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WSJ: Can African Leaders Solve Crisis in Zimbabwe?

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  • Walter Lippmann
    (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
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 1, 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?
      By DAVID HALL
      THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
      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
      here.

      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
      By MARGARET COKER and FARAI MUTSAKA
      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
      supporters.

      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.



      =========================================
      WALTER LIPPMANN
      Los Angeles, California
      Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
      "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
      =========================================
    • Ben White
      You mean frustrated in their hopes of getting the leaders of the African states to intervene on behalf of the PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE who are suffering worse than
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 1, 2008
        You mean frustrated in their hopes of getting the leaders of the
        African states to intervene on behalf of the PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE who
        are suffering worse than any other country in the world.

        --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Walter Lippmann
        <walterlx@...> wrote:
        >
        > (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?
        > By DAVID HALL
        > THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
        > 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
        > here.
        >
        > 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
        > By MARGARET COKER and FARAI MUTSAKA
        > 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
        > supporters.
        >
        > 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.
        >
        >
        >
        > =========================================
        > WALTER LIPPMANN
        > Los Angeles, California
        > Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
        > "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
        > =========================================
        >
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