Thursday, 27 September 2007

Robert G Mugabe: On the occasion of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 26 September, 2007

Your Excellency, President of the 62ndSession of the United Nations General Assembly,
Mr. Srgjan Kerim,

Your Majesties,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Your Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Mr. President,

Allow me to congratulate you on your election to preside over this august assembly. We are confident that through your stewardship, issues on this 62nd Session agenda be dealt with in a balanced manner and to the satisfaction of all.

Let me also pay tribute to your predecessor, Madame Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, who steered the work of the 61st Session in a very competent and impartial manner.

Her ability to identify the crucial issues facing the world today will be remembered as the hallmark of her presidency.

Mr. President,

We extend our hearty welcome to the new Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who has taken up this challenging job requiting dynamism in confronting the global challenges of the 21st Century. Balancing global interests and steering the United Nations in a direction that gives hope to the multitudes of the poor, the sick, the hungry and the marginalized, is indeed a mammoth task. We would like to assure him that Zimbabwe will continue to support an open, transparent and all-inclusive multilateral approach in dealing with these global challenges.

Mr. President,

Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues of our time. Its negative impact is greatest in developing countries, particularly those on the African continent. We believe that if the international community is going to seriously address the challenges of climate change, then we need to get our priorities right. In Zimbabwe, the effects of climate change have become more evident in the past decade as we have witnessed increased and recurrent droughts as well as occasional floods, leading to enormous humanitarian challenges.

Mr. President,

We are for a United Nations that recognises the equality of sovereign nations and peoples whether big or small. We are averse to a body in which the economically and militarily powerful behave like bullies, trampling on the rights of weak and smaller states as sadly happened in Iraq. In the light of these inauspicious developments, this Organisation must surely examine the essence of its authority and the extent of its power when challenged in this manner.

Such challenges to the authority of the UN and its Charter underpin our repeated call for the revitalisation of the United Nations General Assembly, itself the most representative organ of the UN. The General Assembly should be more active in all areas including those of peace and security. The encroachment of some U.N. organs upon the work of the General Assembly is of great concern to us. Thus any process of revitalizing or strengthening of the General Assembly should necessarily avoid eroding the principle of the accountability of all principal and subsidiary organs to the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

Once again we reiterate our position that the Security Council as presently constituted is not democratic. In its present configuration, the Council has shown that it is not in a position to protect the weaker states who find themselves at loggerheads with a marauding super-power. Most importantly, justice demands that any Security Council reform redresses the fact that Africa is the only continent without a permanent seat and veto power in the Security Council. Africa's demands are known and enunciated in the Ezulwini consensus.

Mr. President,

We further call for the U.N. system to refrain from interfering in matters that are clearly the domain of member states and are not a threat to international peace and security. Development at country level should continue to be country-led, and not subject to the whims of powerful donor states.

Mr President,

Zimbabwe won its independence on 18th April, 1980, after a protracted war against British colonial imperialism which denied us human rights and democracy. That colonial system which suppressed and oppressed us enjoyed the support of many countries of the West who were signatories to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Even after 1945, it would appear that the Berlin Conference of 1884, through which Africa was parcelled to colonial European powers, remained stronger than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is therefore clear that for the West, vested economic interests, racial and ethnocentric considerations proved stronger than their adherence to principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The West still negates our sovereignties by way of control of our resources, in the process making us mere chattels in out own lands, mere minders of its trans-national interests. In my own country and other sister states in Southern Africa, the most visible form of this control has been over land despoiled from us at the onset of British colonialism.

That control largely persists, although it stands firmly challenged in Zimbabwe, thereby triggering the current stand-off between us and Britain, supported by her cousin states, most notably the United States and Australia. Mr Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr Brown's sense of human rights precludes our people's right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists.

Mr President,

Clearly the history of the struggle for out own national and people's rights is unknown to the president of the United States of America. He thinks the Declaration of Human Rights starts with his last term in office! He thinks she can introduce to us, who bore the brunt of fighting for the freedoms of our peoples, the virtues of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What rank hypocrisy!

Mr President,

I lost eleven precious years of my life in the jail of a white man whose freedom and well- being I have assured from the first day of Zimbabwe's Independence. I lost a further fifteen years fighting white injustice in my country.

Ian Smith is responsible for the death of well over 50 000 of my people. I bear scars of his tyranny which Britain and America condoned. I meet his victims everyday. Yet he walks free. He farms free. He talks freely, associates freely under a black Government. We taught him democracy. We gave him back his humanity.

He would have faced a different fate here and in Europe if the 50 000 he killed were Europeans. Africa has not called for a Nuremberg trial against the white world which committed heinous crimes against its own humanity. It has not hunted perpetrators of this genocide, many of whom live to this day, nor has it got reparations from those who offended against it. Instead it is Africa which is in the dock, facing trial from the same world that persecuted it for centuries.

Let Mr. Bush read history correctly. Let him realise that both personally and in his representative capacity as the current President of the United States, he stands for this "civilisation" which occupied, which colonised, which incarcerated, which killed. He has much to atone for and very little to lecture us on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His hands drip with innocent blood of many nationalities.

He still kills.

He kills in Iraq. He kills in Afghanistan. And this is supposed to be out master on human rights?

He imprisons.

He imprisons and tortures at Guantanamo. He imprisoned and tortured at Abu Ghraib. He has secret torture chambers in Europe. Yes, he imprisons even here in the United States, with his jails carrying more blacks than his universities can ever enroll. He even suspends the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Take Guantanamo for example; at that concentration camp international law does not apply. The national laws of the people there do not apply. Laws of the United States of America do not apply. Only Bush's law applies. Can the international community accept being lectured by this man on the provisions of the universal declaration of human rights? Definitely not!

Mr President, We are alarmed that under his leadership, basic rights of his own people and those of the rest of the world have summarily been rolled back. America is primarily responsible for rewriting core tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We seem all guilty for 9/11. Mr. Bush thinks he stands above all structures of governance, whether national or international.

At home, he apparently does not need the Congress. Abroad, he does not need the UN, international law and opinion. This forum did not sanction Blair and Bush's misadventures in Iraq. The two rode roughshod over the UN and international opinion. Almighty Bush is now corning back to the UN for a rescue package because his nose is bloodied! Yet he dares lecture us on tyranny. Indeed, he wants us to pray him! We say No to him and encourage him to get out of Iraq. Indeed he should mend his ways before he clambers up the pulpit to deliver pieties of democracy.

Mr President,

The British and the Americans have gone on a relentless campaign of destabilising and vilifying my country. They have sponsored surrogate forces to challenge lawful authority in my country. They seek regime change, placing themselves in the role of the Zimbabwean people in whose collective will democracy places the right to define and change regimes.

Let these sinister governments be told here and now that Zimbabwe will not allow a regime change authored by outsiders. We do not interfere with their own systems in America and Britain. Mr Bush and Mr Brown have no role to play in our national affairs. They are outsiders and mischievous outsiders and should therefore keep out! The colonial sun set a long time ago; in 1980in the case of Zimbabwe, and hence Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never!

We do not deserve sanctions. We are Zimbabweans and we know how to deal with our problems. We have done so in the past, well before Bush and Brown were known politically. We have our own regional and continental organizations and communities.

In that vein, I wish to express my country's gratitude to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who, on behalf of SADC, successfully facilitated the dialogue between the Ruling Party and the Opposition Parties, which yielded the agreement that has now resulted in the constitutional provisions being finally adopted. Consequently, we will be holding multiple democratic elections in March 2008. Indeed we have always had timeous general and presidential elections since our independence.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, let me stress once more that the strength of the United Nations lies in its universality and impartiality as it implements its mandate to promote peace and security, economic and social development, human rights and international law as outlined in the Charter. Zimbabwe stands ready to play its part in all efforts and programmes aimed at achieving these noble goals.

I thank you.

Monday, 24 September 2007

SADC and the AU tells Gordon Brown to fuck off.

Southern African nations on Monday lined up behind Robert Mugabe in a row over whether the Zimbabwean president would be invited to an EU-Africa summit in December, saying they would boycott the event if he was banned.

The meeting in Lisbon would be the first in seven years. Plans for an EU-Africa summit in 2003 were put on hold after Britain and other EU states refused to attend if Mugabe did. They accuse him of rights abuses and rigging elections.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last week it would be inappropriate for him to attend if Mugabe was present because the Zimbabwean leader would divert attention from important aspects of the agenda.

But leaders of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have warned the summit could be scuttled if the Zimbabwean leader, who is barred from travelling to parts of Western Europe as a result of targeted sanctions, was not invited.

In an interview with Reuters, Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister Alcide Abreu said her government agreed with the SADC position that Mugabe must be invited to take part.

"We support African strategies," Abreu said in a telephone interview in the Mozambican capital Maputo. "We support the position taken by the leadership of these bodies (SADC and AU)."

Zimbabwe is facing many problems resulting from sabotage by Britain and other western nations upset over the land reform.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Gordon Brown: When the Scottish and Rhodesian factors meld

Gordon Brown: When the Scottish and Rhodesian factors meld

The one vital connection which commentators have not made is the advent of the Scottish moment in British politics, and this to manage the increasingly bellicose, irredentist feeling in that part of the so-called United Kingdom.

Both PM Gordon Brown and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Menzies Campbell, are Scottish, the same way Ian Douglas Smith — that most reviled architect of Rhodesia’s UDI — is.

Even Michael Moore, the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesperson, has strong Scottish association, even though he was born in Northern Ireland. So does Malcolm Rifkind, even though he is a Jew with strong family ties with Zionist Israel. I could go on and on, illustrating for you the basis for what I have termed the Scottish moment in British politics.

Short’s so long a letter

But there is another factor in British politics which equally is often unacknowledged. This is the Rhodesian factor which, from the demise of UDI in 1980, has sought worldwide influence, especially in the white world where it is quite entrenched.

I have already made reference to Malcolm Rifkind, himself John Major’s last foreign minister before the political birth and spread of the English TB. Rifkind had something to do with Major’s seven-man 1996 team which made a case for Britain’s continued funding for Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.

I am referring to the report which TB, through his equally contagious Clare Short -- then Secretary of State for International Development — proceeded to repudiate in 1997, once Labour ascended to No. 10.

"We do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchases in Zimbabwe. We are a new government from diverse backgrounds without links in former colonial interests.

"My own origins are Irish and, as you know, we were colonised not colonisers."

The timing could not have been worse. That same November when the blunt letter was written and delivered, Zanu-PF was gathered in Mutare for its Second Annual People’s Conference, itself too charged a setting for an incident-free postal delivery of such a terrible message. The rest is history.

I notice Dominic Lawson of the Independent admitted a few days ago that the letter itself was "astonishingly ill-judged", adding "it would have been hard to construct a letter more skilfully designed to enrage Mugabe — or even a man with a much thicker skin than the Zimbabwean leader".

He gets even more damning than Manheru: "Short’s amazing assertion — that because her family was of Irish stock there was no need to honour a commitment to Zimbabwe entered into by a previous British government — was an inimitable mixture of shamelessness and sanctimony."

Except his article does no better than Short’s letter, arguing, as it does, for action predicated on the very assumptions that made Short’s letter such a brazen obscenity.

Newsroom diplomacy

But my focus is not Short’s very long letter, important though it is. Nor is it on Lawson, much as it is quite tempting to see him as an extension of No. 10 Downing Street.

I mean if you have a whole Head of Government who uses the newsroom to address his colleagues in Portugal and the whole EU, surely the conduit for interstate communication shifts from the guarded diplomatic pouch to! My focus is on the Rhodesian factor.

Rifkind was in Rhodesia in the 1970s, and still prides himself for teaching one of Zimbabwe’s former finance ministers at the then University of Rhodesia. As a conservative, it is not difficult to decipher his politics then.

He was for UDI. Clearly, the fact of having done a thesis on Southern Rhodesia’s Land Apportionment Act did not quite help Rifkind appreciate the African struggle for land in the then Rhodesia. Or in Zimbabwe which he seeks to deal with now.

Significantly, he is in the forefront of agitating for the restoration of white land rights in Zimbabwe, an eventuality he legitimises through an anti-Mugabe democracy verbiage. He personifies the opposition Conservatives’ connection with Zimbabwean politics here.

Well, if you want more, you can recall Lord Acton — sickly Judith Todd’s brief or short-term in-laws — who still have vast land interests here.

Quite a number of Conservatives have direct connections to Rhodesia’s white elite which then gets dismantled by Mugabe’s land reform. They share in white anger arising from that drastic but belated measure by Mugabe.

Now the other Brown and Annan

But there is a more direct link. Gordon Brown’s Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the United Nations — George Mark Malloch Brown — is the other white Rhodesian boy with roots in South Africa (which Rhodesian did not have a South African connection?).

He thrived under UDI here until he left for his overseas studies. He grew very close to the British establishment, attested to by his tenure at the Economist, the World Bank and the UN, where he rose to become Deputy Secretary General with special duties in Kofi Annan’s office, on the diplomatic ticket of Britain.

We can say it now: Annan’s funny behaviour in respect of the Zimbabwe issue largely owed to this one man, aided, of course, by Pandergast, another Rhodesian boy at the UN. Blair hoped to use this important connection to haul Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council.

Malloch Brown’s Asian connection, which he now seeks to use to leverage China against Zimbabwe, stems from his role as Corazon Aquino’s campaign manager, against Ferdinand Marcos, as well as an official of the UN refugee agency in Asia. He also dabbled in Chile’s politics. More important, he is intimate with George Soros (he rented Soros’ apartment in New York!), the godfather of Open Society for Southern Africa (OSISA) which is active in subverting Zimbabwe’s establishment for Anglo-American interests. He is no stranger to the politics and schemes of regime change.

Moore at Chatham

I made reference to Michael Moore, who has been part of this week’s anti-Zimbabwe hype. He connects with Zimbabwe’s politics via the Westminster Foundation, itself the first public vehicle for an all-British party funding of the MDC. For three years, he was vice-chairman of this notorious foundation. He is also on the council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, or Chatham House, as it is popularly known. Chatham House was key to defining the British response to Mugabe’s land reform challenge.

Against all this, it passes for precious little surprise that British Embassy’s Dare warns Zimbabwe against any policy shift with the change of guard at No. 10. She is referring to Rhodesia’s countervailing influence at Whitehall. As India’s lost daughter, she obviously is familiar with the long hand of the Raj.

Britain and coup politics

But still there are surprises within the expected. We can make more disclosures. Between the March 11 MDC debacle and Blair’s departure, Blair’s system was busy urging Don McKinnon and his Commonwealth to prepare to admit Zimbabwe back into the Commonwealth, albeit under a military leader.

The Commonwealth protested feebly, reminding the British establishment the Club’s credibility was already suffering from the Musharaff case. In the end, McKinnon did little else except to prepare for that admission, once it would have arrived.

The British were planning and hoping for a coup here. They still hope for one, ask the Swedish ambassador who still expects something to happen this October. I have made repeated oblique reference to this fact. Of course, Blair left; Mugabe remains in office; Zimbabwe is under a constitutional government, its soldiers quite professionally well behaved, and in the barracks.

Soon after Brown’s takeover, again another session was held with McKinnon’s people, this time to warn them to prepare for a shift of policy on Zimbabwe. Brown, the Club was told, intended to take a softer line on Zimbabwe eventually leading to a resolution which would not cost Britain a face. The Commonwealth could help by helping with toning down the anti-Zimbabwe shrill in the British media, themselves real impediments to a policy U-turn, the Brown team told the Club officials.

Brown as hostage

Except this indication caused consternation within the ranks of Labour itself and the

Conservatives, which is why Zimbabwe came under very serious debate soon after Blair’s departure, all meant to forestall any policy change. Thanks to the Rhodesian lobby, Brown’s officials were upstaging him, indeed prepossessing his Zimbabwe policy, leaving him and his policies thoroughly discoloured and wilting. His piece in the Independent, far from suggesting a contemplative and deliberative leadership, does in fact reveal a wimp at the helm, a man so firmly circumscribed by Blair’s machinery to cause little worries of policy change at No.10.

A time like this?

Let me validate the point. Gordon Brown could not have chosen a worse ill-timed moment for announcing a toughened stance against President Mugabe. On the ground, the Mbeki initiative had just announced a major breakthrough in cobbling some working amity between Zanu-PF and both splinters of the MDC.

Economically, the Zanu-PF government was announcing a major breakthrough regarding taming inflation and resolving the whole pricing imbroglio. Socially, Zimbabwe’s declining HIV infection rate was echoing as reduced infant mortality. And a South African research think-tank at an Afrikaner university had just indicated the threat of immigrants from Zimbabwe to South Africa had been overstated to the level of being a hoax.

Within its own belly, Britain’s Commonwealth Secretary General – himself no darling of Zanu-PF — and Britain’s think-tank, the International Crisis Group, were announcing possibilities of a breakthrough, and counselling against megaphone diplomacy or isolating Mugabe.

Within Europe itself, Britain’s anti-Zimbabwe stance was receiving quiet admonition by way of Portugal’s insistence that Zimbabwe must attend the EU-Africa Summit represented by its constitutional head of state. On the African continent itself, Ghana, as the AU chair, had amply indicated Africa would go to Lisbon, one and indivisible. In Sadc, Zimbabwe had just secured overwhelming support and solidarity.

Out of turn or out of power?

Tell me: why would a sane British premier dare a hornet’s nest by scribbling the note Brown did? Why? Why would a sane British premier aggravate sparse EU support for the British position by incontinently communicating with his fellow leaders via a newsroom? What is more, why would a premier truly in charge tickle the sides of his arch-enemy Mugabe by clearly showing he has lost open lines to his colleagues in Europe?

Communicating with fellow Europeans through the British Press clearly indicated British diplomacy had come unstuck. Clearly British diplomacy has foundered in its backyard, with Brown adopting for the rest of Europe Blair’s odious megaphone diplomacy against Zimbabwe.

By so doing, he has challenged the honour of Europe’s oldest imperial power, Portugal. Would Socrates want to be viewed as Brown’s poodle? Wise Socrates? By so doing, Brown has challenged the honour of colonially bitter Africa whose delegation to the summit now has to be passed by imperial Britain. Which self-respecting African leader would want such a stigma?

What is worse, by so doing, he has demonstrated exactly what Zimbabwe has always claimed, namely that the problem is essentially a bilateral colonial one between Zimbabwe and Britain. If it was not, why has the argument trimmed down to Mugabe and Brown, the one pitchy black, the other whitey brown?

Tall and black, white and colonial

Mugabe stands very tall and black. Brown stands white and colonial. It is anyone’s guess who carries world opinion. What is worse, it is clear who stands isolated, even in Europe. Mugabe stands vindicated and can now tell Africa that British colonial arrogance is now bursting banks to flood the whole continent and its "infantile" governments.

Made worse by a food gift of a paltry 8 million pounds. Is that Africa’s worth? And when Brown’s system says it fears a shouting match in Lisbon with Mugabe, does that not suggest their case is implausible? Surely the match will be shouted in English, their English? Which English Scot ever loses a shout done in the tongue of her forebears? Or is Brown deliberately provoking an outrage in Europe and the African continent to manage Blair’s left-over constituency? Surely he could have done it slightly more skilfully?

A pathetic prologue and epilogue

And what a pathetic prologue to Brown’s letter? Some obscure archbishop of an equally obscure "parish" of York, whose name is Sentamu and is originally from faraway Uganda, is made to pay a visit to Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of Britain.

The whole event is choreographed as if this was a chance drop-by of a holy man on the home of one of his flock. Come on, let us be serious! You do not just drop by No. 10 as if you are alighting from a train at Victoria Station. I know the rigmarole of minding schedules of leaders.

It could not have been a chance encounter when it did. Give me a break. This planned accident was on a Sunday, unholy Sunday. Then on the Monday, an even bigger accidental encounter happens: one involving a sickly African archbishop of doubtful orientation called Desmond Tutu.

The accident flies him all the way from South Africa, again to No. 10. Accidentally, both archbishops urge Britain to overcome her guilt as a former colonial power to intervene to stop a southern monster called Mugabe whom they describe as reminiscent of Sentamu’s Idi Amin, ironically a dictator whose self-view was that of the genuine king of Scotland – Brown’s Scotland!

Dark, sell-out archbishops

Does that act of so old an imperial government have to be so pathetic? Who is Tutu to Africa? Who is Sentamu to Zimbabwe? Where do both stand in the narrative of Africa’s revolution?

Tutu, that little bishop who would have nothing to do with the ANC in struggle; who would have nothing to do with rebel Mbeki’s wedding in London? Tutu, that little bishop who sought to free apartheid South Africa’s bloody agents imprisoned here in Zimbabwe , all in the name of Truth and Reconciliation? Tutu, the gays’ bishop? Tutu, South Africa’s Bishop Muzorewa, only a little clever? My goodness! Britain, with all her embassies here, must surely know that it is erecting its foreign policy on a manZimbabwe would never meet or do business with before the end of apartheid. Have they bothered to ask why Tutu was never received by the Frontline States? Or are they so desperate for converts that they have resorted to one of their own? And this Sentamu? Who is he? Some little altar boy of Britain’s state church, one who thinks seeing white tongues darting for the eucharist is so wonderful?

A once-upon-a-time Ugandan who has become British, very British. Why stretch the man’s colour? Why stretch the man’s significance? He may have synthetic honour abroad. Not here in the savannah which spat him. And what a poor argument for both men!

If it was not about giving effect to Britain’s colonial status, why approach Brown, and not Russia’s Putin? Surely if it is about states with enough muscle to intervene in Zimbabwe, Britain is the least in ranking — a decrepit once-was in geo-politics. I mean its army cannot handle Basra, tiny Basra. What can they do here against a party with so many years of experience in guerilla warfare? Now Brown remains with a long face, egg-splattered. Made worse by another bombshell from President Mwanawasa, himself the chairman of Sadc.

He will not go to Lisbon unless President Mugabe attends. He adds that the rest of Sadc will follow his cue. Ghana has already given Africa’s position, amplified further by the President of the Pan-African Parliament, a Tanzanian whose language to her European counterparts make her sound like Mugabe in female form. This is how well Brown has radicalised Africa, indeed how well he has consolidated Mugabe’s catchment.

Oh omniscient private media!

What has been happening in Parliament? What’s going on? It was wonderful to watch expressions of consternation from the media bay as Zanu-PF and splinters of the MDC co-sponsored Amendment No.18.

It was like a bolt from the blue, when in reality this has been there, more visible than Mt Everest against a media corps in induced denial. And when Chinamasa disclosed the three sides had met 20 times, well over half of those times here in Harare, the bafflement mounted. How could so many meetings take place without our knowing it? And to arrive at this?

Faces dropped; many needed counselling. That is the price one pays for pretending one can function as journalist while avoiding those who govern, to rely on voices whose claim to knowing what is going on rests tenuously on the discredited fact that they belonged once upon a time.

As it turned out, the principal mis-informant, who sits rather lonely in Parliament, was equally in a tailspin, crowning it all by supporting a Bill he was not privy to via the talks that crafted it. He looked lost; he is lost, experiencing the last rites of his tenure in Parliament, this shameful turncoat!

Rhodesian factor again!

I hear echoes of "Third Force"! How does another "third" emerge from a "Third"? To become what fraction; what faction? We are in for interesting mutations: MDCs deracinated from their NGO bedrock; MDCs cut from its British handlers; Cross, Bennett, Coltart quite unhappy with the route the natives have taken, and closing the tap.

Tsvangirai struggling with his toilet cabinet; Biti testing a bit of proximity to power, and liking it; Mashakada cultivating Makumbe for executive mayorship which will not exist very soon; Mutambara, aah-h Mutambara, simply hanging his gloves to run away from Zimbabwe. And at the end of it all, Zanu-PF under Robert Mugabe winning in March 2008! A great perturbation of nature.

Icho! l

Illegal Sanctions to Blame for Economic Challenges - Mutasa

Illegal Sanctions to Blame for Economic Challenges - Mutasa

The Herald (Harare)

21 September 2007
Posted to the web 21 September 2007

The biggest security threat facing Zimbabwe are economic challenges stemming from illegal Western sanctions, the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, has said.

Addressing senior military commanders at a joint command course at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare yesterday, Cde Mutasa said the rationale behind the imposition of economic sanctions was to reduce the capacity of the country to survive within the context of a fully integrated international economic system.

Some of the commanders were drawn from Sadc member states. "A degraded economic environment is being marketed as Zanu-PF's inability to govern, thus justifying regime change," said Cde Mutasa. He said the West was equally angling for economically driven socio-political discontent that would lead to mass protests and riots as a precursor to illegal regime change. Such disturbances, he said, would be covered by the international media as reflecting a "state of ungovernability" in Zimbabwe. "The 'crisis' would then be referred to the UN Security Council with a view to imposing mandatory UN sanctions against Harare or conducting a UN sanctioned invasion to effect regime change.

"The MDC would be expected to preside over the process of restoring white economic hegemony and privilege," he said. Cde Mutasa said MDC legislator for Chitungwiza Mr Fidelis Mhashu is on record confirming the MDC position that if elected to power, they would return land to white farmers. He said national security had remained central in the political and economic life of independent Zimbabwe. "This is precisely because Government has remained loyal to the fundamental and liberation war driven objectives of offering economic security to its own citizens.

"Availing land and mineral wealth are key to enhancing human security. However, the goal of enhancing the economic security of Zimbabweans is being bitterly contested by the Western world led by the British government," Cde Mutasa said. He said the Western countries had consistently identified "anti-liberation" forces and individuals whom they have used in attempts to resist African efforts at self-interpretation.

He said these anti-people efforts had failed consistently over the decades.

"African governments have seen through Western machinations and have refused to embrace anti-liberation forces. The support accorded Zimbabwe at the Sadc Summit in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) should be seen in this context," he said. He said persistent global anti-Government propaganda by the powerful media houses and the economic sanctions were two potent modern weapons being used to undermine Government and Zanu-PF's grip on power. He said the economic "misery" that was being driven by illegal sanctions and the negative publicity would fail to undermine the resolve of Zimbabweans to defend the land issue. "As Government, we draw comfort from the fact that our security establishment has remained resolute in the defence of the fatherland against these external threats," he said.

Cde Mutasa said Zimbabwe offered a good case study of the contemporary methods being used by powerful states to threaten the existence of smaller states. He said the other was direct military invasion as in Afghanistan and Iraq where there were undeclared economic sanctions backed up by sustained propaganda by a powerful international media were tools, which were now deployed to great effect. "Additionally, we have noted that the cyber space is now utilised to mount a sustained attack on a target country," he said.

He said the land issue lies at the root of current efforts to subvert the State in Zimbabwe. The drive by Government to acquire land and distribute it to landless people had alarmed Britain, the US and the rest of the Anglo-Saxon community, he said. Cde Mutasa said this prompted the US government to pronounce that Zimbabwe "poses an unusually and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

"This assessment clearly suggests that Washington is alarmed and views Harare's drive for land restoration to blacks as spawning an international phenomenon where those natives around the world, who have been denied access to resources such as land in their own countries, could rise up and demand restitution."

He said the land reform programme was viewed as a "direct assault" on the ideology of private capital and property rights. Zimbabwe covers 39 million hectares of land. Of the 39 million, 33 million hectares are reserved for agriculture while six million hectares cater for National Parks and urban settlements. At independence, almost 6 000 white commercial farmers owned 15,5 million hectares of the most arable land, located in mostly high rainfall areas where the potential for agriculture was greatest. Six million black people were confined to 17,5 million hectares located largely in low rainfall areas with poor soil fertility.

Cde Mutasa said as an instrument to effect regime change, Britain and its allies embarked on a demonisation campaign against the Zimbabwean Government, distorting, misinforming and exaggerating events taking place in the country.

"To further the objective of demonising Government, Britain and its allies in the West have deployed short wave radio stations, namely the Dutch-sponsored Voice of the People, the British-sponsored Short Wave Radio Africa and the American-sponsored Studio 7 which daily beam anti-Zimbabwe Government propaganda into the national airwaves, inciting Zimbabweans to take up arms against their own Government and praising acts of violence perpetrated by the opposition. "The same Western countries have also sponsored the creation of a plethora of opposition aligned websites on the Internet which carry and promote the ideology of hate and division," he said. Through selective reporting, Cde Mutasa said, the international media remained blind to acts of violence perpetrated by the MDC which always acts in cahoots with some Western-sponsored NGOs and the ZCTU.

"In doing so, they only focus on the actions of the police in order to create and perpetuate the impression that the police in Zimbabwe is partisan, brutal and repressive.

"The media and cyber war waged by Britain and its allies has been relentless to the extent that the image of Zimbabwe out there is that of a country which has sunk into anarchy," he said.

EU-Africa Summit: Portugal blasts British premier Brown

EU-Africa Summit: Portugal blasts British premier Brown

Bulawayo Bureau

PORTUGAL yesterday blasted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for his "double standards and hypocrisy", as Lisbon sent a clear message that any attempts to bar President Mugabe from attending the forthcoming Euro-Africa Summit would be strongly opposed.

The Southern African Development Community also weighed in, warning that African leaders would boycott the summit in solidarity with Zimbabwe if the European Union barred Cde Mugabe from attending.

Mr Paolo Casaca, a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament, dismissed as a cheap stunt Mr Brown’s threat to boycott the summit if President Mugabe was invited.

"It is absolutely double standards," said Mr Casaca, criticising the British leader for levelling accusations of human rights violations at countries such as Zimbabwe while turning a blind eye to countries where gross violations are openly occurring on a daily basis.

Mr Casaca’s blistering remarks came in the wake of Mr Brown’s assertion in an opinion piece published by the London Independent that Cde Mugabe’s presence would deflect the summit from its agenda.

"I believe that President Mugabe’s presence would undermine the summit, diverting attention from the important issues that need to be resolved. In those circumstances, my attendance would not be appropriate."

As pressure mounted on Mr Brown, it also emerged yesterday that Sadc has thrown its full weight behind Zimbabwe.

According to news agency reports, President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, who is the current chairman of Sadc, vowed to boycott the Euro-Africa Summit if President Mugabe was not invited and said other African leaders could do so too.

"I will not go to Portugal if (President) Mugabe is not allowed. I don’t know how many of us (African leaders) will be prepared to go to Portugal without (President) Mugabe," he said.

Political analysts said the British premier’s grand plan to isolate and demonise Zimbabwe ahead of the Euro-Africa Summit lay in tatters.

Last week, the government of Ghana, which holds the rotating chair of the African Union, said President Mugabe should be invited to the summit, set for December in Lisbon, like any other African leader.

Ghanaian Foreign Minister Mr Akwasi Osei Adjei emphasised: "I believe we are coming with all the members of the African Union, the heads of state of the African Union. So, definitely the invitation will be issued (to President Mugabe).’’ He also urged

London to find a diplomatic solution to its bilateral dispute with Zimbabwe, which stems from Harare’s adoption of land reforms meant to correct a racially skewed land ownership pattern that was a legacy of the British colonial system.

Diplomatic sources said the Euro-Africa Summit would go ahead even if Mr Brown carries out his threat to boycott the gathering.

Desperate to keep his anti-Zimbabwe campaign going in the face of international condemnation, Mr Brown yesterday announced that he would lobby for further illegal sanctions against the country.

However, no EU member has backed his call. In fact, a Portuguese diplomatic source close to the EU presidency was quoted as saying Europe’s relationship with Africa "cannot remain hostage" to the Zimbabwe issue and suggested the meeting could go ahead without the British Prime Minister.

"It will be very hard not to invite (President) Mugabe. Some African leaders in the African Union might not be willing to come if he is not invited," said the Portuguese source.

"He is the oldest leader in the AU and is seen by many as a freedom fighter," he said, noting President Mugabe had spent 11 years in jail for opposing white minority rule.

"This is not an EU-Zimbabwe summit. It’s an EU-African summit with a lot of strategic issues at stake," he continued, citing climate change, security, economic governance and migration.

"It is likely that if (President) Mugabe comes, Brown will not be in a political position to attend the summit. The question is whether Britain will be represented at a lower level," said the source.

This December’s EU-AU Summit would be the first in seven years. Plans for a new set of talks have stumbled in the past because ex-colonial power Britain refused to invite President Mugabe, prompting fellow Africans to stay away in solidarity with Zimbabwe.

Portugal, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, has indicated before that that it has no intention of discriminating against President Mugabe in relation to the summit.

"It is not up to Portugal, current head of the EU, to invite some people rather than others,’’ Portuguese Deputy Foreign Minister Joao Gomes Cravihno was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the Sadc Summit in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, last month.

Yesterday, Harare immediately scoffed at the boycott threat by Mr Brown as a "waste of time’’ and insisted that Cde Mugabe would attend the summit as the legitimate head of sovereign Zimbabwe.

"President Mugabe was invited and he is going to Lisbon as Zimbabwe’s representative whether Gordon Brown attends or not," Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity Cde Bright Matonga told AFP.

"Brown is wasting his time."

Last week, the Minister of Information and Publicity, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, made it clear that the AU would back Zimbabwe.

"It is not debatable whether Zimbabwe will attend or not. When the West starts making noise about that, we are not worried because the AU is united. We are sick and tired of external forces instigating African states to go against us. The summit is for the EU and AU and President Mugabe will attend as our Head of State,’’ said Dr Ndlovu.

Cde Matonga described Mr Brown’s move as ill-informed.

"Brown has never been to Zimbabwe and he has never engaged Zimbabwe so he is not the best person to talk about our situation.

"He and his peers in the EU must remove the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, which are hurting our economy,’’ Cde Matonga told AFP.

Mr Brown’s stance is seen as an attempt to bully Lisbon into buying into Britain’s campaign aimed at achieving a "splendid isolation’’ of Zimbabwe in Africa.

The move is out of sync with international diplomacy as the meeting is between the whole of the AU and the whole of the EU and not certain cherry-picked members of the two bodies.

Said a political analyst yesterday: "We accept that Mr Brown is new in office, but the move is either a reflection of his racist arrogance or diplomatic naivety of the highest order.

"Will he boycott the United Nations meeting next week, because President Mugabe will definitely be there? Mr Brown is being childish. His behaviour is the kind that one expects to find at kindergarten playgrounds.’’

There have been suggestions from racist opponents of Zimbabwe led by Britain that a compromise be struck where a senior Government official other than President Mugabe would represent the country at the summit.

However, in terms of diplomatic norms, the EU only extended a blanket invitation to the AU which, in turn, has the prerogative of sending individual invitations to its member states.

Ironically, even sworn critics of President Mugabe such as Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr Don McKinnon, who was at the forefront of the demonisation of Harare, which prompted Zimbabwe to pull out of the racist Club of former British colonies, are conceding that President Mugabe should be allowed to attend the meeting.

"It’s useful to have him (President Mugabe) there for the dialogue to go on. Africa’s relations with the EU are very important. If the dialogue gets cancelled because Africa refused to get on with the request (to veto him), it would be a bigger problem.

"The EU makes it very difficult for Africans,’’ said Mr McKinnon, adding he had visited a number of countries across Africa where "(President) Mugabe is still very much a hero’’.

Britain’s attempts to isolate Zimbabwe in the region have also hit a snag as Sadc has continuously reaffirmed its solidarity with Harare and maintained that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation whose economy is being undermined by unjustified Western sanctions.

This week while in Zambia, Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salamao quashed media reports of divisions within the regional body over Zimbabwe during the recent Lusaka summit.

He stressed that Sadc would not allow itself to be ‘‘dictated to by the West’’ on how to relate with Zimbabwe.

"I don’t see where members were divided on the issue of Zimbabwe. It was a collective approach. There is no way somebody from elsewhere can come . . . and try to dictate on Zimbabwe. Sadc knows exactly how to deal with the situation and we are within the right path,’’ Dr Salamao said in an interview on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Television on Wednesday evening.

Sadc is on record as calling on Britain and its allies in the campaign against Zimbabwe to drop illegal sanctions against its member state.

Even rabid critics of Government and Trojan horses of Western imperialism such as the International Crisis Group are now admitting that the demonisation of Zimbabwe is not paying dividends.

In its latest report on Zimbabwe, the ICG said "general condemnations’’ of Zimbabwe by Britain and the US were "counter-productive".

The Herald.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Britain accepts that Mugabe has local support.

After lying to the whole world for close to decade that Mugabe rigs election and rules by force, the BBC now accepts Mugabe has popular appeal among the majority of Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe passes 2008 election law
Thursday, 20 September 2007, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Zimbabwe's parliament has passed a compromise bill on constitutional change that will allow presidential and parliamentary elections in 2008.

Members of parliament from both the ruling Zanu-PF and the fractured opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supported the bill.

All 111 MPs present voted in favour of the bill to amend the constitution.

The bill, the result of talks led by South Africa, allows parliament to pick President Robert Mugabe's successor.

The amendments are expected to re-draw electoral boundaries, increase the number of MPs and bring forward parliamentary elections by two years.

New consensus

The bill also allows parliament, dominated by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF, to choose a presidential successor if the incumbent does not finish his term in office.

Analysts expect Zanu-PF to dominate the joint parliamentary and presidential elections next year and for Mr Mugabe to then put a hand-picked successor in place.

But MDC member of parliament Trudy Stevenson told the BBC news website that Mr Mugabe may not have enough support within Zanu-PF to install his own choice as president should he leave office early.

Mr Mugabe, 83, has been president of Zimbabwe since independence from the UK in 1980.

The country is in the grip of a deep economic crisis which saw inflation soar past 7,000% in July before slowing in August to about 6,500% - still the world's highest rate by far.

There is a new spirit of consensus between the MDC and the government following talks mediated by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, says the BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg.

The MDC supported the bill because it will eliminate appointed MPs from parliament and will make the commission in charge of re-drawing electoral boundaries more independent, said Ms Stevenson.

The opposition still wants a completely new constitution, but Ms Stevenson said an understanding had been reached in the mediation process to produce such a document.

James D McGee promises his country to continue on its negative engagement with Zimbabwe

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:

IT IS an honour and a privilege for me to appear before you today as President Bush's nominee to be Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe.

I appreciate the confidence that the President and Secretary Rice have in me by putting my name forward for your consideration.

If confirmed, I look forward to working with the administration, this Committee, and the Congress in advancing U.S. interests and in helping our efforts to put Zimbabwe back on the path of democracy and economic prosperity.

Although Zimbabwe once enjoyed a sound economy and vibrant democratic institutions, the country today is suffering under authoritarian misrule.

The Government continues to commit unspeakable human rights abuses while enforcing policies that have produced economic collapse, food shortages, and the destruction of once strong judicial, financial, health and educational institutions. Regional stability is threatened as the people of Zimbabwe flee their rapidly disintegrating country to neighboring countries.

If confirmed, I would continue our government's efforts in assisting the people of Zimbabwe in their pursuit of a democratically elected government that respects human rights and the rule of law. Such a government could promote the welfare of its people by implementing the economic reforms needed to bring prosperity to Zimbabwe and contribute to regional growth and stability.

In undertaking this assignment, I would call on my years of experience in Africa and elsewhere, representing the United States and working to promote democratic values. During my 26 years in the Foreign Service, I have served as Ambassador to Swaziland, Madagascar, and the Comoros.

In these and other assignments, I sought to strengthen our bilateral relations while advancing U.S. interests by pressing for democratic reforms. I worked closely with pro-democracy civil society organisations in Swaziland to help write and eventually enact the first constitution that country had seen in over thirty years.

In Madagascar, I helped the country to prepare for and implement successfully free and fair elections following the election crisis of 2001. I would work diligently to strengthen pro-democracy organisations in Zimbabwe.

I strongly believe that there is a deep reservoir of democratic knowledge, capacity, and desire in Zimbabwe that needs continuing support to challenge the government to enact democratic reforms and to keep hope alive that change is possible.

Mr. Chairman, it must be stated that while the prospects for democratic transformation in Zimbabwe are very challenging, we remain strongly committed to facilitating peaceful change. Our goal must be that the presidential and parliamentary elections take place as scheduled for next year and meet international standards.

However, unless the government of Zimbabwe quickly establishes conditions for a free and fair election and rigorously implements a level playing field, the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for next year will not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. It is imperative that there be a substantial period of time for all candidates to campaign on a level playing field.

Still, we must continue our efforts. Abandoning the people of Zimbabwe to the worst effects of their government's misrule is not in America's interests. Returning Zimbabwe to a democratic state with a strong economy is necessary to promote regional stability and economic growth.

Therefore, we must use the tools at our disposal to achieve the results we seek. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and our targeted sanctions program have increased the pressure on those individuals that have undermined democracy and prosperity.

We are working with like-minded members of the international community to increase this pressure. We must continue to lend our support to regional efforts to pressure the Government of Zimbabwe to enact needed reforms.

The United States strongly supports the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) initiative to resolve the political and economic crisis, but the government of Zimbabwe continues its repression and intimidation of civil society, religious organisations, businesspeople, and political groups.

It is essential now more than ever for the United States to continue its support for civil society and pro-democratic elements in Zimbabwe. We need to play a major role in ensuring that these organisations survive the current repression to participate in Zimbabwe's eventual recovery.

We must also continue our humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean people and ensure that it reaches the people in need. In fiscal year 2007, United States food aid amounted to over $170 million. Today the United States is helping to feed nearly one-in-five Zimbabweans.

Non-food aid humanitarian assistance is approximately $5.1 million, and HIV/AIDS programs were increased to $31 million in fiscal year 2007. This funding is helping to deliver anti-retroviral treatment to 40,000 Zimbabweans. These actions demonstrate the generosity and compassion of the American people.

Resolution of Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis would stem the flow of migrants seeking a better life outside Zimbabwe. It would restore Zimbabwe's contribution to regional economic growth and enable the country to feed itself, rather than depending on international handouts. With a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe, SADC could be a stronger instrument of regional economic development, providing opportunities for African growth and for U.S. private investment.

Zimbabwe is at an increasingly difficult point in its history. I welcome the opportunity to take on the challenges that will be faced by the next U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe.

If confirmed, I will do my best to protect Americans and American interests while working to help the people of Zimbabwe restore their country to a democratic and prosperous member of the international community.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Welshman Ncube's speech: Zimbabweans Unite.

I RISE to make a contribution to the debate on the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 18 Bill. I begin by fully and unconditionally endorsing the remarks of my colleague Hon Khupe and wish to add the following.

I confirm what the Minister of Justice, Leal and Parliamentary Affairs, has said in his statement in respect of the process and content of the negotiations which are taking place between the government of Zimbabwe and Zanu PF on one hand and the MDC in its collective sense – (Laughter!).

For the avoidance of doubt, particularly for those in the media fraternity who keep speaking the language of MDC negotiating as two formations – that is not the case. At the negotiating table there is one MDC.

For those of our compatriots who love our beautiful country, some might be alarmed and say those of us in the MDC might appear on the face of it to be abandoning the principles we have fully enunciated over the last 8 years on how we believe a new Constitution for Zimbabwe must be made. Let me take the opportunity to explain and enunciate those principles and how they fit in with what we are trying to do in order to resolve the national crisis.

I can speak authoritatively on these principles because I can say I was there at the beginning of the NCA and the crafting of its principles. For those who are not aware, the very first meeting which conceptualized and began the process of constituting the NCA took place in Belgravia, and was convened by Tawanda Mutasah, attended by Brian Kagoro, Everjoice Win, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and myself. Thereafter, the NCA as we know it was constituted and formed.

In the process of its birth and in trying to define its mission and its guiding principles, it hired as a consultant and retained the services of Justice Ben Hlatshwayo, who was not a judge then, to come and document the same – the foundation of the NCA issues. In the interest of time, that document was then debated and adopted by the task force of the NCA.

At that time I was the spokesperson of the NCA and President Tsvangirai was the Chairperson. The NCA agreed that we needed a new constitution for Zimbabwe which would be crafted or written in an open, transparent and participatory manner. In that regard, we as members of the NCA were there to oppose two things. One: the piecemeal amendments to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Two: the unilateral manner of setting such piecemeal amendments.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to understand those two principles. Let me say that these two principles were conceptualised, conceived and adopted, not to be verses in a bible. They were strategic and tactical principles which were intended to forge the making of a people-driven constitution.

I despair today when I read and hear the attempt to transform these principles into some fundamentalist decrees which, we are told, are to be regarded as completely sacrosanct. As far as we understood them, they were supposed to be means to an end.

Zimbabwe today, as Hon. Khupe has said, is faced with a national crisis which all of us acknowledge. We might differ as to the causes and sources of that crisis, but I think we all, across the political divide, agree that we are in a crisis. Consequently those of us who love this country are saying that somewhere along the line as a people we lost each other.

Notwithstanding the intolerance Hon. Khupe talked about, notwithstanding the anger and emotion, if we are to move forward, Mr. Speaker, we need to find each other. (Mr Zwizwai: Murima imomo) Laughter- What we are attempting to sow within the dialogue that we are engaged in is to find each other.

Our contribution to supporting the Amendment Number 18, as to be amended at the Committee Stage as explained by the hon. Minister, is our attempt to say "let us reach out to each other, let us find each other, let us give confidence among ourselves.”

If what it takes to find each other is for us to support these amendments, we are prepared and we are supporting these amendments in that context, with the hope that as negotiating teams move on with the rest of the agenda of the dialogue, which the Minister has explained includes the question of a new constitution for Zimbabwe – how to come up with that new constitution; the question of a new Electoral Act – how to come up with it (Mr Mutasa: and the question of sanctions) – the question of how to deal with contentious provisions in POSA and AIPPA, and indeed the question of sanctions. They are on the agenda and we will deal with them. We hope that we will find each other around all these issues.

When we come back to this house, we will come back with a package which includes resolutions of all the issues which have divided us over the last eight or so years. That is our hope, Mr. Speaker, and it is in that context that we stand before this august house today, taking that step into the dark.

I had the privilege, Mr. Speaker, to spend the whole of Saturday in a meeting discussing these issues with President Mutambara and President Tsvangirai – (Laughter) - Mr. Speaker, I was impressed by their commitment to the dialogue process. I was impressed by their deep concern for the suffering of ordinary people of this country (Hon Members: Hear, hear!).

As President Tsvangirai said at that meeting: “There is no such thing as a risk-free political decision”, and therefore when we take this decision, we are fully cognizant of the political risk inherent in it. But we take it with our eyes open in the hope of serving our people. We believe that we cannot continue to conduct politics for the sake of politics. We believe that we must begin to conduct our politics in the service of the people, otherwise it is meaningless.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I want to comment very briefly on the aspect relating to the composition of the Senate which has worried some of my colleagues, in terms of what they perceive to be the disproportionate number of unelected people in the Senate. Unelected in the sense of direct election, in that you have 18 chiefs elected by other chiefs, you have 10 governors or is it 8 governors plus 5 appointed by the President.

Let me just explain, Mr. Speaker, that when elections were not synchronized, these numbers would have been very problematic, but when you have synchronised elections, you elect your councillor, you elect your MP, you elect your president.

The person who wins the presidential race then has the right to constitute the government of the day from the day of his or her election. Whereas when the elections were not synchronized, you could have a scenario where one political party could win a Parliamentary election whilst the presidency is in the hands of another party.

So the potential of subverting the government will not happen in the proposal before you. Whoever has been elected President has a mandate for the next 5 years to form a government. So it becomes irrelevant as to whether or not you have these disproportionate numbers of unelected people. I thought I should end by making that explanation.

Basildon Peta: A pen without a brain

There is nothing as uninspiring as reading through an article from African journalist who has NEVER attempted to put the brain before the pen. I was however thrilled by a comment made against an article written by one of these thoughtless journalists (Basildon Peta) by one Izinduna on discussion forum. This forumite managed to clearly psycho-analyze the inherent flaws in Basildon's waffle.

Its bad for a low IQ person like Peta to write something that is read world-wide. Below is Peta's article, and following it a comment by Izinduna that i nicked from

Basildon Peta: Our fellow Africans will do nothing for us in our hour of need
Published: 20 September 2007

My heart bleeds when I go to a Johannesburg restaurant these days and find all the waiters are my compatriots, Zimbabweans. These menial workers are nurses, lecturers, accountants, engineers and other professionals forced to flee their once prosperous homeland by Robert Mugabe's political and economic Pol Potism. Professionals I used to spot in BMWs in Harare are now cleaning lavatories.

Imagine what goes through me seeing a friend who was once a high flyer in a bank running a brothel in Hillbrow, a suburb of Johannesburg. Zimbabwe, my country, once made me proud of my heritage. It was the breadbasket of Africa and an exporter of tobacco, gold and platinum. Now it is reduced to a being net exporter of prostitutes.

I speak for many Zimbabweans when I welcome Gordon Brown's apparent move to adopt an energised new stance against Mugabe's fossilised regime.

Sceptics will not easily embrace the shift. They will say it plays into Mr Mugabe's claim that he is a victim of neocolonialism. They will say it plays into Mugabe's rhetoric that he is being victimised for empowering his black countrymen by redistributing white farmland. They will repeat the same tired mantra, that Africans should take the lead in reining in Mr Mugabe.

But the philosophy that African states should take the lead on Zimbabwe is bankrupt. Most of these African countries remain a collection of mismanaged entities that would not survive without Western subsidies. What leverage do Mozambique, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many others, whose national budgets are half funded by donors, have over Zimbabwe?

How can one expect Angola's Jose Dos Santos, who has overseen the economic stagnation of his country, despite billions of mismanaged income from oil revenues, to sit with Mugabe and discuss good economic governance? How can Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, who has relinquished power in a flawed election, have been expected to counsel Mugabe on the virtues of democracy as the Commonwealth once naively mandated him to do? How can Equatorial Guinea's Theodoro Nguema, reputed to have eaten the testicles of opponents and bankrupted his oil-rich country, bring counsel on Mugabe?

We Zimbabweans have reconciled ourselves to the fact that our fellow Africans will do nothing for us in our hour of need. In desperation, we have to look to our former colonisers for help.

If the EU sanctions imposed on Mugabe's circle of cronies were extended to children and relatives, the men and women who make up Mugabe's edifice would be forced to rethink. And maybe then, things could start getting better for all of us.

Basildon Peta is at it again! Seeing prostitutes and corporate pimps where none exist!

However, it is his abuse of other Africans that stand out! He feels Africans are too poor, too corrupt, too undemocratic to help Zimbabwe!

He naively points out all the bad things about Africa, but forgets to ask himself, if the rest of the continent is so bad, how come its JUST Zimbabwe he wishes Brown to sort out?

If the rest of Africa can be allowed to remain poor, corrupt and undemocratic, why does Brown and Europe have to make Zimbabwe different than its African brothers?....Izinduna, Forum.

Jon Sheppard: A pathological liar.

They say Australia has perhaps the highest concentration of 'criminal' genes on earth, having been a penal colony in which white trash from Britain was dumped as an option out of jail. Reading through Jon Sheppard's naked lies below, about something that is so apparently obvious just makes every sane person sympathize with this man's diseased state.

Australia does not fund political parties in Africa

EDITOR — Once again the Zimbabwe Herald has been working overtime to portray Australia in a negative light. This time, and completely at variance with the facts, the Herald alleges Australia has been funding the activities of political parties in Zimbabwe, particularly the Movement for Democratic Change.

The point needs to be made at the outset that Australia has not and does not provide any material support or funding for political parties anywhere in Africa. That does not mean, however, we do not give moral support to parties, such as the MDC, that espouse democratic ideals while suffering from continuing brutal repression.

As a measure of Australia’s support for democratic reform in Zimbabwe, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently invited MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to visit Australia to expose him to the many Australians who have an interest in seeing peaceful, democratic change in Zimbabwe and to hear his views of the situation in Zimbabwe.

Australia is a committed advocate of democracy and democratic movements around the world.

As citizens of a stable, independent and welcoming nation, with an open and prosperous economy, and a pluralistic and democratic society, Australians believe in the importance and the enduring value of liberal democracy — not just for Australians, but for other peoples as well.

Australia has opposed authoritarian tyranny around the world — including in the great conflicts of the 20th century against militarism, fascism, and communist aggression.

We have also been steadfast defenders of anti-colonial movements in Asia and Africa, including in Zimbabwe, and sought to make a positive contribution to the development of sustainable free societies in our region through our humanitarian and education policies.

Australia is dismayed by the continuing lack of respect for democratic values, human rights and the appalling economic mismanagement that prevails in Zimbabwe today. Ongoing repression by the security apparatus of opposition parties, individuals and groups advocating constitutional change are justifiably condemned by the international community. Without an independent and active opposition, it is difficult to envisage a properly functioning democracy in Zimbabwe.

The violent intimidation of Zimbabweans who protest peacefully against the direction of the Government’s policies must cease if there are to be genuine free and fair elections in March 2008.

While Australia does not provide material assistance to the MDC or other political parties in Zimbabwe, we are committed to improving the lot of millions of ordinary Zimbabweans who are suffering from the decline in humanitarian conditions in recent years.

The Australian government has established the Australian Fund for Zimbabwe to intensify its humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe and support for human rights, democracy and good governance. Assistance through the Australian Fund for Zimbabwe in the 2006-2007 financial year was approximately $6 million, and Australia is prepared to provide potentially double this level of assistance in 2007 — 2008. These are humanitarian, not political, funds.

Of more than A$20 million in Australian aid since 2002-03, most has been for humanitarian assistance to relieve the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans. Our assistance has included essential food aid, support for Aids orphans, and funding to improve food security and assist households in need. Most recently, on August 28 2007, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer MP, announced a contribution of A$3,5 million to the World Food Programme, to help feed the many Zimbabweans currently facing severe food shortages.

The Herald chose to ignore this humanitarian assistance. Instead, it continues to promulgate the fiction that Australia has given $A18 million to the MDC — let us be clear, that allegation is entirely untrue.

Jon Sheppard.

Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

MDC funding: Aussies deny the obvious

By Caesar Zvayi

IT appears Australian premier John Howard and his proxy here Jon Sheppard believe the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth means three different things as they attempt to deny their funding of opposition activities in Zimbabwe.

Alternatively they are simply showcasing their low opinion for African minds. After all, Africans are much closer to the "darkies", the Aborigines they look down upon on a daily basis.

For how else can one explain Sheppard’s Open Letter to The Herald titled "Australian support for Democracy and Humanitarian Assistance in Zimbabwe" that, among other things, tries to deny Canberra’s involvement in funding the MDC when all evidence proves otherwise?

The same letter makes scandalous claims about Australia’s alleged democratic credentials, and independence, assertions at variance with what obtains in that former British penal colony.

Sheppard is hot under the collar over reports that his government released A$18 million to fund the MDC ahead of next year’s historic elections, which reports he attributes to The Herald per se.

Said Sheppard: ‘‘Once again the Zimbabwe Herald has been working overtime to portray Australia in a negative light.

"This time, and completely at variance with the facts, The Herald alleges Australia has been funding the activities of political parties in Zimbabwe, particularly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The point needs to be made at the outset that Australia has not and does not provide any material support or funding for political parties anywhere in Africa.’’

A few headlines and quotations from other parts of the world might help Sheppard realise this story was not a figment of The Herald’s imagination. In fact, The Herald picked it from Western newspapers that Sheppard can never accuse of having an agenda against Canberra:

The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, of May 14 2007 carried the following headline: "Australia puts up £8m to Mugabe’s opponents to oust tyrant". Its report said, among other things, ‘‘Australia said it would spend £8 million (A$18 million) backing critics of Zimbabwe’s strongman President Robert Mugabe just a day after banning a cricket tour of the troubled African nation . . .’’

Reuters, May 14 2007, had a similar story under the headline "Australia to spend A$18 million on Mugabe opponents".

The Independent on Line, a South African publication said, "Mugabe opponents get Aussie backing", and the report went on to say: ‘‘Australia on Monday said it would spend A$18-million (about R104 million) backing critics of Zimbabwe’s strongman President Robert Mugabe, just a day after banning a cricket tour of the troubled African nation.’’

The examples are numerous but the message was always the same, Australia funds not just the MDC but a range of opposition activities in Zimbabwe. In fact, since Blair’s resignation in June, Howard thrust himself to the forefront of the Western onslaught on Zimbabwe.

On May 13, Howard, who always claims there are no economic, but ‘‘targeted’’ sanctions on Zimbabwe cancelled the Australian cricket team’s planned tour of Zimbabwe claiming it would legitimise the Government.

Twenty-four hours latter, his foreign minister, Alexander Downer, announced Australia would release A$18 million to fund opposition activities ahead of the 2008 elections, as we know only political parties and not NGOs contest elections.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australia was significantly boosting support for opposition groups in Zimbabwe, beginning with the immediate release of nearly A$6 million followed by a further A$18 million by 2008 through the Australian Fund for Zimbabwe. The announcement came in the wake of the opposition’s orgies of violence in Highfield and surrounding suburbs.

The financial largesse was followed by the Tsvangirai’s invitation to Australia, which had a counterflow of deported Zimbabwean students, whose only "crime" according to Howard is that their fathers are either Government officials or have links to the Government.

Though Sheppard tries to be clever by half in claiming ‘‘the Australian government has established the Australian Fund for Zimbabwe to intensify its humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe and support for human rights, democracy and good governance’’. It is a fact that Western interests have been using NGOs to channel funds to the MDC to circumvent the Political Parties Finance Act that outlaws external funding of political parties. Many will remember how, in October 2002, the then British High Commission in Harare was caught pants down after writing a $3,6 million cheque to Amani Trust, which funds were to be used to run safe houses for MDC thugs on the run from the law.

Anyway what does Sheppard mean by saying his government only provides moral support to the MDC? Wasn’t paying for Tsvangirai’s sojourn to Australia tantamount to funding opposition activities as it enabled Tsvangirai to meet the self-exiled Rhodesian lobby in Sydney and many other cities?

What about the sanctions Australia imposed on Zimbabwe, which Tsvangirai expressed so much gratitude for? Isn’t that a way of abetting the MDC cause of trying to effect illegal regime change?

It is a fact that of late Australia has outdone even the British and Americans in abetting the MDC cause, yet Sheppard dares posture otherwise.

This brings us to Sheppard’s contentious assertions that Australia is an advocate of democracy and human rights. Yet exactly one week ago, September 13 2007, Australia joined Canada, New Zealand and the United States in voting against the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Fortunately the historic declaration was adopted by the General Assembly after it was approved by 143 member states with 11 abstentions, and of course the only opposition coming from the fore-mentioned quartet of settler colonies.

Indigenous people are, of course, the original inhabitants of lands that were violated by settlers.

The landmark declaration, that was passed after more than two decades of debate, outlines the rights of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlaws discrimination against them, which is why it is hardly surprising that the world’s remaining settler colonies voted against it.

Though the declaration is non-binding, which means it is up to individual member states to accept or reject it, it sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health and education, among other issues. It emphasises the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations.

It also prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them, and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own vision of economic and social development.

As such it is a milestone for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, which is why it hailed by the General Assembly.

But, of course, Australia and its allies did not think so, and the reason is obvious, supporting the declaration would be tantamount to accepting that Aborigines have rights to the territory and resources of the landmass we know as Australia.

The history of modern-day Australia dates back to January 26 1778 when the British established a penal colony at Port Jackson, New South Wales, to accommodate dangerous convicts from Britain’s overflowing prisons.

The convicts; the forebears of the incumbent premier Howard and his representative here Sheppard; then went on a campaign of displacing the original inhabitants, the Aborigines, of their land, and killing them in cold blood, which is why today Aborigines constitute a mere 470 000, or about 2,3 percent of Australia’s 20 million people, though they form 25 percent of the prison population.

Yet Sheppard would want Zimbabweans to believe he comes from ‘‘a stable, independent and welcoming nation, with an open and prosperous economy, and a pluralistic and democratic society’’.

How independent is Australia, when it is still a settler colony that has not yet granted independence to the Aborigines, the original inhabitants who settled on that landmass more than 50 000 years ago?

How democratic is Australia when, according to the Australian Medical Association, Aborigines are dying more than 17 years earlier than white Australians due to institutionalised racism, and when studies show that the health of Aborigines lagged 100 years behind other Australians, with life expectancy as low as 33 years.

How pluralistic is Australia when Aborigine settlements cannot even be found on maps today because of the racist policy of exclusion that barred them from government programmes? In fact, as late as 1967 Aborigines were not included in national censuses but were regarded as wildlife along with kangaroos and koalas.

How prosperous is Australia when 72 percent of Aborigines live in abject poverty in slums deemed unworthy of inclusion on Australia’s maps?

Zimbabwe respects democratic values, which is why it tolerates a Western-funded, and openly reactionary opposition, which cannot be said of Australia that recently deported innocent students simply because of differences it has with a Government their fathers serve.

If Australia is committed to peaceful democratic change in Zimbabwe as Sheppard claims, why then does it fund subversive opposition activities, why did Australia applaud the orgies of violence launched by the MDC factions and their allies on March 11. Why didn’t it condemn Tsvangirai on the numerous occasions he threatened to violently unseat the Government?

Equally preposterous is Sheppard’s claim that there is political repression in Zimbabwe when the country has an opposition with the biggest representation in Africa. In fact, of late the MDC has been holding peaceful rallies all over the country and they have never been stopped by the police. The problem only comes when the urge for power overwhelms them and drives them to try to effect illegal regime change in the streets.

No country in the world, Australia included, would fold its arms and watch when an opposition party declares a "campaign to defy the law", and actually lives up to that declaration by assaulting security agents going about their job of protecting innocent citizens.

This is exactly what happened on March 11, and the times the MDC clashed with the police. Lovemore Madhuku’s sponsored street forays can never be equated to peaceful constitutional advocacy as on many occasions his hired hands attacked the police and innocent by-standers.

It is rather ironic that Sheppard postures his government is concerned about the economic situation in Zimbabwe, yet it has not revoked the sanctions it imposed, or prevailed on its allies to do the same.

If the West stops sabotaging Zimbabwe, the economic problems will go away, but all progressive people know that the last thing the West wants to see is a Zimbabwe whose success is built on the transfer of resources to indigenous people. Exactly the reason why Australia voted against the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples in the first place.

Sheppard appears to be under the mistaken notion that Zimbabwe needs alms from Australia, which is why he gloats about the so-called Australian Fund for Zimbabwe. What Zimbabwe needs is to be left alone to pursue its own development path, based on transferring resources to its indigenous population.

It needs a homegrown opposition that does not pander to Western interests, and Australia’s funding of the MDC is preventing Zimbabwe from having the "independent and active opposition’’ that is integral to a functional democracy.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Dumisani Muleya should remove his head from Rhodie arseholes.

The only people who dont want to see a negotiating MDC and ZANU are the Rhodesians and the Brishit (who see threats to their neocolonial designs in such talks, and the death of their dream to get back to land monopoly).

We pity people like Dumisani Muleya, who have voluntarily decided to stick their heads in Rhodie butts, and waffle from the intoxicating and choking shit.

Someone should help this idiot remove his head from Rhodesian arseholes.

Mugabe Re-Election Becomes 'Almost Certain'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

19 September 2007
Posted to the web 19 September 2007

By Dumisani Muleya

ZIMBABWE's bitter rival political parties, the ruling Zanu (PF) and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), yesterday reached an agreement on constitutional amendments to facilitate joint presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

The agreement, announced in parliament amid expectations it would pave the way to resolve the country's worsening political and economic crisis, almost certainly ensures President Robert Mugabe would be re-elected for another five-year term of office. This would extend his rule to 32 years.

Mugabe has been desperate to ensure the Constitutional Amendment (Number 18) Bill is adopted by both Zanu (PF) and the MDC to guarantee the legitimacy of his grand plan to secure re-election and manage his succession crisis.

Even if Zanu (PF) has the necessary majority to pass the Bill alone, it would have been viewed as illegitimate if the MDC did not endorse it. By agreeing to the bill, the MDC unwittingly ensures Mugabe goes to the elections in a much stronger position than he would have done if the bill was not passed with its support.

The bill is designed to bring together the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Officially, government claims this will help to cut down the costs of elections, but the real reason was revealed in the Zanu (PF) central committee meeting on March 30.

Zanu (PF) senior official and legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa said joint elections would help Mugabe's re-election bid because it would ensure Mugabe and ruling party MPs' political fates were tied together.

Minutes of the March 30 meeting also show that the decision to hold the joint elections was not a Zanu (PF) resolution, but that of Mugabe, Mnangagwa and senior party official Patrick Chinamasa who is currently spearheading Mugabe's plan in parliament.

Zanu (PF) overwhelmingly wanted the elections in 2010, but powerful elements unilaterally declared they would be held in 2008.

Retired army commander general Solomon Mujuru, a powerful force in Zimbabwean politics, blocked Zanu (PF)'s original effort to have both elections in 2010, saying Mugabe would benefit from another two years in power.

The bill also helps Mugabe to manage his explosive succession battle.

It ensures Mugabe's successor is hand-picked by parliament and Zanu (PF) insiders, which guarantees Mnangagwa will take power, sidelining the Mujuru faction.

While Mugabe makes concessions on electoral issues in the bill as a result of the ongoing talks between Zanu (PF) and the MDC facilitated by President Thabo Mbeki, Mugabe and Chinamasa made it clear in the Zanu (PF) politburo on September 5 the changes agreed to would not affect their grip on power.

Mbeki and the MDC are under pressure to salvage something from the talks.

Mbeki wants a solution for the 14-nation Southern African Development Community, while the MDC wants a negotiated settlement.

But in the end Mugabe and Zanu (PF) emerge as winners because the Bill takes off pressure with a manageable early election.

Meanwhile, an international think-tank yesterday called on SADC leaders to put pressure on Mugabe to retire.

In a report entitled Zimbabwe: A Regional Solution? the ICG said the SADC was Zimbabwe's "only real hope". It urges western leaders "to close ranks" behind Mbeki.

The report coincided with the release of figures by Zimbabwe's Central Statistics Office that showed hyperinflation had slowed to an annualised 6593% , down from 7635% in July.

The drop was attributed to a government decree in June forcing traders to slash prices by over half on a range of goods.

The move resulted in panic buying and widespread shortages.

With Sapa-AFP

Is the White-farmer/British vice grip losing its grip on MDC puppets?

Interesting developments are happening within the MDC. Maybe the SADC and AU whip is now bearing some fruit on our wayward puppet party.
I am trying hard to see how Thoko's address below fits in with Western/Rhodie propelled previous MDC positions that ZANU is an illegitimate entity of thieves, robbers, terrorists, sub-humans.

Can all those who have been loudly shouting these positions here please tell us where Thoko is now coming from?

And could this shift be the reason why we are hearing fresh calls for non-constitutional, military intervention through the Brishit? Are they panicking that at last, their puppet has been made to vomit the love portions they had made him to swallow?

THE following is the full text of a speech made by Thokozani Khupe, the deputy leader of a faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, in parliament on Tuesday as Zanu PF and the MDC struck a deal on Constitutional Amendment 18:

HONOURABLE speaker Sir, it is with a heavy heart and a weighted soul that I rise to make this contribution to the second reading debate on constitutional Amendment No 18.

Mr. Speaker, l am fully alive to the weight of responsibility that has been placed on the shoulders of our generation and in particular those of our respective parties.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as l speak now our country is in a serious economic and political crisis.

It is an economy that has sustained ten years of negative growth rates, a phenomenon unknown to countries that have not gone through a physical war.

It is an economy that has seen millions of fellow Zimbabweans flee the border to unwelcoming, xenophobic, cruel diaspora where our people are subjected to degrading living conditions.

It is an economy that has seen the reduction of our life expectancy to 37 for men and 34 years for women and has resulted in an unsustainable and below par lifestyle of our people.

The economic difficulties have been interpreted differently by our people. On one hand are those such as myself and the party l belong to, who believe that at the core of our current crisis lies the unfinished business of our national liberation struggle.

Whilst independence removed a settler colonial minority regime, it did not deal with three key issues.

Firstly it did not extend freedom to the majority in line with the ideals of our liberation struggle.

Secondly it did not deal with structural economic issues therefore failing to provide for its people.

Thirdly and quite critically it did not deal with the issue of land, agrarian reform and land redistribution.

The post colonial Zimbabwean state regrettably failed to address these issues significantly in the first decade of independence.

At the same time contradictions began to emerge and a gap was established between the ideals of national liberation and the post colonial rulers.

In our view, nationalism simply became exhausted, creating the condition for the inevitable emergence of a genuine opposition political party, the MDC.

Thus the MDC emerged purely and simply out of the resultant crisis of governance.

On the other hand there are those who believe that our problems are not internal but external.

They believe that our problems were created by some grand imperialistic countries whose agenda is to reverse the gains of our independence.

Our failure to accept our diverse views, the need for coexistence and tolerance has created a polarised, vicious, and intolerant society.

Families are heavily divided between Zanu PF and the MDC, between Zanu PF and Zanu PF, and between the MDC and the MDC.

Families are at war with each other. Violence, corruption, vindictiveness, mistrust, greed, patronage, jealousy, and rumor mongering has become the mainstay of our nation.

It is in this context that we welcomed the SADC heads of state resolution in Dar Salaam of the 29th of March 2007, as being important and revolutionary.

That resolution acknowledged the fact that there was a missing link in Zimbabwe, and this was dialogue of its own people and a mutual recognition of each others presence and legitimacy.

That Zanu PF among other formations exists as a legitimate entity that played a critical role in liberating our country cannot and should not be put in issue.

Equally that the MDC exist as a genuine social liberation movement with the legitimacy and blessing of millions of Zimbabweans cannot and should not be put in issue.

More importantly it cannot and should not be put in issue that none of these formations is a sellout or is more Zimbabwean than the other.

We are both stakeholders and citizens of this lovely and beautiful land called Zimbabwe.

With this in mind, the dialogue that has taken place and is still taking
place has gone a long way toward deconstructing the matrix of intolerance and attrition in our society and hopefully this process is irreversible. Our party is committed to this process.

At the core of that dialogue, in our view, is the need to deal with the issue of legitimacy in our society. In our view, that can only come through the introduction of a people driven constitution and free and fair elections thereafter.

Of course the issues of repressive legislation such as POSA and AIPPA are critical, so too are the issues of the militarized state and the opaque management of the electoral process.

These are all issues covered in the agenda agreed to by the negotiators on the 19th of June 2007.

We remain committed to the principle of a new people driven constitution and a transparent and open process.

Our friends and constituencies out there must know that we will never betray this principle; however we are alive to the ongoing discussions and the progress that has been made so far.

It is in this regard, that as a confidence building measure we take the bold decision of not standing in the way of constitution amendment number 18 as amended by the negotiating teams.

In making this decision we are in no way abandoning any of our principles or are we betraying any cause, all we are saying is that at this point in our history the country is crying out for bold and decisive leadership and not populist grandstanding.

We are assured negotiations are still ongoing and that they will deliberate on the many issues that are still outstanding in this proposed constitutional amendment.

For this reason and subject to the inclusion of the agreed positions on the following

• a comprehensive Bill of Rights,

• an all inclusive citizenship provision,

• limits to presidential terms of office,· an independent electoral commission reporting to parliament, and above all an irrevocable commitment to the overhaul of security, media, and electoral laws, we are not standing in the way of the tabling of the 18th Amendment.

We emphasise that our position is predicated on our view that this should be regarded as the first step towards a holistic resolution of the national crisis.

Honorable speaker sir, we are aware that a commitment has been made to a public process of making a constitution by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans -- a process that we fully endorse.

Our people out there need food, jobs, hospitals, and therefore we as politicians cannot decimate those aspirations.

Mr. Speaker Sir, history will judge our actions one day, but l am confident that we as MDC will be able to look history in the face and say we were right.

Hon Thokozani Khupe is the deputy leader of a faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai

Desmond Tutu invites the rapist to console the rape victim.

Growing up in an African country, i have always found that it was the semi-insane kid, the half wit boy, the conformist weak muscle runt among us who became drunk with christianity. It was never the sharp witted, energetic, motivated boy-NEVER! It was always the sissy mother's boy type that clutched the bible on a sunday when normal boys were running around and 'being boys'.

Today, i think this selective process has trickled down and explains the type of Christian leaders we have in Africa. These are sissy little weaklings who have suddenly acquired status through conformity, playing half dead and being patted on the bum.

No wonder they abuse their power, their nature doesnt know how to deal with it. Look how Pius Ncube went shagging his flock, and rumour has it he even shagged boys (possibly donkeys too).

And now listen to this homosexual pervert Desmond Tutu, waffling for a Brishit solution to a problem that was directly manufactured by the Brishit. How can the Brishit government provide a solution to Zimbabwe's current woes when it that very governement that has created those problems. The ONLY solution the Brishit can provide is to leave Zimbabwe alone!!

I think Christianity should be banned in Africa. It gives a voice to insane people.

Zimbabwe needs your help, Tutu tells Brown

By Peta Thornycroft and Sebastien Berger

Gordon Brown should put more pressure on President Robert Mugabe to improve Zimbabwe's human rights record, Desmond Tutu said last night.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel peace prize winner said the "quiet diplomacy" pursued by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) had "not worked at all".

He called on Britain and the West to pressure SADC, including South Africa, which is chairing talks between President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to set firm deadlines for action, with consequences if they are not met.

"All of us Africans must hang their heads in shame for having allowed such a desperate situation to continue almost without anybody doing anything to try and stop it," he said.

"It's been deeply, deeply distressing, the kinds of things that have happened to ordinary people in Zimbabwe. People are being detained and human rights are being violated without any conscience at all.

"The people are doing as much as you possibly could in such a ghastly situation. They have suffered enough. It is we who are on the outside who ought to intervene," he told ITN. He looked, in particular, to Gordon Brown "for more effective intervention".

Dr Tutu's comments were echoed in a report by the International Crisis Group, a respected think-tank.

It said that the country's economic crisis had brought it "closer than ever to complete collapse" with inflation running at nearly 7,000 per cent, and called on the SADC to persuade Mr Mugabe to step down.

"Some SADC leaders remain Mugabe supporters, and there is a risk the organisation will accept cosmetic changes that further entrench the status quo," the report said. Possible incentives for retirement could include "immunity from prosecution for Mugabe and other senior Zanu-PF officials", it said, as well as "guarantees, at least to a specified level, that the accumulated wealth, including land, of Mugabe, his family, and other members of the establishment will be secure".

"Zimbabweans want above all an end to their nightmare," it added, but said EU and US measures were ineffective. "Western sanctions – mainly targeting just over 200 members of the leadership with travel bans and asset freezes – have proven largely symbolic," it said.

"And general condemnations from the UK and US if anything (are) counterproductive because they help Mugabe claim he is the victim of neo-colonial ambitions."

In Harare, the Movement for Democratic Change struck a surprise deal with Zanu-PF to change the country's electoral laws.

The constitutional amendment abolishes President Mugabe's right to appoint 30 MPs, removing a major hurdle to the opposition winning an election.

But it also increases the number of constituencies from 120 to 210, which the current election commission, appointed by Zanu-PF, could gerrymander to return loyalist MPs.

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