[Marxism] WSJ: Can African Leaders Solve Crisis in Zimbabwe?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 1 01:20:37 MDT 2008

(It looks like Washington and London are being frustrated in their
hopes of getting the leaders of the African states to intervene on
behalf of the US and UK to impose their desired solutions on the
people of Zimbabwe. It would be unwise for the US and UK, not to
speak of logistically difficult, to militarily intervene against the
Zimbabwe government. As we read, Tsvangirai is ready to join Mugabe's
government, but probably only if he had control over the army and
police, something Mugabe would probably not agree with. African
foot-dragging seems to be accomplishing what open defiance of the US
and UK would not: giving Washington and London what they want of
Mugabe, a push aside and down, though not quite out. As is evident,
Mugabe DOES retain support in some sectors, which is why Tsvangirai
and the MDC hope to achieve their goals through maneuverings. It's
evident that these African heads of state are rather nervous over
the precedent which their intervention against Mugabe would suggest
for future interventions against themselves and their governments.)

"Mr. Tsvangirai, in an interview with the Sunday
Telegraph, reiterated his willingness to sit in a
national unity government with Mr. Mugabe's party
and his proposal to give Mr. Mugabe a ceremonial
position as president for life."

Can African Leaders Solve Crisis in Zimbabwe?
June 30, 2008 7:00 a.m.

The Morning Brief, a look at the day's biggest news, is emailed to
subscribers by 7 a.m. every business day. Sign up for the e-mail

The African Union attracts an unusual amount of attention today as
the world wonders if regional leaders can ease the crisis in
Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president after
elections marred by violence and intimidation.

Mr. Mugabe was inaugurated Sunday in a hastily convened ceremony,
shortly after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced the results
of a presidential election run-off which was supposed to have pitted
him against Morgan Tsvangirai. The opposition leader garnered more
votes than Mr. Mugabe in the general election but withdrew last week
from the run-off voting, citing ruling-party pressure on his
supporters. During talks ahead of their annual summit in Sharm
el-Sheikh, Egypt, AU foreign ministers came up with a draft
resolution generally condemning the recent violence in Zimbabwe, but
avoiding any direct criticism of Mr. Mugabe, the BBC reports. The
draft also called for dialogue, and African leaders are expected to
urge Mr. Mugabe to accept some sort of power-sharing agreement
between his ruling Zanu-PF party and Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change. But many leaders have so far shied away from
pressuring Mr. Mugabe, and the AU -- which, according to the BBC, has
a rule not to accept leaders who haven't been democratically elected
-- has yet to comment on a report issued by its own observers calling
for new elections to be held "as soon as possible" to correct
irregularities, The Wall Street Journal notes.

Mr. Tsvangirai has voiced dissatisfaction with the region's official
Zimbabwe mediator, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, saying he
is biased in Mr. Mugabe's favor, the New York Times reports, noting
that Mr. Mbeki has contended that he must maintain neutrality. There
are those who have voiced strong criticism of Mr. Mugabe, including
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa. But Mr. Mwanawasa was rushed to a
hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh suffering chest pains on the eve of the
summit, and wasn't in attendance today. Another Mugabe critic is
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who has called for the AU to
deploy troops to Zimbabwe, as Reuters reports. "What is happening in
Zimbabwe is a shame and an embarrassment to Africa in the eyes of the
international community and should be denounced," Mr. Odinga told a
crowd in his home province in Kenya. That country's power-sharing
agreement, reached after a disputed election, is touted as a possible
example for Zimbabwe, Reuters notes.

Mr. Tsvangirai isn't coming to Sharm el-Sheikh because Zimbabwean
authorities haven't given him back his passport since he turned it in
to have pages added, the Times reports. But his party has several
hopes for the AU summit. One MDC strategist tells the paper: "If we
get the African Union to condemn the June 27 election, that'd be
good. … If we can get them to appoint a mediator, we'd be ecstatic.
If we can get them to explicitly say they don't recognize the
election, and Mugabe shouldn't even be there as Zimbabwe's leader,
that'd be historic."


Mugabe's Win Poses Problems
For African Union
After Fractious Vote,
Leaders Must Reject
Or Affirm Results
June 30, 2008; Page A6

When Robert Mugabe, fresh from a victory in a one-sided election and
a hastily arranged presidential inauguration, joins an African
heads-of-state summit Monday, his colleagues will face a choice:
chastise him or cement his claim as Zimbabwe's legitimate ruler.

The crisis in Zimbabwe is expected to overshadow the main agenda --
water and sanitation issues -- at the 53-member African Union's
annual meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

But despite global denunciations that Zimbabwe's elections were a
sham, it is unclear how decisively the African Union will handle the
one-time liberation leader. At least six African presidents and a
prime minister have condemned the actions of Mr. Mugabe, 84 years
old, in his quest to extend his 28-year rule.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission Sunday confirmed an overwhelming
victory for Mr. Mugabe in a runoff held Friday. Mr. Mugabe was the
only candidate after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew
from the race because of intimidation and violence against his

Mr. Mugabe won 85.5% of the votes, according to the government
commission, while Mr. Tsvangirai, whose name was left on the ballot,
garnered 10%. Election officials reported a 42% voter turnout,
similar to that in the first round of voting in March, when Mr.
Mugabe placed second in official results, with 43% of the vote,
behind Mr. Tsvangirai's 47%.

The election results, described by Mr. Tsvangirai as an "exercise in
self-delusion," triggered a fresh wave of international condemnation.
President George W. Bush announced his intention to impose a new
round of sanctions against Mr. Mugabe and top government officials.
He also said the United Nations Security Council should enact an arms
embargo against Zimbabwe. Canada also declared new sanctions on Mr.
Mugabe and close military officials.

Yet African leaders assembling in Egypt made no immediate comment
about the poll numbers or a scathing report issued earlier Sunday 
by African Union election observers. The report recommended a new
election be held "as soon as possible" to correct irregularities. 
The recommendation was backed by a 400-person observation team from the
Southern African Development Community, a group traditionally close
to Mr. Mugabe.

African Union election observers, speaking at a news conference in
Harare, also recommended the African Union promote a power-sharing
accord between Mr. Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Mr. Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change to shore up stability in a nation
crumbling under the weight of runaway inflation.

"It's inconceivable under the present climate, the way the political
landscape is, that Zanu-PF can go it alone," said the African Union
election observers' spokesman, Marwick Khumalo.

Mr. Mugabe appeared to acknowledge the cascade of complaints. During
the swearing-in ceremony he curbed his trademark rhetoric of defiance
and adopted a tone of reconciliation.

"It is my hope that sooner rather than later we shall, as diverse
political parties, hold consultation toward...dialogue," the
president said, to the cheers of supporters and the trills of a
military band.

Diplomats in southern Africa said African Union officials were
discussing behind closed doors a recommendation for a Zimbabwe
power-sharing deal like one hammered out in Kenya, where election
irregularities last year triggered widespread violence.

Electoral officials said Mr. Mugabe won the June 27 runoff and 
he was sworn in for a sixth term.

A major sticking point in the discussions is a role for Mr. Mugabe,
diplomats said. Mr. Tsvangirai, in an interview with the Sunday
Telegraph, reiterated his willingness to sit in a national unity
government with Mr. Mugabe's party and his proposal to give Mr.
Mugabe a ceremonial position as president for life.

Yet African leaders so far have been unwilling to force such a
solution on Mr. Mugabe, especially South African President Thabo
Mbeki, who has a close relationship with Mr. Mugabe and is scheduled
to take over the leadership of the African Union in August.

Mr. Mbeki received special commendation in Mr. Mugabe's inauguration
speech. Zimbabwe was "indebted" to Mr. Mbeki's mediation efforts, he
said. Supporters of a tougher approach say Mr. Mbeki's soft diplomacy
isn't an effective way to push Mr. Mugabe to a compromise.

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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