Tuesday, March 23, 2010

South African President Visits Zimbabwe on Unity Mission

South African President Visits Zimbabwe on Unity Mission

Zuma says parties to resume talks on unresolved issues

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

South African President Jacob Zuma visited Zimbabwe on March 17-18 to continue the negotiating process for the resolution of outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) . The regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) has appointed successive African National Congress (ANC) administrations in Pretoria to work toward a political settlement between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front of President Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movements for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and MDC-Mutambara

One year ago the three parties resolved to form a coalition government with President Mugabe as head of state and Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister. Arthur Mutambara of the MDC-M faction was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister. ZANU-PF has retained control of the security apparatus of the state as well as other major portfolios.

The resolution of all issues between the three parties is a major
concern of SADC and the African Union. The AU has also supported the South African mission to work in conjunction with the Zimbabwean government to maintain stability and foster development inside the former British colony.

After talks on March 18 at a Harare Hotel, President Zuma stated that
“The parties have agreed to a package of measures to be implemented concurrently as per the decision of the SADC Troika in Maputo. I believe the implementation of this package will take the process forward substantially.” ((Zimbabwe Independent, March 19)

Zuma stressed that the parties had agreed to engage in a series of
talks by the end of March. “The leaders have instructed their
negotiating teams to attend to all outstanding matters during their
deliberations on 25, 26 and 29 March and to report back to the
facilitator by 31st March. I will present a comprehensive progress
report to the chairperson of the SADC troika, President Armando
Guebuza of Mozambique.” (Zimbabwe Independent, March 19)

President Guebuza told reporters from the Mozambique Information
Agency (AIM) that he was confident that the political situation in
Zimbabwe was moving towards normalization. The President was speaking in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, during events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the national independence of this Southern African nation.

According to AIM, “Guebuza was speaking after a brief meeting with
South African President Jacob Zuma, who was also attending the
Windhoek ceremonies. Guebuza currently chairs the SADC organ on
political, defense and security cooperation, and his meeting with Zuma served to exchange impressions on the latest developments in Zimbabwe.” (AIM, March 22)

Anniversaries of Zimbabwe and Namibia Independence

Zimbabwe is on the eve of celebrating its 30th anniversary of
independence on April 18. The country won its liberation through a
decades-long movement that culminated with an armed struggle between 1966-1979.

Since 2000 the western imperialist states led by the United States,
the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe after the implementation of a land redistribution program that displaced several thousand British settlers who controlled the agricultural sector of the economy. With the completion of the negotiations for the adoption of a new constitution, leaders hope, will result in the lifting of sanctions.

A ministerial committee on sanctions that was set up last year is
planning to travel to Brussels on April 21 to talk with EU
representatives on the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe. The
committee is comprised of members of ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC-M including Patrick Chinamasa, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Elton Mangoma and Tendai Biti.

Nonetheless, the western imperialist states are maintaining their
sanctions against Zimbabwe. In a recent appeal issued by a group of
activist organizations and public figures, a strong statement for the
lifting of sanctions was made.

Entitled “The Urgency of Lifting US-EU Sanctions on Zimbabwe”, and
initiated by Obi Egbuna, US Correspondent to the Herald of Zimbabwe and Mukasa Dada, formerly of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the statement says that “While the world majority was pleased to see Zimbabwe’s political parties iron out their differences diplomatically, as opposed to resorting to military means, both the British and US Governments have expressed an extreme level of skepticism when addressing this matter.”

This statement continues by pointing out that “The Obama and Brown administrations as well as their EU allies responded to the
establishment of Zimbabwe’s inclusive government, by extending
sanctions against the country for at least one more year, due to their
inability to influence the outcome of the direction Zimbabwe’s
leadership has chosen for its country and people.”

The statement was endorsed by a host of organizations including The Shrine of the Black Madonna of Detroit, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, Prof. Molefi Asante of Temple University, Ms. Cynthia McKinney, former Green Party candidate for president, Prof. Gerald Horne of the University of Houston, Mr. Solomon Comissong, the Assistant Director of the Nyumburu Cultural Center at the University of Maryland, among others.

This appeal indicates that the nation of Zimbabwe enjoys broad-based support inside the United States. Within the progressive community in the U.S., Zimbabwe is viewed within the context of the broader struggle for national liberation and pan-Africanism on the African continent.

Another nation within the Southern African region which is also
celebrating an important anniversary is Namibia, where 20 years ago, the leading South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) took power through an internationally supervised election that resulted from a 23 year armed revolutionary struggle against the occupying apartheid regime in South Africa.

President Mugabe of Zimbabwe arrived in Namibia on March 20 to
participate in the commemorative ceremonies hosted by President
Hifikepunye Pohamba of the ruling party SWAPO. Mugabe was among the 25 leaders expected to visit Namibia for the independence observance who include Presidents Raul Castro of Cuba, Rupiah Bana of Zambia, Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi and Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola.

President Pohamba of Namiba hailed the former leaders of the Southern African countries known as the Frontline States during the
independence war. Pohamba stated that “I am humbled to see so many of our friends, brothers and sisters who represent the international community on this special occasion.“

The Namibian president continued that “Our nation will forever be
grateful to the fact that Namibia gained independence under the banner of international solidarity, freedom and justice. We value the
diplomatic and material support we received at our time of need.”

Recounting the sacrifices of the armed struggle during the period
between the 1960s and the 1980s, Pohamba said that “I am aware that some nationals of the then Frontline States lost their lives as a
result of the war for national liberation. This notwithstanding, our
brothers and sisters stood firm and never wavered.”

Pohamba also said that “We will always be grateful for the invaluable
support we received from them. We fought many battles. We crossed many rivers of blood and we won a decisive victory on 21 March 1990. The vote for freedom and democracy was, and remains, an irreversible choice by all our people.” (Zimbabwe Herald, March 20)

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