Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: ZANU-PF Conference to Review Inclusive Government; WikiLeaks Exposes U.S. Scorn for Western-backed MDC

Conference to review inclusive Govt, constitution-making process

Herald Reporter

The state of the inclusive Government and the ongoing constitution-making process are some of the major issues that will be debated at Zanu-PF’s 11th National People’s Conference in Mutare next month.

The conference will also deliberate on the state of the party and issues agreed on at the Fifth National People’s Congress in Ha-rare last year.

In an interview yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo said the conference would re-invigorate the party.

"We will be looking at the constitution-making process and inter-party dialogue in light of the inclusive politics.

"We will also do a review of what we agreed at our last congress looking on the implementation side," he said.

Cde Gumbo said the conference would look at the party’s financial situation with a view to boost its coffers. More than 5 000 delegates from the party’s 10 provinces will attend and no foreign delegates had been invited.

"This is a People’s Conference and we only invite foreign delegates to a congress.

"The party will be stronger than ever after this conference," Cde Gumbo said.

Preparations for the Manicaland 2010 Expo, which will run concurrently with the conference, are reportedly progressing as scheduled.

Zanu-PF national fundraising committee chairperson Cde Noah Mangondo expressed hope that the Expo would be a resounding success.

"We are still registering companies that want to exhibit during this Expo.

"We have done this at some of our conferences like the one in Goromonzi and in Chinhoyi," he said.

Cde Mangondo could not disclose the number of companies that have so far registered.

He said the Expo would be the best opportunity for companies to showcase their products since the party’s annual event is attracting so many people.

The conference will be held under the theme "Total control of our resources through indigenisation".

US scorns ‘inept’ MDC leadership

Herald Reporters

THE United States failed to effect regime change in Zimbabwe be-cause it was working with a weak MDC party with an inept leadership, leaked classified documents have revealed.

Among 250 000 leaked documents published by Wikileaks on Sunday night is a communication by former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell in which he said there was no "ideal" opposition to Zanu-PF and President Mugabe.

In a scathing assessment of the two MDC formations, Dell said regime change would have been easier to instigate had the parties had more "talent".

The communication — titled "The End is Nigh" — to the US State Department and other diplomatic missions was on July 13, 2007 and gave Dell’s assessment of how the 2008 elections were likely to go.

Dell said MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was, however, useful for American purposes in Zimbabwe.

He lamented: "Zimbabwe’s opposition is far from ideal and I leave convinced that had we had different partners, we could have achie-ved more already.

"But you have to play the hand you’re dealt."

Dell said the MDC leadership had little executive experience and would "require massive hand-holding and assistance should they ever come to power".

Last week, The Herald broke the story that Mr Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister in the inclusive Government, had asked the British to second someone to hold his hand and offer him "technical advice".

Dell described Mr Tsvangirai as a "flawed figure" who was "not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgment in selecting those around him".

"He is the indispensable element for opposition success, but possibly an albatross around their necks once in power.

"In short, he is a kind of Lech Walesa character: Zimbabwe needs him, but should not rely on his executive abilities to lead the country’s recovery."

Walesa, also a former trade unionist, was largely built up by the West to take charge of Polish politics in opposition to communism during the Cold War.

Dell was dismissive of MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara.

"Arthur Mutambara is young and ambitious, attracted to radical, anti-Western rhetoric and smart as a whip.

"But, in many respects he’s a lightweight who has spent too much time reading US campaign messaging manuals and too little thinking about the real issues."

He also took a dig at MDC secretary-general Prof Welshman Ncube.

Dell said he was a "deeply divisive and destructive player in the opposition ranks and the sooner he is pushed off the stage, the better".

The American diplomat wrote of his belief that the sanctions-induced economic malaise would lead more to President Mugabe’s ouster from office than any other single factor — including the MDCs.

He said there was no prospect of the MDCs working together.

Commenting on the party’s October 2005 split, he said this was "a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound".

He said MDC-T had "thin talent" and needed "the great saving grace" from Diaspora professionals, entrepreneurs and businesspersons.

Dell expressed frustration that the MDCs could not co-ordinate activities with NGOs like the National Constitutional Assembly and Women of Zimbabwe Arise.

He said NGOs — many of which are also Western-funded — and the MDCs were "natural allies" with "more reason to work together than fight against each other".

In light of this, he hinted at other prospects for President Muga-be’s removal from office, including a "popular uprising", "Mugabe’s sudden, unexpected death" and a military coup.

He mentioned the possibility of former South African president Thabo Mbeki facilitating a coalition government led by Zanu-PF.

Observers yesterday said the revelations showed the MDCs were mere pawns in the American scheme to direct Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

Others noted the arrogance with which America gave itself the mandate to determine who should lead.

Controversy stalked Dell since his posting to Harare in 2004 until his unceremonious departure in 2007, when he left for Afghanistan where America is bogged down in a military quagmire of its own making.

Before coming to Zimbabwe, Dell had been posted to other places where the US has meddled in internal affairs with disastrous consequences — Kosovo and Angola.

Dell was in October 2005 detained by security forces after trespassing into a restricted area of the National Botanical Gardens, after which he tried to provoke a diplomatic incident.

He also travelled to areas outside the capital without Foreign Affairs clearance as is the norm the world over, and had a brush with the police in Mashonaland Central.

In November 2005, the Government summoned Dell for a dressing down in which he was told to behave or pack his bags.

A similar riot act was read to him and other Western diplomats in March 2007.

Dell left in July 2007 when his term expired. He left without bidding farewell to President Mugabe, as per diplomatic etiquette.

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