The Islamic Post Blog


Zimbabwe: No Real Outcome to Talks by Khalida
August 17, 2008, 2:17 pm
Filed under: August Volume 1 - 2008, International, World | Tags: , , ,

By Durdana Jamaal Qadria, Islamic Post Staff Writer

The talks were mediated by South African President, Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki’s longstanding critic, Bishop Desmond Tutu, has referred to Mbeki’s familial communist legacy of “black” empowerment as recycling benefits for a few.

The talks were mediated by South African President, Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki’s longstanding critic, Bishop Desmond Tutu, has referred to Mbeki’s familial communist legacy of “black” empowerment as recycling benefits for a few. (AFP Photo)

Mediated by the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zimbabwe’s ruling party came together in a signing ceremony held to initiate formal talks in an effort to solve the country’s political crisis.
The MDC congratulated the opposition party and Zanu-PF ruling party  for taking this “important step” in the right direction.
“It is a very historic occasion … and I want to thank president [Mbeki] for the facilitation of this process, Morgan Tsangirai, the MDC leader, said.
“As we sign the memorandum of understanding, we all commit ourselves for a solution and I want to thank everyone who has made a contribution to ensure the process of negotiations becomes successful,” he added.
In his speech, Tsangirai reminded the attendees that while the signing is a great start, .”..as we move towards these negotiations, I hope that all of us must bear in mind the mother and the child who go to sleep without food, the people who have been brutalized, the divisions and bitter exchanges and I sincerely acknowledge that if we put our heads together, we can find a solution.”
In the aftermath of what the world’s politicians deem a stolen election, President Robert Mugabe could not afford to disregard the request of his opposition. He hoped to reassure MDC and the world concerning this part of his original plan once elected. “This is out of a decision that we made sometime ago: that we assist each other to overcome the political and economic situation which requires support,” he said.
Mbeki has been accused of “quiet diplomacy” where Mugabe was concerned. Attending the signing in Harare could be presumed as his way of countering such claims.
South African’s foreign ministry said the deal “represents a positive step forward.” This comes after a series of meetings Mbeki held with MDC, Zanu-PF and UN and African Union officials.
However, Mugabe’s critics remained disheartened and unconvinced that any changes would be made for a better Zimbabwe. The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions against Mugabe and his supporters. In hopes of admonishing Mugabe for what is being called a stolen election, President Bush said in a statement accompanied by an executive order detailing the American sanctions, “No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences.” (See “Will of the People,” page A7.)
The United States has already imposed sanctions against Mugabe, 129 other people, and 35 businesses. For a country as small and poor as Zimbabwe, this can be damaging not only to Mugabe’s administration, but it could hurt the people over whom he presides. The Treasury Department recently added 17 more businesses which Mugabe and his “regime cronies” use to “illegally siphon revenue and foreign exchange from the Zimbabwean people.”
At press time, the talks were completed; but no deals had been made. The Star, a South African newspaper, however, reported that a draft agreement was circulating and in this agreement, Mr. Tsangirai would serve as prime minister and Mr. Mugabe as ceremonial president. Meanwhile, analysts are more concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis.

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