[Marxism] Stating obvious, SADC says Zimbabwe vote not will of people
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Jun 29 22:31:20 MDT 2008
Fred Feldman wrote:
> The blocking of the resolution is a contribution by the South African
> government to the possibility of a just outcome in this situation.
> Imperialist hands off Zimbabwe!
> Fred Feldma
Right Fred, Subimperialist hands on Zimbabwe! Voetsek workers and the
poor! Unity of the venal elites in Cairo this week!
Mugabe hails Mbeki for mediation
29/06/2008 19:18 - (SA) Harare - Robert Mugabe lavished praise on his
South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki at his presidential swearing-in
ceremony on Sunday, hailing him as a statesman for his mediation efforts
"We are grateful to SADC (Southern African Development Community) and
the role of statesman played by President Mbeki," Mugabe said.
"Zimbabwe is indebted to his untiring efforts to promote harmony and
peace in Zimbabwe."
*Mail & Guardian (SA), 27 June *
* SA arms flow to Zimbabwe *
Johannesburg - South Africa has been supplying Zimbabwe with weapons of
war, including helicopters, revolvers and cartridges - despite the
mounting human rights atrocities in that country. The sales, some
involving state arms company Armscor, have been quietly taking place for
some years. When a Chinese freighter recently carried weapons destined
for the Zimbabwean military and tried to dock in Durban, there was an
international outcry. Information at the Mail & Guardian’s disposal
points to a cosy relationship between the defence forces of both
countries, as well as government-to-government arms transfers. This
appears to conflict with President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation role between
the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC, which demands neutrality. The
M&G can also reveal that private South African companies have sold arms
to Zimbabwe and that these transfers must have been approved by
government’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC). The
committee is chaired by Minister of Provincial and Local Government
Sydney Mufamadi who also happens to be Mbeki’s envoy in the Zimbabwean
Mbeki has been mediating between the Zimbabwean parties since 2001 in an
attempt to break the cycle of stolen elections and mounting violence.
Repression by the Zimbabwean state and its agents has seen tens of
thousands ofZimbabweans harassed and displaced and scores killed. The
M&G can reveal that in recent years: Armaments to the value of $237 401
(R3,3-million) were privately transferred from South Africa to Zimbabwe,
according to 2004 and 2005 figures; The South African defence department
donated Dakota aircraft engines worth millions to Zimbabwe, while
Armscor transferred spares to get Zimbabwean military choppers flying
again; Zimbabwean soldiers and flying instructors have been trained by
the South African Defence Force and the South African Air Force; Armscor
was contracted to transport the weaponry destined for Zimbabwe and
carried by the An Yue Jiang from the Durban port to Harare. The deal
fell through when a court order stopped the ship from offloading and it
The arms transfers to Zimbabwe are reflected in official trade records
between 2004 and 2005. Although these statistics concern sales by
private companies in South Africa, they would still have had to be
approved by Mufamadi’s NCACC. The trade records show that in 2004 South
Africa exported about 2,6 tonnes of revolvers and/or pistols, another
2,5 tonnes of other firearms, between four and 7,5 tonnes of cartridges
and what appear to be parts for military vehicles. These armaments were
transferred in the run-up to and aftermath of Zimbabwe’s 2005
parliamentary polls, which were marked by violence. Altogether 18
entries in the trade records were specified from 2004 to 2005, most of
them under the general category, "Arms, Ammunition, Parts and
Accessories". But some were specified under the category that includes
bombs, grenades, torpedoes and missiles, while some transfers fell into
the category of "revolvers and pistols".
In the NCACC’s annual reports from 2003 to 2006, which are not publicly
released but of which the M&G has been given a detailed description, no
mention is made of any of these transfers. The only mention of arms
transfers to Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2006 is a "temporary export"
called "Type A" - a classification used for spares or repairs - in 2005.
The data also show the sale of arms to Zimbabwe by China, Brazil and the
United Arab Emirates - but South Africa is by far the most frequent and
largest supplier. In 2005 Armscor delivered spare parts for Alouette
military helicopters to Zimbabwe to a value of $150 000 (about
R1-million), an Armscor spokesperson confirmed. The Alouettes,
previously grounded, were made airworthy. According to the annual report
of the South African defence department, South Africa donated eight
Dakota aircraft engines worth R9,5-million to the Zimbabwean Air Force
in September 2005.
The disclosure of the extent of South African arms transfers to Zimbabwe
comes after the Chinese arms ship saga, when civil society stepped in to
prevent the An Yue Jiang from offloading at Durban harbour. The issue is
known to have caused conflict in the Cabinet, where President Mbeki and
Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota insisted that the ship should be allowed
to offload. As previously reported in the M&G, Finance Minister Trevor
Manuel and Transport Minister Jeff Radebe disagreed and tried to halt
the delivery. Trucks from an Armscor affiliate were ready to take the
weapons from Durban to Harare by road. But when the ship sailed away in
contravention of the court order, the transaction was cancelled, said
the Armscor spokesperson. Mufamadi later told Parliament that the permit
for the transportation of the arms had been approved and that the South
African government saw nothing wrong with facilitating delivery. This
suggests a political conflict of interest for Mufamadi, who is also a
key player in the Mbeki faciliation team brokering a deal between Zanu
PF and the MDC.
SANDF annual reports make it clear the South African government has
become closer to the Zimbabwean military in recent years. Several
Zimbabwean soldiers and flying instructors have been trained by the
SANDF since 2002. In 2006 a joint permanent commission of defence and
security was formed to ensure close cooperation on defence issues
between the two countries. In May 2006 the SANDF presented a course to,
among others, Zimbabwean chaplains in the combating of HIV. In the 2006
annual report the deputy minister of defence, Mluleki George, said the
South African Air Force was considering using Zimbabwean flying
instructors to supplement its own trainers, who were in short supply.
The South African Air Force participated in the "silver celebrations" of
the Zimbabwean Air force in 2005. Cooperation between South Africa and
Zimbabwe on the issue of border protection is also ongoing.
South Africa recently voted in the United Nations General Assembly for a
process to set up a global Arms Trade Treaty to prevent the
irresponsible transfer of arms, an idea launched in a campaign by
Amnesty International and 800 other NGOs in 2003. South Africa was
recently allowed into the multilateral Wassenaar Arrangement, subscribed
to by a number of countries, to contribute to regional and international
security and stability by promoting transparency and greater
responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and
technologies. The text of the arrangement reads: "Participating states
seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these
items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military
capabilities which undermine these goals." According to Nicole Fritz,
director of the Southern African Litigation Centre, states which render
assistance to states that use state machinery against some sections of
their society are held responsible under international law. "Knowing
what the situation is like in Zimbabwe means a government that gives
them assistance becomes complicit."
*Africa must disown Mugabe*
The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly urges the
governments of Africa to refuse to recognise Robert Mugabe as the
legitimate head of state of Zimbabwe, and to bar him from attending any
meetings of the African Union or SADC.
The scandalous sham ‘election’ of 27 June did not in any way reflect the
will of the people. He ‘won’ the vote by a brutal wave of intimidation,
violence and murder, and the systematic sabotage of the opposition MDC’s
campaign, which forced them to withdraw. COSATU congratulates all those
Zimbabweans who bravely refused to vote or spoilt their ballot papers.
They refused to legitimise the farcical election, despite the knowledge
that they risked further assaults and even their lives as a consequence.
Mugabe has had no mandate to rule since losing the elections on 29 March
2008, and is now more discredited then ever. He is presiding over a
ruthless military dictatorship. COSATU calls upon the AU and SADC to
disown him and recognise only an interim, transitional administration
whose sole task will be to hold new, free and fair elections, with
sufficient AU and SADC monitors to ensure that there is no
state-sponsored violence and that the will of the people prevails.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
AFP, 29 June
Is Mbeki lobbying for Mugabe?
Zimbabwe's opposition leader accused South African President Thabo Mbeki
on Sunday of lobbying for Robert Mugabe to be recognised as head of
state after staging a one-man election. In an interview with the
Johannesburg-based Sunday Times, MDC supremo Morgan Tsvangirai said
Mbeki wanted fellow African leaders to recognise his old ally Mugabe as
Zimbabwe's legitimate leader to ensure his widely-criticised mediation
efforts could make progress.
Although Western leaders have dismissed Friday's run-off election as a
sham, Mbeki has so far made no comment since the ballot and flew on
Saturday to Egypt ahead of an African Union summit which Mugabe is also
set to attend. "I have received information that President Mbeki is
lobbying at the African Union to have that position (that Mugabe is
president) taken," Tsvangirai told the newspaper.
"For President Mbeki to promote Mugabe in these circumstances flies
against the grain of international opinion, disregards the feelings of
Zimbabweans and undermines again his credibility in the mediation
effort." Tsvangirai won the first round of the election in March but
boycotted the run-off after a wave of deadly attacks against his
The MDC leader was also detained by police five times during the
campaign before deciding to pull out of the process last Sunday. The MDC
leader has previously called for Mbeki to be axed as the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community's mediator on Zimbabwe, accusing
him of blatant bias towards Mugabe.
Results from the election were expected to be announced later Sunday
before the 84-year-old Mugabe is sworn in for a sixth term in office.
'Leaders won't condemn Mugabe'
29/06/2008 23:59 - (SA) Sharm El-Sheikh - Fellow African leaders showed
little willingness on Sunday to stand up to President Robert Mugabe and
condemn the longtime Zimbabwe ruler's disputed, violent reign ahead of
his arrival at an African Union summit.
Despite international calls to isolate Mugabe, the AU readied to welcome
him as a legitimate head of state.
"It will be none of this summit's business to choose the titles for
leaders, it is the business of this summit to see what we are going to
do for the suffering people and masses in Africa," Tanzanian Foreign
Minister Bernard Membe remarked when asked if he would address Mugabe as
Mugabe was inaugurated on Sunday after declaring victory in a
presidential run-off election from which the opposition dropped out,
citing violence against its supporters.
Mugabe not criticised
A draft resolution written by African foreign ministers during two days
of talks ahead of the AU summit, a copy of which was obtained by The
Associated Press, did not criticise the elections or Mugabe.
It condemned violence in general terms and called for dialogue.
At least 86 people have died in election-related violence and some 200
000 people reportedly have been driven from their homes.
Participants in the meetings at Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh said Mugabe would not be publicly condemned.
Instead, they said fellow Africans would gently urge him to engage in
some sort of power sharing agreement, such as the one in Kenya which
ended bloodshed there after flawed elections.
"I think the strategy of the Zimbabwe government is to put Zimbabwe in
front of everyone else since not everyone has clean hands on this
continent," said Delphine Lecoutre, an Ethiopia-based expert on the
African Union familiar with the closed door discussions.
Zimbabwe is far from Africa's only experience with flawed elections. The
summit's host nation, Egypt, is often criticised by international rights
groups for jailing dissidents to President Hosni Mubarak's nearly
Africa versus rest of the world
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe for 28 years, since the country's independence
from Britain in 1980.
Western condemnation of the nationalist hero-turned-dictator, which
includes threats of sanctions from the United States, could prompt other
African nations to rally around him.
"I think Mugabe is going to play on that and this is Africa versus the
rest of the world, and we don't want lessons from the outside," Lecoutre
One group with some authority to confront Mugabe, the Southern African
Development Council, has emerged after Zimbabwe's run-off elections as
hopelessly divided, postponing its final report on the run-off election
because members could not agree on its contents.
Zimbabwe's opposition has called on the African Union to take a larger
role in mediating the crisis, partly due to its dissatisfaction with the
SADC, and particularly South Africa.
The Movement for Democratic Change's vice-president, Thokozani Khupe,
called on the AU to send a dedicated envoy to Zimbabwe to supplement
Mbeki's role as well as peacekeepers to halt the violence.
Khupe told the AP on Sunday that she had met with several delegations
from southern and eastern Africa on the sidelines of the summit, and
that they had backed her call.
"There is a good commitment from the leaders we have met," Khupe said.
"They are saying they will support that (initiative), but at the moment
there are no specifics."
Rantane Lamamra of the AU's key Peace and Security Commission, however,
dismissed the notion that peacekeepers would be heading to Zimbabwe
anytime soon, especially with the current missions in Darfur and elsewhere.
"We were talking about Somalia and the difficulties of mobilising troops
there, so I hope there will be no need to intervene in Zimbabwe or any
other country in Africa," he said.
("Thabo Mbeki and Mr. Mugabe are highly educated politicians who feel
they were trained to govern, Moeletsi Mbeki contends, arguing that Mr.
Mugabe sees Mr. Tsvangirai, who did not attend college, as “the
riffraff.” “It’s a class thing,” he said. “The same with my brother:
master’s from Sussex.”")
NY Times, June 27, 2008
Complex Ties Lead Ally Not to Condemn Mugabe
By CELIA W. DUGGER and BARRY BEARAK
JOHANNESBURG — President Robert Mugabe’s enforcers had already begun to
rampage across Zimbabwe, beating his political opponents, when
television cameras captured a startling image of Mr. Mugabe holding
hands with the smiling South African president, Thabo Mbeki, a professed
champion of African democracy.
It was April 2000. And Mr. Mbeki, leader of the continent’s most
powerful nation, spoke no evil of Mr. Mugabe’s repressive ways.
Eight years later, in April 2008, much the same scene repeated itself.
For two weeks, Zimbabwean election officials had refused to release the
results of an election Mr. Mugabe had lost, and a new wave of violence
was beginning. Again, the despot and the democrat genially clasped hands
as Mr. Mbeki declared that there was no political crisis in Zimbabwe.
The complex relationship between these men, stretching back almost 30
years, is crucial to fathoming why Mr. Mbeki, picked last year by
regional leaders to officially mediate Zimbabwe’s conflict, does not
publicly criticize Mr. Mugabe, nor use South Africa’s unique economic
leverage as the dominant nation in the region to curb his ruthless
methods despite years of rigged elections.
The world’s puzzlement with Mr. Mbeki’s approach — walking softly,
carrying no stick — has turned into deep frustration these past two
months as state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe has become so sweeping
that the opposition’s candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, who outpolled Mr.
Mugabe in the first round, quit the race five days shy of the
presidential runoff on Friday.
Mr. Mbeki’s policy, typically called “quiet diplomacy,” is built on the
staunch conviction that his special bond with Mr. Mugabe can resolve the
crisis in Zimbabwe through patient negotiations, his colleagues and
Mr. Mbeki’s biographers, his colleagues, even his brother debate why he
has stuck with his approach despite years of bad faith by Mr. Mugabe.
Mr. Mbeki’s consistency is variously attributed to a hubristic
resistance to admitting failure, a worldview deeply suspicious of
Western interference in African affairs, a hard-nosed calculation of
political interests and a realistic assessment of the limits of South
Africa’s power when confronted with an unrelenting autocrat.
For years, South Africa has sought to block international action against
Mr. Mugabe’s government and, as recently as June 19, refused to join an
American effort at the United Nations to condemn the political attacks
in Zimbabwe. Only after the clamor against Mr. Mugabe grew even louder
did South Africa agree on Monday to support the Security Council’s
condemnation of the “campaign of violence” afflicting the nation.
With Zimbabwe’s economy in ruins and millions of its people having fled
to South Africa and other nations, quiet diplomacy is now widely
regarded as a tragic blot on the legacy of the region’s leading
politician, an ambitious, high-minded man who stepped energetically into
Nelson Mandela’s shoes in 1999. It also stands in contrast to the much
more critical stance of many African leaders past and present, including
Mr. Mandela, who this week cited a “tragic failure of leadership” in
Mr. Mbeki and his team are even now scrambling to salvage a negotiated
political settlement, and on Wednesday South Africa’s deputy foreign
minister, Aziz Pahad, told reporters, “We can only say the mediation has
failed if we reach a situation where Zimbabwe totally gets engulfed in a
state of civil war.”
South African officials contend that Mr. Mbeki’s mediation led to a
relatively fair election in the first round of voting in March, with
tallies posted at polling stations, a plurality of votes for Mr.
Tsvangirai and a majority in Parliament for the opposition Movement for
“His approach has produced results,” said Themba Maseko, the spokesman
for the South African government.
But Mark Gevisser, who wrote a biography of Mr. Mbeki, “Thabo Mbeki: The
Dream Deferred” (Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2007), offered the prevailing
view of the president’s Zimbabwe policy: “It’s his great diplomatic
failure. And it’s all the more significant because of the incredibly
high bar he set for African democracy.”
Mr. Mbeki, now 66, began his career with a strong sense of a destiny.
The son of Govan Mbeki, an icon of South Africa’s liberation struggle,
he was anointed as a leader early and sent abroad to study at the
University of Sussex, where he earned a master’s degree in economics.
His mentor was Oliver Tambo, the exiled leader of the African National
Congress, and he was trained to use his mind more than his muscles, a
student of global economics rather than armed struggle.
Mr. Mbeki struck up a friendship with Mr. Mugabe in 1980, soon after the
Zimbabwean came to power, Mr. Gevisser said. Over time, he developed a
filial relationship to the elder leader. “Mugabe is the father, but not
a beloved father, a troublesome one, the kind the son wishes would just
listen to him once in a while,” Mr. Gevisser said.
While Mr. Mbeki had no illusions about Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Gevisser and
others say, he felt a kinship with the hero of Zimbabwe’s liberation
struggle against white supremacist rule.
“He believes, ‘Even if the rest of the world thinks I am an appeaser —
that I’m just as bad as Mugabe — I have to keep doing what I’m doing
because I have this special relationship,’ ” the biographer said of Mr.
Mbeki. “He thinks he is the only one who can talk to Mugabe, and the
only way to get Mugabe out is quietly and through his acquiescence.”
Mr. Mbeki’s younger brother, Moeletsi, 62, who worked for nine years in
the 1980s as a journalist in Zimbabwe, says the alliance between the men
springs more from a political than a personal affinity: Mr. Mugabe and
Mr. Mbeki view the trade union movement as a common threat.
Mr. Mugabe’s nemesis, Mr. Tsvangirai, is a former trade union leader.
And Thabo Mbeki, whose fiscally conservative economic policies alienated
the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions, lost the leadership
of the African National Congress last year to Jacob Zuma, who had the
Thabo Mbeki and Mr. Mugabe are highly educated politicians who feel they
were trained to govern, Moeletsi Mbeki contends, arguing that Mr. Mugabe
sees Mr. Tsvangirai, who did not attend college, as “the riffraff.”
“It’s a class thing,” he said. “The same with my brother: master’s from
Moeletsi, a frequent critic of his brother, said he believed South
Africa’s protection of Mr. Mugabe — the blind eye to rigged elections,
the shielding from international censure — would likely end if Mr. Zuma
became president next year, as expected, “not because of Zuma,” but
because the unions “will demand it stop.”
It was the dock workers in South Africa who refused to unload a Chinese
arms shipment intended for Zimbabwe in April, a shipment the South
African government was facilitating.
But some who have long known Mr. Mbeki find the trade union explanation
unconvincing, arguing that his approach to Zimbabwe grows instead from a
belief in African solutions to African problems, and to acting only with
unanimity among the nations of southern Africa.
George Bizos, Nelson Mandela’s lawyer and one of his oldest friends,
visited Mr. Mbeki when Mr. Bizos was defending Mr. Tsvangirai in 2003
and 2004 against treason charges that he said grew out of a frame-up
concocted by Mr. Mugabe. At the time, Mr. Mbeki’s critics contended he
could quickly topple Mr. Mugabe by blocking landlocked Zimbabwe from
gaining access South African ports, or by cutting off its electricity,
among other steps, but the president found these options unappealing.
“He said, ‘I can’t cut the electricity because the grid goes to other
countries,’ ” Mr. Bizos said. “ ‘I can’t shut the frontier gates because
we require passage to countries northeast and northwest of us through
“ ‘Please tell me what to do.’ ”
While Mr. Bizos said quiet diplomacy had failed, he doubted anything
else would have worked. “You can’t put meaningful pressure on a person
who’s an egomaniac, who doesn’t care about his people and only cares
about staying in power,” he said.
Others who have known Mr. Mbeki over the years worry that Mr. Mugabe ran
circles around him and say Mr. Mbeki should have shifted tactics years
ago, been more forthright in condemning egregious human rights abuses
and sought a broader role for the international community.
Mr. Gevisser and others who know Mr. Mbeki, with his ideological
commitment to African self-determination, say that he digs in when under
fire, especially from Western powers like the United States and Britain,
which have been pushing South Africa to act more forcefully.
In April, after Jendayi E. Frazer, the American assistant secretary of
state for Africa, visited the region, Mr. Mbeki sent President Bush a
letter that a senior American official called rambling and aggressively
Ms. Frazer had openly condemned Mr. Mugabe for the delay in releasing
the election results and said the evidence pointed to a Tsvangirai victory.
The American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the
letter was never made public, said Mr. Mbeki strongly objected to
Americans coming to southern Africa to talk about Zimbabwe without
consulting him, the region’s appointed mediator, and attacking an
election that he said had by and large respected the rule of law.
By then, American diplomats in Harare had begun venturing into the
Zimbabwean countryside and collecting evidence of the brutal attacks on
opposition supporters, and, the official said, “It seemed very out of
touch with reality and with what was unfolding on the ground.”
This month, these resentments surfaced when Mr. Mbeki addressed South
Africa’s National Assembly, criticizing those who describe South Africa
as a rogue democracy because “we refuse to serve as their subservient”
stone throwers against Mr. Mugabe.
Mr. Mbeki has told the government and the opposition that the violence
needs to stop, Mr. Maseko said. And the violence has now created a need
for yet more quiet diplomacy.
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