Thursday, September 03, 2009

(TALKZIMBABWE, HERALD) 'Sanctions threat to inclusive Government'

'Sanctions threat to inclusive Government'
TH reporter
Thu, 03 Sep 2009 07:56:00 +0000

THE illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West are the biggest threat to the survival of the inclusive Government and economic turnaround efforts, President Mugabe will tell his fellow Sadc Heads of State and Government when they hold their Summit in the DRC next week.

In an interview yesterday on what briefing the Zimbabwean leader would give Sadc leaders on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said President Mugabe would draw the Summit’s attention to the persistence of the discredited economic embargo.

"The sanctions have had a devastating impact not only on the generality of the people of Zimbabwe and economic turnaround efforts, but also on harmony within the inclusive Government.

"This is the single largest threat to the fulfilment of the GPA. Three weeks ago President Mugabe confronted Morgan Tsvangirai at Zimbabwe House on this very matter and at that time the President verily believed that the MDC-T leader appeared to appreciate the centrality of the issue.

"However, against the background of the most recent communications from Tsvangirai which appear aimed at sidetracking from this core issue, the President is having second thoughts on the matter."

Charamba said the sidetracking involved calls for Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono’s sacking, and this too would be pointed out to Sadc leaders.

"This is a bogey issue that MDC-T whips out of its deep pockets each time they are confronted with any demand from Zanu PF. Tsvangirai was not in Govern-ment when these appointments were made.

"The President had no obligation to consult him. Is it being suggested that Zimbabwe should have proceeded for all those months that MDC-T was dithering on inclusivity without a central monetary authority and an AG?

"Financial transactions are taking place everyday with or without a Prime Minister. Criminals are committing crimes everyday with or without an inclusive Government.

"Trying to imagine a Zimbabwe without these two officials for just one hour — let alone eight months — is inconceivable," he said.

Charamba said President Mugabe had also made it clear that Roy Bennett’s swearing in as Deputy Agriculture Minister would only take place if he was cleared of the criminal charges he is facing that stem from the discovery of an arms cache in Manicaland in 2007.

"He decided to be a fugitive from justice when he skipped the border and went to South Africa and President Mugabe cannot consequently just swear him in. Tsvangirai knows that the President cannot budge on this one.

"We know who speaks for Bennett, but who makes a case for the 11 million Zimbabweans under sanctions?"

He said President Mugabe would also "gently remind his colleagues in Sadc about commitments made at the Swaziland Extraordinary Summit about launching a campaign against sanctions".

"While Zimbabwe appreciates that resources are difficult to come by, especially in the context of the current global economic crisis, what is surely achievable is simply mounting a co-ordinated campaign against sanctions.

"Sadc did it in defence of Libya when the chair was none other than President Mugabe."

MDC-T and sections of the local and international private media have in recent weeks been accused of trying to ratchet pressure on incoming Sadc chair President Joseph Kabila of the DRC to take a hardline stance against President Mugabe ahead of the summit.

On Tuesday, Tsvangirai reiterated that MDC-T was ready to pull out of the GPA if Sadc did not force Zanu PF to fire Dr Gono and Tomana among other "outstanding issues".

It is also understood that the party might try and deliver a petition to President Kabila accusing him of being too close to President Mugabe and thus incapable of carrying out his mandate as Sadc chair.

However, Edwin Mushoriwa, the spokesperson of the MDC, said his party was of the view that the onus to resolve any outstanding issues in the GPA rested solely with the people of Zimbabwe.

"As a party we believe that the solution to Zimbabwe’s problems vests with the people of Zimbabwe.

"The three parties have the capacity to solve the outstanding issues without the need for third parties although we are, however, aware that Sadc and the AU are the guarantors of the GPA," he said.

He added that it was a mistake to believe that there was a country that could impose its will on any other in Sadc.

"The question of President Kabila’s partiality is neither here nor there.

"It’s not a question of President Kabila being closer to President Mugabe or not because ultimately which president in the region can you clearly say does not respect President Mugabe?

"The onus, therefore, is on us as Zimbabweans to sit down and resolve any outstanding issues that might be there," he said.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political analyst Dr Joseph Kurebwa said fears of President Kabila’s alleged partiality were misplaced given that Sadc decisions were arrived at by consensus.

"It is necessary to point out that these are regional or bloc decisions and therefore it does not follow that when there is a change in chairmanship then one is likely to be more sympathetic to one party or individual. I don’t see how President Kabila would take sides," he said.

Dr Kurebwa added that the MDC-T’s actions should be viewed as those of a party trying to push its own agenda.

"The parties retained their individual identities when they entered into the coalition government so they will try to advance their individual interests.

"MDC-T maybe trying to keep up the pressure not only on President Mugabe and Sadc but other leaders that there are issues that they believe are outstanding in the GPA," he said.

Yesterday, MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the party would stand by Tsvangirai’s Tuesday utterances.

Asked why Tsvangirai still referred to sanctions as "restrictive measures", Chamisa said the country should not be preoccupied with "pronouncements of words".

Mr Tsvangirai has refused to call the embargo by their proper name and has been criticised for his party’s lack of commitment to having the sanctions lifted, even though the GPA clearly states that all the parties should work together and vocally on the issue. - Herald

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