Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Africans reject Mugabe sanctions

This is from BBC.
The lack of unity between African and Western nations on sanctions just plays into Mugabe's narrative that blames everything on Western colonialists. Personally, I think that sanctions are unlikely to work and will just make life even more miserable for ordinary Zimbabweans. However, talks to form a unity government favored by countries such as South Africa do not seem likely to work either since Mugabe has made it a condition of talks that he be recognised as president. Another post at the end of this one lists some of the possible scenarios that could develop. There seems to be no clear solution to the impasse in sight.


Africans reject Mugabe sanctions
African leaders have told the G8 group of nations meeting in Japan that they oppose sanctions being imposed on Zimbabwe following controversial polls.
"I said that sanctions... wouldn't change the regime," Senegal's leader Abdoulaye Wade told AFP news agency.
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki reportedly told G8 leaders that UN sanctions could lead to civil war.
The US and UK are pushing for the UN Security Council to tighten targeted sanctions this week.
On Monday, Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete, who also heads the African Union, said African leaders favoured some sort of power-sharing government.
Isolating and demonising Zimbabwe is not in the best interests of anyone Bright Matonga Deputy information minister
Meanwhile, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has denied reports it is ready to resume talks with the government.
The MDC says 5,000 of its members are missing and more than 100 of its supporters have been murdered since a first round of elections in March.
President Robert Mugabe went on to win a run-off as the MDC pulled out of the June run-off, citing state-sponsored violence.
'Sham'
In a closed door meeting with G8 leaders, the UK Guardian newspaper reports that Mr Mbeki warned that Zimbabwe could descend into civil war if tougher sanctions were imposed.
"Some African leaders mentioned that we should bear in mind that Mugabe will retire in a few years. Putting pressure on Zimbabwe, including sanctions, might lead to internal conflict. We should be discreet and careful," a spokesman for Japan told the paper.
The UK and US want to tighten targeted sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his close allies, as well as impose an arms embargo.
Mr Wade, one of seven African leaders at the G8 summit, said applying sanctions should be delayed "for two or three months" to allow for mediation.
Mr Kikwete said at the G8 summit: "We are saying no party can govern alone in Zimbabwe and therefore the parties have to work together, come out to work together in a government and then look at the future of their country together."
The state-owned Herald newspaper quotes Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying that South-African talks would resume shortly but this has been denied by the MDC.
Mr Mbeki is the chief regional negotiator on Zimbabwe, and has been trying to persuade both sides to form a unity government.
He was in Harare over the weekend to hold talks, but MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai did not attend, saying meeting Mr Mugabe at State House would mean recognising his legitimacy as president.
The African Union last week ignored calls to condemn Mr Mugabe's re-election and called for a power-sharing government to be set up.
US President George W Bush described the election as a "sham".
The Zimbabwean government blames interference from Western countries for delaying a solution to the country's political impasse.
"It is the UK that is pushing for sanctions, but isolating and demonising Zimbabwe is not in the best interests of anyone. They should treat Zimbabwe as a partner rather than an enemy," South Africa's News24 website quotes Zimbabwe's Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga as saying.
Shortly after Mr Mbeki left Zimbabwe on Sunday, armed militia raided two camps for people fleeing the post-election violence.
At one camp, masked men in army fatigues beat up people who had previously sought refuge at the South African embassy, a witness said.
A small number of African states has joined the European Union, the US and other Western nations in criticising the way the election was run.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7494842.stmPublished: 2008/07/08 10:16:39 GMT© BBC MMVIII

This is also from the BBC.


Zimbabwe: Possible scenarios
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been declared the winner of a run-off election in which he was the only candidate after the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. We look at the possible scenarios ahead for Zimbabwe.
Mugabe isolated internationally and regionally
The US and UK governments have said they now do not recognise Mr Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe. They would campaign for a similar decision to be taken by the regional southern African governments, especially South Africa, and by the EU. This could prevent Mr Mugabe from attending international meetings.
Interestingly, the African Union is holding a summit on Monday. It has a rule not to accept leaders who have not been democratically elected and a process to deny them accreditation. But it would be astonishing if they took such strong action so quickly.
Sanctions increased
Sanctions might be increased. At the moment, the EU has imposed travel bans and asset-freezing measures against Mr Mugabe and 130 of his leading supporters. This list would be extended and would apply to their families as well, including children at schools and universities abroad. The US and Australia have similar targeted measures and could increase them.
The government of Zimbabwe relies heavily on its earnings from mining and there could be EU and US restrictions on companies doing business with state enterprises in Zimbabwe. Care would have to be taken not to hurt the poor, already suffering from huge inflation. The loophole is that China or other countries might step in to fill any gap.
The UN has no sanctions on Zimbabwe. Whether the Security Council would impose any must be doubtful at the moment.
Some have called for South Africa to cut electricity supplies, or for landlocked Zimbabwe's neighbours to impose a blockade but such measures would obviously hit ordinary people worst and so are unlikely.
Government of national unity
The MDC would offer negotiations and, realising that his position internationally and regionally is weakened, Mr Mugabe agrees to form a coalition government. New elections would follow.
The key question here is whether Mr Mugabe would remain president. If he did, would the MDC agree? If not, would he agree? Any agreement would also need pressure on Mr Mugabe from South Africa and other regional governments and the African Union. Also, there would need to be guarantees that the new elections would be free and fair.
Collapse of Zanu-PF leadership
Mr Mugabe's close associates would break into factions, with some wanting to find a safe way out for themselves (through an immunity deal with the MDC, for example). Others might fight on, but in the end, even they might realise it was over, would turn on Mr Mugabe and tell him to go. Without support from the powerful security force elements, Mr Mugabe could not enforce his will. Despite reports of splits within Zanu-PF, the campaign of violence shows they remain united.
Civil unrest and economic deprivation
This is the more of the same scenario. There could be violence as Zanu-PF seeks to establish total control under a renewed Mugabe presidency. Economically, the country falls into subsistence living. The chances of a full-scale civil war look remote at the moment, given the weakness of the MDC and the intimidation used by Zanu-PF.
Military intervention
Mr Tsvangirai has called for armed peacekeepers to be sent to Zimbabwe, but no government has shown any desire to send in troops to invade and remove Mr Mugabe from power. Such a move would need to be authorised by a UN Security Council resolution. This would be very difficult to get, even if anyone proposed it, which is unlikely at the moment.
Zimbabwe's army would resist any foreign military intervention - a civil war is probably the only thing worse than the current situation for ordinary Zimbabweans.
A humanitarian intervention, with the aim of protecting and feeding people, is a possibility if things get totally out of control. A UN authorised force might be assembled but it would be difficult to do anything if there was opposition from the Zimbabwean authorities.
International Criminal Court prosecution
The problem with this is that Zimbabwe has not signed up to the court and therefore proceedings cannot be taken against its leaders. Any legal action would need authorisation from the Security Council (along the lines of the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda).
Mr Tsvangirai had stressed that he would like Mr Mugabe to have an "honourable retirement" - but that was before the latest campaign of violence.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7472942.stmPublished: 2008/06/29 15:31:49 GMT© BBC MMVIII

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