Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Zimbabwe Update: 'Elders' Plot Exposed

‘Elders’ plot exposed

Herald Reporter

THE group of "Elders" that wanted to visit Zimbabwe on a "humanitarian mission" was, in fact, bent on rescuing MDC-T after Sadc resolved that the inclusive Government should be formed as a matter of urgency, it has emerged.

The "Elders" mission was part of a grand plan by Britain and the United States to get the United Nations to intervene in Zimbabwe and reverse the Sadc resolution.

At its recent meeting in Sandton, South Africa, Sadc resolved that Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations should form the inclusive Government with the ruling party and the MDC-T co-managing the Home Affairs Ministry, which had stalled the establishment of the inclusive Government.

The "Elders" — former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, former US president Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel — were supposed to produce a damning report on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

Such a report would have given the UN Security Council basis to invoke the "responsibility to protect" clause paving the way for the aggression and intervention in Zimbabwe by foreign countries.

The clause allows for foreign intervention or aggression supposedly to save people whose government is deemed to have neglected its responsibility to protect them.

"It is a clause for aggression or intervention using the cover of the UN. The ‘Elders’ are legitimising instruments of the plot. The ‘Elders’ are a Trojan horse for the politics of regime change. The whole plot was to reverse the setback suffered by the MDC in Sandton and sideline the Sadc resolution," a political observer said.

The plot to involve the UN is confirmed by last Thursday’s briefing to the Security Council by UN assistant secretary-general Haile Menkerios, two days before the "Elders" visit to Harare.

In his damning briefing, Menkerios called for more involvement of the UN in implementing the power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe.

"The Secretary-General is ready to accompany Zimbabwe in this process, and calls on the parties, regional organisations and other stakeholders to start consultations with the United Nations with a view to agreeing on a framework for the UN’s engagement in Zimbabwe in support of the proper implementation of the September 15 agreement," said Menkerios.

He also called on the Zimbabwean Government to give full access to the planned mission of the "Elders".

Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde George Charamba yesterday said the "Elders" mission had nothing to do with the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

"The so-called ‘Elders’ are a creature of pro-Labour British corporate interests. There is nothing elderly about them. But what is more, it is a very condescenting title. If they are ‘Elders’ what do Zimbabweans become, infants?" he said.

Cde Charamba said the "Elders" should not pretend to have Zimbabweans at heart when, in fact, they were fronting a regime change agenda being pushed by Britain and the US.

"Annan has been in South Africa several times, Graca lives in South Africa and are beginning now to find a Methodist church where Zimbabwean refugees live. People should not seek to make big names for themselves using Zimbabwe.

"Annan has on no occasion denounced the illegal Western sanctions against Zimbabwe despite repeated appeals by the Zimbabwean President. Annan refused to his last day in office (as UN secretary-general) to denounce the sanctions, but now pretends to be concerned about a humanitarian crisis he knows can be traced to sanctions he condoned as UN secretary-general. These (Elders) are glory seekers and we treat them as such," he said.

Cde Charamba also dismissed the notion that former US leader Carter supported Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, an argument being pushed to give credence to his involvement with the "Elders" group in Zimbabwe.

"Carter never supported the Patriotic Front, no American president could ever do that. What Carter did — and we commend him for that — was to realise that the white settler community which the United States supported was about to be overrun by the Patriotic Front forces and what was needed was a rescue package for the embattled white community. That is why the US stepped in to save the Lancaster House deal by offering funds to support land reform in Zimbabwe," he said.

The US never supported the sanctions against the Rhodesian settler regime and the Carter administration defended Rhodesia by ensuring the exclusion of chrome from the sanctions so the US could continue accessing the chrome.

Recent statements by US President George Bush, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai dovetailed into the planned "Elders" mission and the predicted collapse of the Zanu-PF Government in two months.

Bush, while on a visit to Peru at the weekend to deal with the global financial crisis, spared a moment to issue a statement on Zimbabwe about the stalled power-sharing deal.

Odinga called for the sending of an African Union force to Zimbabwe while Tsvangirai eyed an inclusive Government would be in place in Zimbabwe in "two months’ time".

"The government envisaged by Tsvangirai was not an inclusive Government, but his government following the

expected collapse of the Zanu-PF government," a political analyst said.

The whole plot, according to observers, was to sideline the Sadc resolution made in Sandton, South Africa.

But Sadc is pushing ahead with its mediator Cde Thabo Mbeki expected to meet Zanu-PF and the MDC today to discuss Constitutional Amendment Number 19 to give legal effect to the power-sharing agreement while a Sadc investigating team is already in Zimbabwe to probe Harare’s claims that the MDC-T was training bandits to destabilise the country.

The idea of an "Elders" group was mooted by British singer Peter Gabriel and British businessman Richard Branson to "offer collective experience, and above all their independent voices to support the resolution of conflict, to seek new approaches to easing human suffering and to give voice to those who struggle to be heard".

But analysts say the idea is basically a British plan to use corporates to push their agendas where they have failed diplomatically and politically.

The "Elders" are former SA president Nelson Mandela, Annan, Graca Machel, Jimmy Carter, Ela Bhatt (the founder and general secretary of a women trade union, the Self-Employed Women’s Association), Lakhdar Brahimi (former UN envoy and advisor), Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Norwegian prime minister), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (former Brazilian president), Mary Robinson (former Ireland president and UN Human Rights Commissioner), Desmond Tutu (activist) and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladeshi banker). Aung San Suu Kyi — a human rights leader in Burma — is an honorary elder.

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