Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Iran Backs Inclusive Government

Iran backs inclusive Govt

Herald Reporter

IRAN fully supports the establishment of an inclusive Government in Zimbabwe and considers it a step in the right direction in addressing challenges facing the country, Iran’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Rasoul Momeni, has said.

Speaking at a reception to mark the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Mr Momeni said as in the past, Teheran was ready to extend help and co-operation to revive the numerous sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy.

"We look forward to the implementation of the tractor assembly project, the refurbishment of Feruka Oil Refinery, the implementation of the Air Traffic Agreement, the manufacture of irrigation equipment, the expansion of Kariba Power Station, the digitalisation of Bulawayo Radio and Television studios and the cultural and educational exchange programme between the two countries," he said.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Reuben Marumahoko commended Iran for its gallantry and determination in defending itself saying this was the hallmark of all peace-loving nations that continue to defy the mutation of imperialism and its forces which presently constitute a serious threat to international peace and security.

"Zimbabwe celebrates the excellent friendship, mutual respect, support and solidarity that bind our two countries and peoples dating back to the days of our struggle for liberation.

"Over the years, bilateral co-operation has deepened and broadened in critical sectors such as agriculture, health, information technology, manufacturing and mining.

‘‘It is our desire that the entire breadth of our relations be fully exploited for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples," he said.

Tsvangirai sworn-in

Herald Reporter

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Mugabe together with his two deputies, Professor Arthur Mutambara and Ms Thokozani Khupe, at a colourful ceremony at State House in Harare yesterday.

The three took their oaths of office and loyalty, at midday, in the presence of Sadc leaders, the Zanu-PF leadership, MDC-T and MDC, MPs, chiefs, diplomats, senior civil servants and their families.

Mr Tsvangirai was the first to take his oath in which he pledged to "well and truly serve Zimbabwe in the Office of Prime Minister of Zimbabwe".

Leader of the MDC Prof Mutambara was next, followed by Ms Khupe of MDC-T.

The three also pledged to freely give their counsel and advice to President Mugabe in the management of the Republic’s affairs and not to reveal matters discussed in Cabinet and those committed to their secrecy.

The chairman of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, King Mswati III of Swaziland, led invited guests in congratulating the trio before a photo session for the presidential party.

President Mugabe pledged to co-operate with his new partners in Government.

He called for the burying of differences, stressing that the three parties were now united by the imperative need to address the myriad of challenges that face Zimbabwe.

"We must stand together as fellow Zimba-bweans, sons and daughters of the soil, to chart a common destiny for our country and our people, anchored on the fundamental principles of sovereignty and self-determination."

The President said the road to yesterday’s "historic occasion had been long, tedious and often frustrating" while it was not easy to overcome the "deep-seated mistrust among ourselves".

"The situation was made worse when our detractors unashamedly sought to derail our negotiations by using overt and covert means. However, with the support of Sadc, we were able to remain focused and to overcome all obstacles," he said.

President Mugabe paid tribute to Sadc for its assistance in the process and the facilitator, Cde Thabo Mbeki, for his outstanding diplomatic skills and rising above the criticism and vilification that he was subjected to.

"Indeed, there were moments when even the negotiators lost patience with him. Yet today, we can say Thabo Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy has spoken."

Cde Mugabe said King Mswati’s presence and that of his deputy in the Troika, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, showed Sadc’s goodwill while Zimbabwe was also gratified to have African Union Commission chairperson Mr Jean Ping, Sadc executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao, and South African foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma to witness the event.

He described the day as great and historic, saying it marked a number of milestones in the evolution of Zimbabwe’s young democracy.

"It also marks a victory for Africa and, indeed, for Sadc.

"Today, we have demonstrated that Africans can resolve African problems. We, Africans, have the capability and culture to get together.

"Above all, it is a victory for Zimbabwe. It shows that we have the capacity to resolve our differences through negotiation and compromise. We must, therefore, build on this unity of purpose and demonstrate political maturity by turning our swords into ploughshares in our service to the nation."

President Mugabe said the inclusive Government faced many challenges that must be addressed urgently to ensure economic recovery and nation-building by making industries work and create jobs.

"In this regard, all of us should vigorously work together in calling for the immediate removal of sanctions in order to allow Zimbabwe to enjoy its membership rights to international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. Not only that, but to participate in bilateral relations."

Cde Mugabe said Zimbabwe should engage the international community on the basis of equality and partnership and not as beggars.

He said although Zimbabwe faced challenges of food, health, water and sanitation, these should not be allowed to characterise "our national condition".

"We are a nation of hard workers, certainly a people not content with being dependent on handouts. In this regard, as I thank those countries and organisations that have assisted us in addressing the current humanitarian challenges, it is our wish to see the current interventions in the humanitarian sector redirected from the provision of mere relief, to programmes that foster sustainable recovery and development."

President Mugabe said the inclusive Government should serve the people and not leaders by being responsive to the problems faced by people.

"In this regard, I once again pledge my personal commitment and that of my party, Zanu-PF, to the letter and spirit of the Global Political Agreement, as well as to the success of the inclusive Government. I, therefore, call upon the people
of Zimbabwe and the international community to lend the greatest support to this new Government."

Mr Tsvangirai said the new Government should prioritise education, health and food to ensure children go back to school, hospitals start working and people have enough food.

He assured those who were critical of the new Government that it might not have been a "perfect arrangement" but it was the "only workable arrangement".

Prof Mutambara called for unity and the immediate lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

"This is a new era in Zimbabwe. We must work together as a team, we must speak the language of working together, the language of unity," he said.

Prof Mutambara said it was now time for the doubting Thomases to support and embrace the new Government.

Goodwill, optimism engulf State House

Herald Reporter

AN atmosphere of goodwill and optimism engulfed State House yesterday afternoon after President Mugabe swore in three opposition leaders into senior Government positions.

Following months of negotiations, that at times looked doomed, yesterday’s occasion infused hope that the country’s political leaders were committed to improving the fortunes of the nation despite their ideological differences.

And expectations are high that the new Government will immediately knuckle down and get on with the gritty work of reopening schools, stocking hospitals and making sure they are adequately staffed and ensuring national food security as a matter of urgency.

"This occasion has proved this country is made up of people of great moral standing. I say moral because the level of suffering that was prevailing in the country due to political discord had become immoral.

"The agreement shows that our leaders have the true spirit of ubuntu. They have shamed America and the European Union by seeing this thing through and it is our hope that they will continue to demonstrate such fortitude in carrying out the difficult work ahead.

"There are a number of important things that the Government has to work on immediately, and these are mainly to do with the living conditions of the people. The economy must be resuscitated, attention must be given to education so that our schools open very soon for the sake of our children. The issue of the cost of basic social services such as school fees must be addressed within a very reasonable space of time. Food should be sourced and made readily available. Generally, the Government should look at the standards of living and do something about this.

"We have very high expectations and we expect the Government to start performing sooner rather than later," was the opinion expressed by the president of the chief’s council, Chief Fortune Charumbira.

However, several observers cautioned that any turn around in economic performance and the state of social services delivery would not come on a silver platter and that the real work had only just begun.

Urging Zimbabweans to take full advantage of the spirit of togetherness encapsulated in the formation of an inclusive Government, a number of witnesses to the swearing in said people should not expect too much too soon and a lot of hard work lay ahead.

Chivi North House of Assembly member Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu-PF) counselled, "We must all focus on economic recovery but things might not happen as quickly as we would all like. There is a lot of work that has to be done and no one should expect any miracles.

"We must engage everyone in rebuilding this country and that includes the West, if they want to be a part of this. We have to engage them because of the issues of land and sanctions.

"But the bottom line is that everyone must work. We cannot speak of time frames right now but people must be aware that fully revitalising social services will take quite a bit of time."

The issue of the lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West dominated the presentations made by various leaders at yesterday’s occasion, underscoring the fact that in the presence of the current embargo, economic turn around simply becomes harder to achieve.

Political analyst Dr Tafataona Mahoso surmised the issue thus: "The Government we have is a coalition Government which, nonetheless, must operate in the frame of a crisis. This is a crisis created by sanctions; sanctions, which have killed, are killing, and will continue to kill.

"We have seen their effects in Nicaragua, Yugoslavia and in Iraq where they killed over one million women and children. The most immediate task of the Government is to work on the living conditions of the people because these standards have been damaged by sanctions.

"This is a fact recognised by Sadc at various Summits and the African Union. Zimbabweans do not deserve sanctions and all sectors have been affected.

"It is our hope that the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers and indeed all Zimbabweans speak with one voice in denouncing the sanctions."

The representative for Harare Central constituency in the House of Assembly Mr Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) said he hoped the principals would have a cordial working relationship as this would lay the foundation for progressive engagement in Government that would benefit the nation.

"All Zimbabweans of all walks of life should give this deal a chance. But the people should be patient and adjust their expectations to a realistic level," he said.

He urged the outside world to lend Zimbabwe the assistance and support it required, adding that there was need for "a paradigm shift in mindsets" to end the polarisation characterising communities.

Sanctions must go: Sadc, AU

SADC and Africa yesterday reiterated calls for the removal of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe saying support for the new inclusive Government was needed to revive the economy.

In their congratulatory messages after the swearing-in of Prime Minister Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his two deputies at State House in Harare yesterday, regional and continental leaders were unanimous that the illegal sanctions should be removed to give Zimbabwe a chance to rebuild.

In his message issued in South Africa, President Kgalema Motlanthe — who is the current chair of Sadc — urged Western countries to lift the embargo.

"South Africa reiterates the call for the lifting of sanctions against the country to help create a climate conducive for the reconstruction and development of Zimbabwe," President Motlanthe said in a statement.

He promised that South Africa and the regional bloc would assist Zimbabwe in its economic recovery efforts.

"South Africa and indeed the entire Sadc region stands ready to support the people of Zimbabwe morally, politically and economically as they embark on this difficult path of reconstruction and development of their country," he said.

Sadc-appointed facilitator to the inter-party talks, Cde Thabo Mbeki said the sanctions should be lifted to enable the new Government to confront the challenges facing the country.

"I call for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe. I would like to assure Zimbabweans that we shall continue to be with you," the former South African president said.

Cde Mbeki said the new Government’s work had been clearly spelt out, but the sanctions were a hurdle that should be removed.

He said it was encouraging that Zimbabwean leaders had developed a habit of talking to each other in finding solutions to problems in their country.

African Union Commission chairperson Mr Jean Ping described the formation of the new Government as an important step crucial for the international community to help make the system work.

"I call for the lifting of sanctions and help with humanitarian aid. I also call for help to revive the Zimbabwean economy," said Mr Ping.

He urged the Zimbabwean political parties to put the past behind as a basis for clearing the way for success.

Chairman of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security King Mswati III of Swaziland also appealed for support for the new Government.

"We want the international community to give this new Government the full support and assistance needed to rebuild Zimbabwe. Without international support, Zimbabweans alone cannot succeed in rehabilitating their country," King Mswati said.

He expressed confidence that Zimbabweans are able to work together and find lasting solutions to their problems.

King Mswati said the way forward required Zimbabwean leaders to work very hard so that Zimbabwe takes its rightful position in the region and for the development of Sadc.

He commended Zimbabwean leaders for working with the Sadc Troika in ensuring the inclusive Government came to fruition.

President Motlanthe congratulated Mr Tsvangirai on his inauguration as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister and promised to help the country rebuild.

"The swearing-in of the Prime Minister . . . is an important milestone towards the formation of an inclusive Government in Zimbabwe as the people of Zimbabwe march towards national reconciliation, economic recovery, reconstruction and development," he said.

The European Union welcomed the swearing-in of Mr Tsvangirai and urged the new administration to put the country on the road to recovery.

In a separate statement, EU Development Commissioner Mr Louis Michel said the inclusive Government "has a heavy responsibility to ensure positive change for its citizens".

"All parties within this power-sharing Government must now work, without delay, to immediately improve the social and economic conditions for the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

Zimbabwe’s journey towards recovery "will be long and difficult", he added.

The EU has indicated that the sanctions will remain until the Government ‘‘shows progress’’ in improving respect for human rights.

"We are ready to support the economic and social recovery of Zimbabwe once the new Government shows tangible signs of respect for human rights, the rule of law, and macro-economic stabilisation," read the statement from the 27-nation bloc.

Bury past differences, work for development: Tsvangirai

By Sydney Kawadza
Zimbabwe Herald

ZIMBABWEANS should bury their past differences and work for the development of the nation so that the country’s development capacity can be fully exploited, Prime Minister Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

Addressing a rally at Glamis Stadium soon after being sworn in yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai appealed to Zimbabweans to recognise the need for national unity.

"The parties have pledged, through the swearing-in today, to deliver a new political dispensation. Zvakare ndezvakare. This is the day when we should recognise the efforts for the freedom heroes and democratic heroes.

"Political violence must end. We can no longer afford a situation where brother fights against brother. Impunity must end as we move forward to deliver a new Zimbabwe.

"If we work together, Zimbabwe has the potential to contribute to the world’s economic growth.

"The most important part of this agreement is to make sure that we open a new chapter in this country so that we move forward as a nation," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai pledged his commitment to the agreement saying that his party believed in the broad-based agreement signed in September last year.

"There is no turning back on the agreement. We believe it is imperfect but is workable. If implemented, the new Government can deliver a stable economy and development to the country," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said the new Government would usher in a vision that would guide the nation in creating a society against violence.

He said the parties should put their differences aside and work to promote national healing.

"As we go forward, the first thing we should consider is to heal our nation and this process entails forgiving each other and reconciling the people."

He urged Sadc and the AU to make sure that agreement between the political parties is upheld until the country restores its status in the world.

Mr Tsvangirai said the inclusive Government had a major mandate to attend to the humanitarian situation including the fight against the cholera epidemic, tackling its causes and the urgent need to make sure that the people have food.

"We are going to engage our colleagues in Zanu-PF, chiefs and councillors to make sure that the people get food assistance despite their political allegiance.

"Our mandate is to ease the problems that are currently afflicting our people. It is our duty to provide the much-needed food assistance to the starving masses across the nation," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said all the political parties had a role to play in the development of the nation.

He said the inclusive Government would call for a food summit that would seek, among other issues, incentives to enhance the manufacturing sector and food production in the country.

"I would like to appeal to all the supporters of the different political parties to support us for the nation’s growth.

"We would engage each other including the international community to rebuild the country and re-establish their confidence so that the country gets the much-needed humanitarian assistance.

"However, we should know what we can do for ourselves before the international community can come to our assistance. We have a brave and resourceful human resource base and this should support the leadership, Cabinet and all our efforts in fighting against the problems we face today as a nation," he said.

48 for peacekeeping

FORTY-EIGHT police officers are expected to leave the country for United Nations peacekeeping missions in East Timore and Sudan. Seven police officers have returned from a similar mission in Kosovo.

Of the 48 officers who are to leave the country, 37

will be deployed to East Timore and 11 to Sudan.

Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri urged the officers to continue lifting the country’s flag high.

"I therefore, enjoin you to uphold the characteristics, good name of the Zimbabwe Republic Police during your one-year stint in East Timore and Sudan," said Cde Chihuri in a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Commissioner General Barbara Mandizha, who is responsible for human resources.

Cde Chihuri reminded the officers that the enemies of this country had put their agents all over the world and were always looking for opportunities to discredit them therefore they needed to be disciplined.

The total number of police officers who have been deployed so far in these countries have equaled 115 and 110 respectively and the increasing number of officers is testimony of the profound esteem with which the

United Nations continues to hold the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

She also welcomed the returning officers that have done the nation and the organisation proud through excellent peacekeeping in Kosovo.

The peacekeepers successfully completed their tour of duty in Kosovo. — HR.

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