Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: Double Blow For West at UN; Why the UK Wants War, etc.

Double blow for West

Herald Reporters

US and British-led efforts to get the UN to sanction an invasion of Zimbabwe suffered a double blow on Monday when the Security Council rejected the moves, while MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai backtracked on his earlier calls for international intervention.

The majority of Security Council members, among them permanent members Russia and China as well as Italy, South Africa, Panama, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Burkina Faso endorsed Sadc and African Union mediation efforts.

Burkina Faso had previously voted for action against Zimbabwe.

The US, United Kingdom, France and Belgium — who were calling for UN intervention — were in the minority.

In June this year, China and Russia used their veto powers to block moves by the US and its allies to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe through the UN.

During Monday’s closed-door debate chaired by Croatia, UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon acknowled-ged that the Government of Zimbabwe and the Sadc- appointed facilitator Cde Thabo Mbeki were against UN involvement in the country’s politics.

"Despite our continued efforts I unfortunately have to conclude that neither the Government nor mediator welcomes a UN role," Mr Ban said.

He made a briefing on Zimbabwe despite the fact that the country was not on the Security Council agenda.

The UN chief called for the urgent formation of an inclusive Government to end the political impasse.

He, for the first time, stressed the need to support the country’s agriculture sector by providing inputs.

Mr Ban dismissed calls for another election, saying it was not the best way to address the current challenges.

Yesterday, the Government expre-ssed displeasure over Mr Ban’s decision to give a briefing on Zimbabwe.

"It is unfortunate that the briefing on Zimbabwe has become an assignment for the Secretary-General.

"We are not a subject of the Security Council," Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde George Charamba said.

"We believe this is at the behest of some Western powers. He utterly failed to locate the essence of challenges we are facing in sanctions that have been declared by permanent Western members of the Security Council. He could not tell them in their face."

Cde Charamba also castigated Mr Ban for lacking sincerity in his presentation on the need for an inclusive Government.

"The MDC has stalled the creation of an inclusive Government. Its leader is out of the country. Government, on the other hand, has gazetted Constitutional Amendment Number 19 and I happen to know that some time this week or early next week, communication inviting both MDC formations to join Government would be made," he said.

The Security Council debate came soon after Mr Tsvangirai backtracked on earlier calls for international intervention by endorsing Sadc’s and AU’s mediation.

In an interview with the pirate broadcaster SW Radio, Mr Tsvangirai — who is holed up in Botswana — however, indicated that military intervention was not an option.

"Well as a party, we have never pursued the military option. We have always been committed to the democratic option . . . We have never considered military option as an option available for any democratic change in the country.

"But, of course, these are people who are expressing this at this time as if there are no options. One of the things that you have to understand is that the AU and Sadc are the guarantors to this peace deal, this Global Political Agreement," he said.

MDC-T is being accused of training bandits in Botswana to cause instability and warrant Western military aggression. In the past few weeks, the US, Britain and their allies have been agitating for war with Zimbabwe.

Monday’s Security Council decision, observers say, dealt a body blow to these calls as US President George W. Bush will be out of office in January next year.

Meanwhile, Government has also castigated some Western countries purporting to be aiding Zimbabwe in the fight against cholera that are claiming that the situation was worsening.

"They cannot suggest that the situation is worsening without implying that international efforts managed through the World Health Organisation itself a UN agency, are failing," Cde Charamba said.

He said the basic problem was that for the political convenience of Western countries opposed to Zimbabwe, any death in the country "is certified cholera caused as if we only have one disease".

Ban’s stance on Zim encouraging

WE thank our all-weather friends — China, Russia and South Africa — for once again standing resolutely in defence of Zimbabwe at Monday’s Security Council meeting.

Their principled stand saw the United Nations Security Council thwart British and American moves at aggression.

Zimbabwe is also indebted to all the other members of the Security Council, among them Panama, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Burkina Faso, who endorsed the ongoing efforts towards the formation of an inclusive government.

We were emboldened by the stance taken by Italy, which also endorsed the Sadc-mediated dialogue, and, in so doing, broke ranks with other European Union states that bought into British and American attempts to hoodwink the UN into endorsing military subversion of Zimbabwe.

As we have said before, our dispute is with London.

The Government is on record expressing its willingness to build bridges with all EU states that want to normalise relations.

We hope other EU members will follow Italy’s lead.

We were also emboldened by the stance taken by UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-Moon in barring his disgraced predecessor, Kofi Annan, from soiling the Security Council with a report from the group calling itself The Elders.

The UN is a collective of sovereign states where dubious groupings put together by egoistic businessmen and pop stars should not be allowed to meddle in the affairs of member states.

As we reported in yesterday’s issue, Mr Ban blocked Annan from presenting a report on Zimbabwe to the Security Council, saying the so-called Elders were trying to undermine his authority.

The UN’s Zimbabwe Country Team was instead allowed to present its report, effectively stonewalling attempts by the West to use Annan to condemn Zimbabwe in a bid to build a case for military invasion.

Annan’s report was supposed to be used to try to convince Russia, China and South Africa that it was necessary to invade Zimbabwe. It is important to note that the ‘‘Elders’’ never set foot in Zimbabwe, which leaves us wondering on what basis they wanted to present a report on ‘‘findings’’ they never made.

The UN Country Team, which is always on the ground here, was thus better placed to present the report on Zimbabwe.

In that single move, Mr Ban did more for Zimbabwe than Annan ever did in his 10 years at the helm of the UN.

We hope Mr Ban’s move signifies the dawn of a new era in UN leadership, an era that will see the world body free itself from the tentacles of the US to live up to its founding charter that pledges to save the world from the scourge of war.

Politburo adopts conference agenda

Herald Reporter

THE Zanu-PF Politburo, which met in Harare yesterday, adopted the agenda and programme of the 10th National People’s Conference to be held in Bindura this Friday.

Speaking after the meeting at the ruling party’s headquarters last night, deputy spokesperson Cde Ephraim Masawi said the Politburo had discussed various issues apart from the conference agenda and programme.

"The agenda and programme was adopted. We will be discussing such issues as the state of the party, land reform and agriculture, the economy, social services as well as science and technology development in the country," he said.

Cde Masawi said the Politburo had also discussed the cholera epidemic and efforts being made to protect delegates from the disease.

"We have been advised that delegates at the conference would be supplied with bottled water, while bowsers would supply clean water for the delegates. Delegates would also be barred from carrying any food into the conference venue."

He said some doctors had also volunteered to assist in cases of emergency during the conference.

The meeting, Cde Masawi said, received an update on the fight against the epidemic.

Government has said significant progress has been made in arresting the epidemic with more assistance expected into the country.

A plane-load of cholera drugs was expected to arrive into the country from Tanzania while countries such as China, South Africa and Cuba continue to assist in the fight against the disease.

The Politburo also discussed the ongoing dialogue between the country’s three main political parties and the recent gazetting of Constitutional Amendment No. 19 Bill last weekend.

Other issues discussed included the Central Committee and the commissariat reports on the restructuring conducted throughout the country.

Cde Masawi, however, declined to discuss the commissariat report saying more information would be made available in due course.

Rogue soldiers: ZNA apologises

Herald Reporter

THE Zimbabwe National Army yesterday apologised for the behaviour of rogue elements in its ranks, who recently beat up people and destroyed property in Harare in protest over cash shortages.

Speaking at the distribution of the proceeds of the ZNA’s Charity Race to five charities, ZNA Commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda described the incidents as "one of the ugliest moments in the history of Zimbabwe".

He assured the nation of peace and stability, adding that the army was taking remedial action against the rogue elements.

"Some of you or your relatives and friends might have been affected by the behaviour of some of my men and women who went on the rampage and destroyed property and beat up people in the streets some two weeks ago.

"Please pass on the message to others who are not here that this is not the way we operate as ZNA. My sincere apologies once again.

"In any family, there are always one or two rebels. I feel that was one of the ugliest moments in the history of Zimbabwe and we are taking corrective action.

"If there are any of those affected here, I am really sorry for what happened. You should not stop supporting us in the charity fund-raising programmes because of the behaviour of these elements," said Lt-Gen Sibanda.

The Charity Race raised US$1 394, R200, $1 067 151 246 860 227 and various goods, that were distributed to the five charities. Tsanga Lodge Convalescent Centre got $500 quadrillion, R200, US$554 and other goods while the ZNA Schools Welfare Trust Fund received $500 quadrillion, 1 200 litres of fuel and other goods.

ZNA Widows and Orphans Benevolent Fund and the Patients’ Welfare Trust were each allocated $500 quadrillion and US$240 with the Benevolent Fund receiving $500 quadrillion and US$360.

Why is Britain spoiling for war against Zim?

THIS is the second and final part of a two-part series by Chinweizu examining the origins of the West’s plan to invade Zimbabwe.

THE economy is indeed screaming, by enemy design. The enemy intended to so torture the Zimbabwean people that they would reject Zanu-PF at the polls.

Having failed to do so, they are scheming to either invade Zimbabwe or to fund an armed struggle there.

All this is to ostensibly return Zimbabwe to democracy; to punish its leadership for alleged election violence, election rigging and violations of "human rights".

That can hardly be the true motive.

So, what are President Mugabe’s real and unforgivable sins that have called forth such premeditated torture of the Zimbabwean population?

Top among his sins are:

-The expropriation of land from the white settlers whose ancestors had stolen it by force a century earlier. If Cde Mugabe completes his land restitution project, his example might give blacks ideas on what to do, in Namibia and South Africa especially!

-The indigenisation of the mining industries by taking over 51 percent of their shares for indigenous Zimbabweans;

-Cde Mugabe "baulks at reforming his unproductive State-dominated economy," as The Washington Post, in an editorial on February 1, 2000, complained. This was a reference to Cde Mugabe’s breaking-away from the neo-liberal tutelage and doctrines of the International Monetary Fund and pursuing "socialist" policies of state domination of the economy. In this post-Soviet era, departure from the orthodox neo-liberal "free market" doctrines is an unforgivable heresy.

If President Mugabe gets away with all this and succeeds, Zimbabwe, like Cuba, would become a model for other countries on how to escape the economic stranglehold of neo-colonialism.

Zimbabwe would become an example, terrible for imperialism and its exploitation of Black Africa.

So there you have it.

It is to forestall the domino effect of the Zanu-PF example that Zimbabweans are being tortured with sanctions and threatened with war.

Shouldn’t Tony Blair and Gordon Brown be taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for these crimes against black humanity?

We must put the current crisis in the context of developments since Rhodesia declared UDI in 1965 and touched off the 15-year Zimbabwean liberation war, the Second Chimurenga, to recover the land.

The Lancaster House Conference was called to save the imperialists from the humiliation of an unconditional surrender by the white Rhodesians to black insurrectionists.

Something like that had not happened since Haiti’s victory over Napoleon’s army in 1803. At Lancaster House, Zanu-PF was robbed of the fruits of its battlefield victory over the white settlers.

That agreement, which Cde Mugabe was forced by other African countries to accept, delayed the takeover of the land for an initial 10 years.

Then President Mugabe was persuaded by the Commonwealth Secretariat to hold off on summary land reclamation — lest the sight of it happening in next door Zimbabwe should cause white fright and intransigence among the white settlers in South Africa and jeopardise the struggle against apartheid.

Thus for 15 years, Zanu-PF was obliged to put off any radical land reclamation process.

Then, in 1997, in the new post-Soviet global political climate, Britain was emboldened to explicitly renege on the Lancaster House Agreement.

It thereafter moved to completely reverse the battlefield defeat of its white Rhodesian kith and kin.

This was true to the old Elizabethan tactic of defusing a crisis by delay and deceit. Lancaster House was an example of the rule that imperialism negotiates only when on the verge of being defeated, and only for the purpose of robbing its adversaries of victory.

Then when it has recovered its poise, it will assuredly counter-attack.

This post-1979 saga illustrates Amilcar Cabral’s dictum that "compromises with imperialism are counter-productive".

Given these fundamentals of the Zimbabwe case, what is our correct Pan-Africanist duty?

First of all, we should not base our views on Zimbabwe on the propaganda disseminated by a Western media which serves the agenda of imperialism.

It is distressing to see African newspapers serving as megaphones for Africa’s imperialist enemies.

Pan-Africanists, including Pan-Africanist media, parties and governments, urgently need to start depending on our own sources in formulating positions on all issues.

This is in keeping with Cabral’s sacred principle that we should be absolutely independent in our way of thinking and acting; and in tackling questions and answering them.

Secondly, Pan-Africanism, to the extent that it is still an anti-imperialist movement, cannot accommodate itself to this imperialist offensive, but must mobilise support for an anti-imperialist Zimbabwe.

Its struggle for economic decolonisation should be applauded and given even more support than Black Africa gave to fraternal struggles for political decolonisation.

It is heartening that African efforts to resolve the election crisis between Zanu-PF and MDC are going ahead.

But what will be required to make them succeed?

Since MDC is merely a puppet of the British government, no negotiated settlement is possible unless Britain instructs Tsvangirai to accept it.

We need, therefore, to focus on how to end, not just the foreign-instigated electoral conflict, but also the underlying war between Britain and Zimbabwe over land and the decolonisation of the Zimbabwean economy.

So long as Britain persists with its sanctions and with threats of inspiring an armed struggle by MDC, so long as Britain insists on returning Zimbabwe to the colonial status where a few white settlers held half of Zimbabwe’s best land, so long as Britain insists on installing a government subservient to itself in Zimbabwe, we must realise that there will be no settlement before unconditional victory by either the British recolonisers or the Zimbabwean anti-colonialists.

For Zanu-PF’s exemplary project of economic decolonisation to succeed, a global anti-war movement is called for to constrain Britain from fomenting armed conflict in Zimbabwe.

Fostering such a movement is our third Pan-Africanist duty to Zimbabweans.

--Chinweizu is a Black Power Pan-Africanist; the author of The West and the Rest of Us, Decolonising the African Mind, and other books.

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