Thursday, June 09, 2011

(ZIMPAPERS) MDCT asked us not to lift sanctions, but tighten the screws-Jonnie Carson

COMMENT - So much for the MDC's claim to be champions of the 'rule of law'. The United States and western corporations must end all designs on Africa's raw materials. They belong to the people of Africa, and must benefit them alone. No 'donor aid', but taxation, and if taxation is impossible, nationalisation.

MDCT asked us not to lift sanctions, but tighten the screws-Jonnie Carson
Sunday, 05 June 2011 01:24 Top Stories
By Munyaradzi Huni

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mr Jonnie Carson recently told the Sadc facilitation team, led by Ms Lindiwe Zulu, during a meeting in Washington DC, that the MDC-T had officially asked his government not to lift the illegal economic sanctions but instead tighten them until there is regime change in Zimbabwe, it has emerged.

This startling revelation, which exposes the MDC-T’s blatant violation of the GPA and the so-called election roadmap, was disclosed to the Sadc facilitation team when it met Mr Carson in Washington DC last month during a meeting to press for the lifting of sanctions as directed by the Troika Summit that was held in Livingstone on March 31.

It is understood that the revelation that the MDC-T had officially asked the US to keep and tighten the illegal sanctions to ensure that people continue to suffer was communicated officially to the GPA negotiators by Ms Zulu in Cape Town on May 6 in the presence of Mr Tendai Biti and Mr Elton Mangoma, who remained in embarrassed silence during the disclosure.

The illegal sanctions have been widely condemned from many quarters including Sadc and the AU for causing untold suffering among Zimbabweans and for undermining economic recovery efforts while crippling the private sector by denying it access to international credit.

Impeccable diplomatic sources at the UN in New York told The Sunday Mail during the week that Mr Carson scoffed at claims that all three parties to the GPA were committed to the removal of sanctions as agreed in the political pact and made it clear that the MDC-T had officially and repeatedly requested the US government to maintain the status quo on sanctions. The sources added that Mr Carson told the facilitation team that the MDC-T had even asked the US government to consider tightening the sanctions further to force illegal regime change in the country under the cover of the controversial election roadmap.

The UN diplomat told this paper that “the agreed position between Carson, Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti is that removing sanctions would embolden President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and MDC is adamant that there should be no change on sanctions unless there is change of government”.

Contrary to the now discredited US, UK and EU propaganda that the illegal sanctions supported by the MDC-T are only targeted at a limited number of individuals, it is now common cause that they have damaged the economy and cause ordinary people across the country to suffer, especially in the high-density suburbs and the rural areas.

On March 2 President Mugabe launched the anti-sanctions petition which has been signed by more than two million ordinary people across the country. It is understood that Ms Zulu reported to the GPA negotiators that “the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said that Washington will not lift sanctions given the fact that MDC-T which is in the inclusive Government has been engaging them pleading with them not to lift the sanctions”.

Diplomatic sources told this paper that this disclosure about the MDC-T duplicity on sanctions, which forms part of minutes of the Cape Town meeting approved last Thursday by the facilitation team and the negotiators, will be reported to the Extraordinary Sadc Summit later this week.

However, MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora yesterday defended his party, saying: “The MDC has not done such a thing.

“It does not control the governments that imposed those restrictions.
“Our president has made recent international pronouncements on the issue and we stand by that.”

A senior researcher with the SA-based Institute of Security Studies (ISS) told The Sunday Mail yesterday that nobody should be surprised about the MDC-T stance on the sanctions issue, noting that “because Tsvangirai and company asked for these sanctions in the first place, its stands to reason that they will be the last to ask for their removal unless they come to power alone by hook or crook.

“Beyond that the US, especially Carson who is known to hate President Mugabe, is now determined to use the sanctions matrix to manage not only Zanu-PF but also President Zuma whose government has now become loudly silent about the removal of economic sanctions against your country.”

The ISS researcher added that the US government was now “exerting enormous pressure on South Africa and Sadc through a crude carrot -and-stick approach to get them to abandon the sanctions discourse and become part of the regime change coalition on Zimbabwe under the cover of the controversial election roadmap”.

Observers say that backhanded attempts to arm-twist Sadc on the illegal sanctions were evident at the Livingstone Summit whose communiqué was surprisingly silent on the removal of sanctions despite the fact that this is a key GPA benchmark and the first signpost of the so-called elections roadmap.

Well-placed diplomatic sources in SA told The Sunday Mail that Mr Carson organised a high-powered discussion panel by teleconference on May 23 which brought together prominent African and American scholars and US government officials to focus on what the Obama administration wanted to see as a “transition” and “transfer” of power in Zimbabwe from Zanu-PF to the MDC-T as the critical part of the controversial roadmap.

During the panel discussion, chaired by the US representative at the UN, Susan Rice, who was assisted by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Page, who visited Zimbabwe in March ahead of the Livingstone Summit, the US Ambassador to SA Donald Gips confidently said that he had been advised by senior officials in SA’s Ministry of International Relations and Co-operation that the SA government is now of the view that the illegal sanctions should remain in place.

Ambassador Gips said this was in order to get President Mugabe to embrace the so-called Sadc election roadmap and to commit himself to relinquish power to a successor.

Last month, a political storm erupted when the ANC newsletter, ANC Today, claimed that the facilitation team was concerned about the alleged absence of a succession law in Zimbabwe and attributed these concerns to the negotiators who know only too well that Zimbabwe enacted a very clear succession law as recently as 2007.

Analysts say it is now clear that the US and UK have resolved to divide Sadc on Zimbabwe by seeking to compromise the regional body’s cohesion and common purpose using pliable interests who are now hiding their agenda under the cover of the contentious election roadmap.

It remains to be seen how the summit this week will deal with the illegal economic sanctions whose removal is a fundamental requirement of not only the GPA but also the election roadmap.

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