept. 16, the signing ceremeony was attended by a host of leaders from throughout the region.

The Herald stated that: "Several heads of state and governments from the region, including Sadc chairman and talks facilitator President Mbeki, African Union chairman and Tanzanian President Jikaya Kikwete and the chairman of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Peace, King Mswati III of Swaziland, were present."

In continuing the list of African leaders present for the signing ceremony, the article points out that: "Also in attendance were Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Angolan Foreign Affairs Minister Joao Bernado de Miranda, who represented President Eduardo dos Santos."

Nonetheless, the efforts of the people of Zimbabwe to develop solutions to their own problems internally with the assistance of other African states throughout the region, can still be undermined by the machinations of the western imperialists states.

Therefore, anti-imperialist forces throughout the world must carefully monitor the ongoing political developments in Zimbabwe and continue to uphold the right of self-determination and sovereignity for the people of this nation as well as others throughout the region and Africa as a whole.
Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire. This author has written numerous articles on the contemporary situation in Zimbabwe and the foreign policy of the western nations towards this independent African country.

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