Saturday, July 26, 2008

Official says Zimbabwe power-sharing talks go well.

So what happens if the talk are successful? Surely the sanctions should be withdrawn. Given that there is still violence and many want Mugabe out completely the talks may end up failing. What is surprising is that talks seem to be going forward at all. The western sanctions just play into Mugabe's script about western colonialism still being a strong force.

Official says Zimbabwe power-sharing talks go well
Zimbabwe talks go well though many Zimbabweans feel betrayed and some violence continues
Jul 25, 2008 13:20 EST
Power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's rival political parties were proceeding well Friday, a South African official said, although violence continued and hundreds of opposition supporters remained jailed.

Both sides are under pressure: the opposition from fear of more state-sponsored violence and longtime President Robert Mugabe from widening Western sanctions. The United States on Friday broadened its sanctions against targeted Zimbabweans and their companies, calling Mugabe's an "illegitimate" and "brutal" regime.
South African presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said the Zimbabwean talks got "fully under way" on Thursday and were "continuing and they are proceeding well"
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change have committed themselves to negotiating "an inclusive government" within two weeks.
The Zimbabwe parties also agreed to negotiate a slew of other issues, including revival of the shattered economy and a new constitution — but most points already had been negotiated at talks that broke off in January, ahead of presidential and legislative elections.
The biggest obstacle is agreeing on who will lead a new government.
"The opposition wants to be in the driving seat. The only way for the economy to be handled is for Mugabe to withdraw altogether, and I don't see that happening," said John Makumbe, a political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe. "I see the whole thing collapsing or, if a deal is reached, it will look so bad no one will accept it."
But the resilient Mugabe, who has survived years of attempts to oust him even by his own party, insists that he should head any government.
Tsvangirai says he won the most votes at the only legitimate election in March. But he did not win enough to avoid a runoff, from which he belatedly withdrew because of mounting state violence against his supporters.
Mugabe ran alone in the June runoff and declared himself victor, though most of the world sees that election as a sham.
Under immense pressure, with even some African leaders declaring they did not consider him Zimbabwe's elected president, Mugabe on Monday signed an agreement with the opposition to hold talks.
Makumbe, the analyst, said Monday's handshake between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has left militant followers of both leaders feeling betrayed. Victims of violence feel Tsvangirai is "supping with the devil," and should not have signed before all his supporters were released.
Tsvangirai's party says some 2,000 of its activists remain jailed on trumped up charges of violence and inciting violence. Three newly elected legislators are out on bail on various charges, including the opposition's chief negotiator at the talks, secretary-general Tendai Biti. He is accused of treason, a charge that carries the death sentence. Seven other opposition legislators are in hiding, on a wanted list for spurious allegations including rape and fraud.
Makumbe said the prospect of Mugabe and Tsvangirai sharing power is bitterly opposed by military commanders backing Mugabe and militants responsible for attacks on the opposition, who now fear retribution.
Monday's agreement also calls for an end to the political violence in which more than 150 people have been killed. Doctors who have been documenting the deaths and injuries say it's too early to tell: Most violence is committed in rural areas and, with roadblocks and other difficulties, it is taking victims up to two weeks to reach hospitals in Harare, the capital.
One opposition supporter who arrived at the Avenues Clinic in Harare this week, suffering complications from a beating perpetrated in rural Zimbabwe two weeks ago, died on Friday, according to the doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of attacks.
An opposition official admitted to the clinic this week had been beaten up by ZANU-PF militants at the weekend when he went home, thinking the violence was over, the doctors' group said.
Makumbe said the violence already had diminished after the runoff. "It served its purpose for that election but its always remains an option for ZANU-PF," Makumbe said.
Looking to put pressure on Mugabe, the United States and European Union broadened sanctions banning travel and freezing assets of people and companies considered to support Mugabe's regime.
The United States on Friday added 17 entities and one individual to its existing list targeting 132 people and 36 farms and companies.
On Tuesday, the European Union added another 37 people and companies, increasing its targeted list to 168.
"No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences," President George W. Bush said in a statement.
Source: AP News


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