Sunday, July 20, 2008

Positive signs for Zimbabwe

There is positive news about Zimbabwe tonight. Through the intervention of Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, there will probably be discussions between the competing parties in the recent elections to help resolve the political and economic crisis. The following is from Reuters via the New York Times:

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party could sign an agreement as early as Monday to begin substantive talks with President Robert Mugabe’s party on ending an impasse that has worsened the country’s severe economic crisis, opposition officials said on Saturday. The apparent breakthrough occurred after South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, proposed forming a team drawn from African regional bodies and the United Nations to help him mediate the crisis in Zimbabwe.

 It seemed incredible that Mbeki could sit aside and watch a neighboring nation starve. He is a close friend of President Mugabe and probably the only individual who can talk sense to him. Can he use a carrot and stick approach to alleviate the suffering in Zimbabwe? Hopefully yes. UN food aid stopped when they found Mugabe’s forces were reselling it to raise foreign exchange. When the UN insisted on controls, Mugabe threw them out. Mbeki’s team hopefully will be more persuasive. The next step will be to offer Mugabe a pleasant villa in Durban overlooking the Indian Ocean as his retirement home.

Whatever the outcome, I welcome Mbeki’s positive actions. Also, as I pointed out in my previous post on Zimbabwe, if you want to find out what is happening to the people there, read Cathy Buckle. Her normal Saturday letter hasn’t been posted yet and it's already Sunday. I pray she is OK. Update Cathy Buckle is up now. Here is some of her weeekly letter:

It's been a brutal four months that Zimbabwe will never forget. A time when the country's leaders have bombarded us with hate speech, threatened us with war and tried to make us believe that they are immortal and their rule eternal. For the last four months we have been a population in a state of mourning as a litany of horror has become our daily lives: murder, torture, abduction, rape and arson. And now, after all these weeks of abuse and before the soil has settled over fresh graves, gifts are being given by the same people who threatened war. I

t seems to be of no consequence that the constitutional deadline for the swearing in of MP's and Senators, the election of the Speaker of the House and Senate and the ceremonial opening of Parliament have all been missed. As I write this letter the leaves from the Msasa trees are falling thick and fast. They are early this year and the sound of them raining down on the roof gives notice of a new season about to start. The falling of the leaves, like the wishes of the people, cannot be stopped - no matter how many gifts are given.

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