Zimbabwe


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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said on Sunday that Zimbabwe’s June 27 presidential run-off election should be postponed to avert a catastrophe in southern Africa.

“There are a lot of unconstitutional things that have been done in this process (election campaign). It will, therefore, not be out of fashion to postpone this election to avert a catastrophe in this region,” Mwanawasa told reporters in Lusaka.

He spoke several hours after Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from the run-off.

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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian security forces are on alert as the country watches the situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe where delayed election results have raised concern about violence.

Defence Minister George Mpombo said the situation in Zimbabwe was worrying although he ruled out immediate post-election violence similar to that in Kenya after a December 27 vote.

“So far the situation in Zimbabwe does not present immediate security risks, but our security is on the usual alert at the moment and we are monitoring the situation closely,” Mpombo told Reuters.

He said there was concern that violence could break out after Zimbabwe announced the result of the election.

“The concern is if there is violence there, we would definitely be affected as a neighbour and we hope they will manage the situation properly,” Mpombo said.

Zambia holds the chairmanship of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which the west accuses of being too soft on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa described Zimbabwe as a “sinking Titanic” last year before quickly softening his stance after he faced isolation by other SADC leaders.

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27 November 2007

Interview With Zenzo Nkomo audio clip

This week’s decision by Zambia Airlines to discontinue service to Harare dealt another blow to Zimbabwe’s battered international image, coming just a month after British Airways flights on the run saying they were no longer economically viable.

image

Zambia Airlines also cited business losses which have been aggravated by the sharp decline of the Zimbabwe dollar reflecting hyperinflation of 15,000% annually.

South African-based political analyst Zenzo Nkomo told reporter Chris Gande of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Zambian carrier’s discontinuation of the Harare-Lusaka route reflects the regional impact of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

Source: Voice Of America

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September 30th, 2007 

By Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com  

NEW YORK — World leaders, CEOs, celebrities and scholars gathered for the opening of the third annual Clinton Global Initiative conference. 

Former President Bill Clinton welcomed the participants from 72 countries and the 52 current and former heads of States who made their way across town from the UN General Assembly. “We are faced with problems that the government is not solving, or the government cannot solve alone,” Clinton said. 

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former US Vice President Al Gore led the opening plenary. They were joined by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Walmart President and CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., Archbishop Emeritus and spiritual leader Desmond Tutu and The World Bank Group President Robert Zeellick. 

Clinton introduced the opening plenary panelists, and prefaced his introduction of President Arroyo. He proudly announced that Arroyo was an old friend and a college classmate at Georgetown University. “We’ve been friends for a long, long time,” Clinton said of Arroyo, “and her country’s economy is on the way up and it’s in a very good shape.” 

The former US president also acknowledged the fact that the Philippines “had its fair share of internal conflict brought about by differences in ideology and religion” and asked Arroyo how her government is trying to promote reconciliation in the country. 

“We have developed a paradigm for peace in Mindanao using both soft and hard power,” Arroyo remarked. Soft power, she explained, is about development, while hard power focused on military efforts to attain peace. 

“We do it through interfaith dialogues to promote lasting peace and political stability in our country,” Arroyo said, and explained that her government has been exerting efforts to deepen understanding among various faiths and cultures particularly in parts of Mindanao. 

The annual meeting is the epicenter for global philanthropy and the forum for people who want to get involved and to make a difference. “We’re here because the world is bedeviled by growing inequality. We’re here because we accept our shared responsibility for correcting our problems and we’re here because we believe we can make a difference,” Clinton said. 

The conference is focused on finding ways to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems such as lack of education, poverty alleviation, global health, energy and climate change. Among the notable attendees were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, tennis star Andre Agassi and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. 

Former Vice President Gore brought in more passion to the plenary by sharing his thoughts and ideas about how the world needs more action, rather than talk. “The US has to lead the world in solving this climate crisis and I challenge President Bush to take that step,” Gore said, “The effort to solve the climate crisis is the key to solving other problems.” 

On the other hand, Archbishop Desmond Tutu brought in the lighter side, nonetheless thought-provoking. “Someone in San Francisco approached me and said, ‘Archbishop Mandela!’,” he said laughing, “two for the price of one.” 

Clinton introduced Tutu, saying that he had one of the best one-liners at the conference last year. The archbishop likened religion to a knife. “You can use it to slice bread, which is good, or you can also use it to slice off your neighbor’s arm, which is bad,” he said. 

Arroyo said that terrorists use religion to cause warfare and that something must be done in order to promote more understanding. President Karzai summed it up, saying that it is the “misuse of religion for political purposes that creates the problems.”

In her closing remark, Arroyo thanked Clinton for the opportunity to share to the world that the Philippines had a 7.5% growth rate in the last quarter. 

The last remark, from Desmond Tutu, capped the opening plenary. “How about us helping God realize His utopian dream? God dreams that we could all live in harmony as members of one family – the gays, the lesbians, the so-called straight…,” he said, as he was cut-off by a thunderous applause, and as the camera panned to Clinton, the former president remarked smiling, “It’s up right there with the knife comment.”  

Meanwhile, according to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Mwanawasa urged countries in the west to redeem themselves before criticizing China for giving more aid to Africa.

Speaking when he answered questions from members of staff of the Clinton Global Initiative, the president said governments in the west were often reluctant to finance development projects in Africa. 

Dr. Mwanawasa said Africa and Zambia in particular is in a hurry to develop and China has come out a dependable partner. The President said very soon, China will embark on a $900 million economic zone project on the Copperbelt where over 60,000 people will be employed.  

The president said also said those wishing to help the country develop are most welcome. On the Zimbawean question, Dr. Mwanawasa reiterated that if Mr Robert Mugabe is not invited to the EU/Africa summit scheduled for Portugal in December, then the whole SADC region will not attend.  

He said the SADC member states strongly feel that isolating Mr. Mugabe was not the answer. Dr. Mwanawasa, who is also the SADC chairman, said the leaders in the region were well resolved to continue engaging Mr. Mugabe in dialogue rather than isolating him as the west would rather do.    

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Mugabe Tantrum at SADC Comes to Light

Business Day (Johannesburg)
 

 

Dumisani Muleya
Johannesburg

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe stormed out of the recent Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit after an explosive clash with Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa during a closed session, it has emerged.

Mugabe’s confrontation with Mwanawasa and his subsequent indignant departure from the meeting raised fears that the already divided regional bloc could be further weakened by further infighting and divisions.

The SADC is riddled with geo-political and personal rivalries among leaders which threaten to make it difficult to deal with internal conflicts and rein in rogue states. Mugabe’s fracas with Mwanawasa was reminiscent of his row with former South African president Nelson Mandela during a SADC meeting in Angola in 1997.

Diplomatic sources who attended the summit revealed this week that Mugabe walked out of the meeting after a row with Mwanawasa over Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis.

The sources said Mugabe went off in a huff after the unprecedented confrontation. Mwanawasa was chairing the meeting, which ended on a sour note.

The wrangle was caused by an attempt by Mwanawasa to table Zimbabwe for discussion, a move which enraged Mugabe.

Mugabe arrived home early looking glum after hurriedly leaving the summit. Upon his return, he said the meeting went well but made it clear his regime would continue with its own programmes, regardless of what the SADC leaders were saying.

The SADC said it was preparing an economic recovery package for Zimbabwe, but Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba, said in his anonymous column in the government-controlled daily Herald that Zimbabwe did not need help from the region because “no aid cent will come from SADC countries”, reflecting Mugabe’s attitude after the summit.

This was contrary to President Thabo Mbeki’s claims that there were no divisions over Zimbabwe at the summit and that the SADC was committed to helping Zimbabwe out of its crisis. He had described reports of division as “fictional” and said SADC leaders were not at odds over Zimbabwe.

But information gleaned from senior SADC diplomats indicates there were not just divisions, but a fierce clash between Mugabe and Mwanawasa that left the regional leaders shocked. They say the trouble started after Mbeki del-ivered his report on talks between the Zimbabwean ruling party Zanu (PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mbeki had earlier given the report to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the chairman of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security. Mbeki briefed the summit on Zimbabwe in his capacity as an SADC-appointed mediator .

Mbeki said in his briefing there was progress in the talks, although parties needed to intensify negotiations.

“After Mbeki delivered his report to the summit, Mwanawasa, as the chair of the meeting, said there was an urgent need to discuss Zimbabwe because the situation there had become ‘unacceptable’.

Kikwete said there was no need to discuss it because talks were in progress and Mbeki concurred,” a senior diplomat said. “Kikwete then suggested Mugabe should be asked what he thought about Mwanawasa’s proposal.

When Mugabe was given the platform to speak he launched an angry tirade, attacking Mwanawasa left, right and centre before walking out in protest.”

The diplomat said Mugabe angrily asked: “Who are you, Mwanawasa? Who are you? Who do you think you are?”

“Mugabe also said he was aware of Mwanawasa’s recent meetings with western intelligence agencies on Zimbabwe. He said he would ‘not allow Mwanawasa to sell out Zimbabwe as he has done to Zambia’,” the diplomat said.

“During the process Mwanawasa was shaken and he kept on saying: ‘Mr President I didn’t mean to say that; you misunderstood me. No, Mr President, that was not my intention’ .”

Sources said Mugabe, after blasting Mwanawasa, walked out and did not return.

Efforts by colleagues – including Kikwete and Mbeki – to persuade him to return to the meeting failed.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200709070163.html

 

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Mundia Sikatana, facing camera

LUSAKA – Zambia’s sacked foreign minister, Mundia Sikatana has refuted President Levy Mwanawasa’s assertion that his health was failing.

Sikatana told reporters over the weekend that he was very fit and that he was forced out because of his on how to handle such issues as the Zimbabwe crisis for which the president is backing down from his previous criticism of President Robert Mugabe’s policies that have plunged Zambia’s once prosperous southern neighbour into a basket case. 

However, Sikatana continued criticizing Mugabe and his own boss whom he recently told to “let your attention be on Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are flocking looking for food in the region”. 

Mwanawasa, who recently took over as SADC chairman, sacked his foreign minister and close ally saying his health appears to be failing but without giving a concrete reason for the move. 

Mwanawasa said in a statement released to state media that Sikatana had been sacked with immediate effect. 

“I very much regret that I am terminating your services as minister of foreign affairs with immediate effect,” Mwanawasa said in excerpts of his letter to Sikatana contained in the statement. 

Mwanawasa said Sikatana, a nominated member of parliament, would retain his parliamentary seat until it is revoked. 

But Sikatana told reporters he had turned down the offer to remain in parliament because it was not an effective use of his time. 

Mwanawasa replaced Sikatana with Tourism Minister Kabinga Pande and promoted his deputy, Michael Kaingu, as tourism minister. 

Sikatana also accused the government of Sudan in July of complicating the crisis in the Darfur region, a no-no in African politics where brother regimes are criticized at one’s peril. 

http://thesouthernafrican.com/news/african_news/zambian_minister_fired_over_zimbabwe_crisis_20070903_1692_83.html

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It is saddening to note that the Heads of States for the SADC region failed to hold Mugabe to the fire at the just ended symposium. Instead they characterized him as a champion in the fight against white supremacies.

(watch video above as Zimbabweans demonstrate in London recently)

 While it is true that whites have done some very dissolute things the world over against other races in their quest for power and wealth in the past, there have also been times when they meant well for the sake of common good, especially the Brits at least.

Mugabe can’t hide being racial remarks as a cover-up for the British led embargo and sanctions this time around.

We actually think that the Brits of all people have been impartial in their application of justice when it comes to then Southern Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe.

(Mugabe above with wife Grace at the SADC Summit in Lusaka last week)

In 1965, then British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson declared sanctions against Salisbury because Ian Smith was threatening Zambian sovereignty using economic saboteur tactics. Ian Smith was worried that the moderate Kenneth Kaunda would be very instrumental in helping black Zimbabwean’s get their independence from his white minority government.

Ian figured that if he cut off power at Kariba since he controlled the turbines and generators of the giant Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River, the Copperbelt – Zambia’s economic engine then would ground to a halt and he did.

Dr. Kaunda told the Brits he would ask the Russian for military help and Prime Minister Wilson offered help instead. He (Wilson) offered to send a token force—a squadron of R.A.F. fighters and a battalion of the Royal Scots—to the Copperbelt.

(Ian Smith on cover of Time Magazine issue, December 1965)

President Kaunda accepted the air protection (Zambia only had ten military aircraft of its own), but rejected the offer of troops unless they were sent directly to the dam. Not quite so funny were the new economic sanctions that Wilson slapped on then Rhodesia.

In addition to the embargo on Rhodesian tobacco and sugar (the nation’s major crops), Britain also banned imports of asbestos (a $30 million export item annualized), copper, lithium, chrome, iron, steel and meat.

That made the embargo 95% complete. Simultaneously, Wilson ordered a halt to interest payments, dividends and pensions from Britain to Rhodesian residents, thus damming a flow of income that totaled some $25 million the previous year.

Sir Harold Wilson even outlawed Rhodesia’s bright new independence postal stamp as British postage. The Brits did all this against their own white brothers because then Ian Smith was attacking Zambia’s economic sovereignty and interests; it made world news that Time Magazine carried this as a cover story in their Friday, December 10, 1965 issue.

This white supremacy crap we are getting from Mugabe can only hold water to those without a deep understanding of history. What is needed is a consented effort to force Mugabe to do the right things for the Zimbabwean Enterprise.

(Sir Harold Wilson – Former British Prime Minister)

Mugabe needs to respect human rights, he needs to respect the tenets of democracy and he needs to do things in the interest of the common Zimbabwean. No country has ever survived by not paying attention to their own issues face on and inflation at 4500% is simply unconscionable.

(watch video above as Levy declared Zim a Sinking Titanic)

classy-daddy-3.gifA few months ago, President Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. called the Zimbabwean crisis for want it was “a sinking Titanic” and the torn was right then and should be amplified now; that’s the memo this week from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

(you can read the full article from Time Magazine in the comments column below)

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

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