Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Inclusive Government Leaders Meet Amid Tensions; MDC-T Must Campaign for the Lifting of Sanctions

GPA chiefs meet amid tension

Zimbabwe Herald Reporter

Principals to the Global Political Agreement met in Harare yesterday amid reports of mounting tension in the inclusive Government with the parties accusing each other of failing to fulfil their various obligations.

Sources said the meeting was held against the background of one party being accused of trying to use the GPA and the inclusive Government as a "vehicle to oust President Mugabe".

This was after MDC-T on Saturday issued a statement saying Zanu-PF was on a "journey to oblivion" while their path was "irreversible".

At yesterday’s routine meeting between President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara, the negotiators were called to discuss issues affecting the functioning of the inclusive Government.

Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity Mr George Charamba yesterday confirmed that the negotiators were called in, but refused to shed light on what was discussed.

He also declined to say why negotiators — Ministers Nicholas Goche, Patrick Chinamasa, Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma — had to be summoned.

"It was a routine Monday meeting, but there was a slighter variation as it was expanded to incorporate the negotiators," he said.

Mr Charamba declined to comment when asked if the meeting had discussed escalating tension following the issuance of statements by Zanu-PF and MDC-T over the past week accusing each other of not meeting their ends of the bargain under the GPA.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Nelson Chamisa also refused to comment on what exactly took place in yesterday’s meeting and what necessitated the summoning of the negotiators.

However, informed sources last night told The Herald that MDC-T stood accused of approaching the inclusive Government as a "vehicle for President Mugabe’s ouster and not as an opportunity to rebuild the country".

This followed a statement by Zanu-PF’s supreme decision-making body outside of congress, the Politburo, last week that MDC-T had not done anything to have the illegal Western sanctions that the party called for lifted.

The Politburo also said MDC-T had not campaigned for pirate radio stations to stop broadcasting hate messages into the country.

In turn, MDC-T accused Zanu-PF of not doing enough to push forward the agenda of coming up with a new constitution and the re-assignment of gubernatorial seats.

"Zanu-PF believes that MDC-T has displayed insincerity for some time now. They say MDC-T officials (names supplied) held a rally in Manicaland at the weekend in which they told their supporters that they would use the inclusive Government to remove President Mugabe.

"This worsened things because just the other week senior officials (names supplied) told a victory celebration rally in the same province that they did not recognise President Mugabe.

"They made outrageous claims that they were in Government to take over and remove President Mugabe," the source said.

The statement issued by PM Tsvangirai’s party over the weekend, the source said, had particularly angered Zanu-PF because it made it clear that "MDC-T was in the inclusive Government for its own objectives and not for the national interest".

A source at MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare yesterday said the party was disenchanted by the lack of progress on the constitution-making process.

"The party leadership feels that enough has not been done on the issue of a constitution and they want to see more progress. That is one of the matters that were taken to the principals’ meeting," he said.

He said the other issue was "the appointment of provincial governors and to change the leadership at the Reserve Bank and the Attorney-General’s Office".

Last week, the Politburo issued a statement saying: "It is now six months since the formations of the inclusive Government and Zanu-PF leaders as well as their families are still inhibited to visit Europe, United States of America, as indeed in respect of their children to go to school in these countries.

"This does not apply to any member of the MDC-T and MDC-M who are free to roam the world while the country as well as those regarded as sympathetic to Zanu-PF, continue to be subjected to a regime of brutal illegal sanctions."

On Saturday MDC-T released its own statement saying the illegal sanctions were a result "of Zanu-PF’s past sins" and that the onus was on President Mugabe’s party to have the embargo lifted.

This is despite MDC-T leader PM Tsvangirai agreeing in the GPA to campaign for the lifting of the widely discredited measures.

The tension between the two parties was apparent in MDC-T’s call for Zanu-PF "to morph itself into a civilised party".

MDC-T said "Zanu-PF’s journey to oblivion" had gathered momentum, raising fears among observers that the party was intent on using the arrangement for personal gain.

MDC-T must call for removal of sanctions

EDITOR — MDC-T advocated for the imposition of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, and they must agitate for the lifting of the sanctions.

The sanctions precipitated the crisis that we find ourselves in today. The MDC-T leadership wanted people to believe that Zanu-PF had destroyed the economy. Some people were gullible and believed them because the economy was on its knees.

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai globetrotted canvassing for sanctions in a bid to abet his political ambitions. Because they believed that sanctions would see the end of President Mugabe, former US ambassador Christopher Dell even predicted in 2007 that Zanu-PF would be out of power in six months. He left Zimbabwe a bitter man.

Zanu-PF is a tried and tested party with tried and tested leaders who fought the same forces who want to remove it through the destruction of the economy.

Who called on South Africa in 2002 to cut electricity and fuel supplies to Zimbabwe?

Now the same man goes to South Africa under the guise of meeting President Zuma to complain about ‘‘outstanding’’ issues in the GPA, yet he wanted to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I do not know whether Tsvangirai went to South Africa as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe or leader of the MDC-T, because if he went as PM he should have informed his partners in Government.

Now we hear another minister from the same party was assaulted and robbed in Mutumwa Mawere’s house and again I wonder why he did not inform the South African authorities of his visit so they could give him VIP protection.

Campion Mereki.

Consensus critical for our national healing to succeed

By Olley Maruma

I FIND the current debate on Revisionism in Zimbabwe very interesting.

If Zimbabwe is going to go through any process of national healing, there has to be a national consensus about where it is coming from and where it is going to. Until that happens, our youth will become more and more confused about who are our national heroes and heroines, our core national values, or what distinguishes us as a nation from all other nations.

Some years ago, I wrote an article for The Herald arguing that our education system was miseducating our children by trying to turn them into caricatures of black English men and women, thereby abetting a former colonial system and process, which Franz Fanon had identified as the root problem of the alienation of the African mind.

Borrowing the words of his fellow countryman, the poet, politician, Aimé Casairé, Fanon wrote: "I am talking of millions of men who have been skilfully injected with fear, inferiority complexes, trepidation, servility, despair, abasement."

The results are there for all to see now. The chickens have come to roost. We now have a generation of leaders and politicians, who are so alienated from the history of the liberation struggle, they have no shame in trying to convince the world and the people of Zimbabwe that their violent demonstrations and destruction of public buildings at education institutions where their higher education was being paid for by tax revenues from factory workers, were "heroic acts" against "the dictator Mugabe", completely forgetting that if Mugabe and his "cronies" had not risked their lives for these people’s freedom, they might still be impoverished peasants in forgotten outposts around Zimbabwe.

We have a generation of Zimbabweans who, with no sense of shame whatsoever, proclaim that a very promising young politician, but with very poor mentoring, should be declared a national hero after he was driven by insane jealousy to butcher his young wife by stabbing her 13 times and then leaving her to die at the gate of his home, when he could still have saved her life by rushing her to hospital.

To cap it all, he did not have the guts to face up to his deeds, so he committed suicide! We have a generation of youths who think that they can equate the calibre of this man to that of teenagers, who gave up their education and livelihoods to go and fight for the freedom of their country, not knowing whether they would live long enough to enjoy that freedom, or where they would get their food, shelter and clothes!

Zimbabwe, what sort of values are we going to have as a nation if we have such embarrassing dissonance and scatter-brained thinking in our youth and national discourse? What can be built by people with such a skewed perspective of sacrifice, honour and integrity?

There is no doubt at all that Revisionism and a readiness to challenge official explanations of past events has its place in the evolution of history and national discourse. Every war in history has been followed in due course by sceptical reassessments of supposedly sacred assumptions. Revisionism is an essential part of the process by which history, through the posing of new problems and the investigation of new possibilities, enlarges its perspectives and enriches its insights.

In the United States, revisionists have played an important part in the evolution of that country’s history because its people realise that it was mainly white males of the power elite who had the means to attend college, become professional historians, and shape a view of history that served their own class, race, and gender interests at the expense of those not so fortunate.

In this process, these men were not averse to literally papering over aspects of history they found unpalatable. "One is astonished in the study of history," wrote Du Bois in 1935, "at the recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten, distorted, skimmed over . . . The difficulty, of course, with this philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive and an example; it paints perfect men and noble nations, but it does not tell the truth."

Anyone who has studied European history, as all colonised Africans were forced to, knows that it is possible to read about an event from completely different perspectives. In the Battle of Waterloo, most British, French, Dutch and German schoolbooks slant the battle to emphasise the importance of the contribution of their own nations.

Sometimes the name of an event is used to convey a political or a national perspective.

For example, in one English-speaking country, the revolt of the American settlers against the British crown is called the American War of Independence, while in another it is called the American Revolutionary War. As perceptions of nationalism change so do those areas of history that are driven by such ideas.

The Battle of Agincourt was for centuries believed to be an engagement in which the English army, though overwhelmingly outnumbered four to one by the French army, pulled off a stunning victory — a version especially popularised by Shakespeare’s play Henry V.

However, recent research using the original enrolment records has brought into question this interpretation, providing ineluctable evidence that the French only outnumbered the English and Welsh by 12 000 to 8 000. If true, the numbers may have been exaggerated for patriotic reasons by the English.

Revisionism should not, however, be used as an excuse by people who were too cowardly to join the liberation struggle to belittle the contributions of those who were prepared to pay the supreme sacrifice for the dignity of freedom of their country. It should not be used by those who were sellouts during the days of colonial racist rule to sanctify their perfidy and collaboration with those who were killing Africans for refusing to live as serfs in their own country.

It should not be used as an excuse by people of dubious pasts and questionable backgrounds to try and reinvent themselves as the "new heroes" of Zimbabwe. A nation built on such lies and self-delusion does not know where it is coming from nor where it is going.

Such a nation has no roots. Such a nation has no future. Anyone can reinvent its history and destroy its monuments, its achievements and heritage in order to accommodate its "new heroes".

Expelled MDC MPs to appeal

Herald Reporter

EXPELLED MDC Members of Parliament said they were appealing to the Supreme Court against a High Court decision last week dismissing their application to have their disciplinary case reviewed.

In an interview at the weekend the trio’s lawyer, Mr Thamsanqa Khumalo said he had already started preparing court papers he will file at the Supreme Court to stop Parliament from ejecting his clients.

The MDC MPs expelled from the party were Bulilima East Member of House of Assembly, Mr Norman Mpofu, Nkayi South Member of House of Assembly, Mr Abednico Bhebhe, Lupane East, MP, Mr Njabuliso Mguni after the party's disciplinary committee found them guilty of misconduct last month.

This prompted the trio to approach the High Court to stop Parliament from ejecting them from the House after the party’s secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube wrote to the Speaker of House of Assembly, Mr Lovemore Moyo to declare their seats vacant.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda dismissed their case last Friday on the basis that it was not urgent.

But Mr Khumalo said his clients would not give up the fight until they get justice.

"We will be filing our papers on Tuesday (today) because we believe my clients have prospects of success on appeal. The judge seriously misdirected himself and we will have to appeal despite the fact that the judge had not given his reasons," said Mr Khumalo.

"We cannot wait until my clients have suffered injury arising from the High Court judgment, I now have full instructions from my clients to appeal."

When contacted for comment, Clerk of Parliament, Mr Austin Zvoma declined to comment, saying a full statement will be issued today on the fate of the legislators.

The sacked lawmakers, however, have continued attending parliament sessions and yesterday, Mr Bhebhe chaired the parliamentary portfolio committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism.

The MDC disciplinary committee chaired by Mr Lyson Mlambo expelled the three legislators last month after they walked out of the hearing arguing the committee was not improperly constituted.

Tsholotsho South Member of House of Assembly Mr Maxwell Dube and Gwanda North Member of House of Assembly Mr Thandeko Mnklandla escaped with a caution.

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