Saturday, October 13, 2007

(HERALD) Kaunda to meet Brown over Zim

Kaunda to meet Brown over Zim
By Ruth Butaumocho recently in LIVINGSTONE, Zambia

FOUNDING Zambian president Dr Kenneth Kaunda has plans to meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss bilateral issues between Zimbabwe and Britain. Without giving a specific date, Dr Kaunda said the meeting would discuss the land issue and other problems Zimbabwe was facing as a result of illegal sanctions being championed by Britain and the United States.

"We are set to meet soon to discuss the Zimbabwe land issue and the subsequent problems that the country was going through. I don’t believe that there is no solution to what is going on between the two countries. There is a solution and we need to find it soon," he said in an interview.

Dr Kaunda said it was wrong for the world to take a myopic view on policy issues in Zimbabwe without looking at failed promises that Britain made for years in resolving the land issue.

He was responding to questions on Zimbabwe, while addressing participants at the British Council Interaction Programme from 20 African countries,

"When I look back at the road that this man (President Mugabe) has walked, I don’t understand how the world can just choose to look only at the current problems that Zimbabwe is facing without looking holistically on the country’s history, particularly on the land issue."

The land issue, he said, had shaped events in Zimbabwe.

"Yes, there are problems in Zimbabwe at the moment. But it would be unfair for all of us here sitting in this room today, to just demonise (Cde) Mugabe, without tracing the roots, from which the problems are emanating today."

The former Zambian leader, who was among the African leaders at the forefront of assisting liberation movements in the struggle to dismantle colonialism in Zimbabwe, chronicled the history of the country’s struggle.

He narrated the hurdles that nationalists such as Cde Mugabe and the late Dr Joshua Nkomo had to overcome on the road to freedom.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain have been strained since the country embarked on the land reform programme.

Britain has instigated the European Union, the United States, Australia and New Zealand among other western countries to impose illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

London and its allies have at every opportunity fought for the isolation of Zimbabwe including trying to have Harare discussed at the United Nations Security Council without success.

Of late, Mr Gordon Brown has threatened to boycott the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, Portugal in December if President Mugabe is allowed to attend.

But Africa has stood its ground and said all its leaders must attend the summit.

Some African countries — notably the Sadc region — have even threatened to boycott the summit if President Mugabe is barred.

Portugal has said it respects Africa’s position that Cde Mugabe should attend while other EU members have said all African leaders must attend because the summit is an opportunity for dialogue.

The EU Commission has even castigated Britain for hurting European interests because of its stance on Zimbabwe.

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