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US House of Representatives Criticizes Mugabe Government


In two resolutions, the U.S. House of Representatives criticizes Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe for ongoing political violence. VOA's Dan Robison has more in this report from Capitol Hill.

One of the resolutions condemns post-election violence in Zimbabwe earlier this year and calls for an immediate and peaceful resolution of the current political crisis and an end to violence.

The other commends dock workers and union members in South Africa and elsewhere who moved to block an arms shipment that was destined for Zimbabwe.

New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne, who chairs the House Africa Subcommittee sponsores the first measure:

"While many African countries move to embrace democracy and rule of law, the dictatorship in Zimbabwe has taken the once-promising country to a state of anarchy and haplessness," said Congressman Payne.

Payne's resolution urges a cessation of attacks on and abuse of civilians, and condemns what it calls an orchestrated campaign of violence, torture and harassment against the opposition by the ruling party and supporters and sympathizers in Zimbabwe's police and military.

The measure also encourages the government and opposition to begin a dialogue aimed at establishing a government of national unity and eventual peaceful transition of power through free and fair elections, along with creation of a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation commission.

Republican Chris Smith:

"With a runoff election scheduled for June 27th, we need to send a message, a good strong bipartisan message, that we in the U.S. and the world expect fair, peaceful, balloting," said Congressman Smith. "The will of the people must be heard."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday expressed profound alarm over the situation in Zimbabwe, ahead of the presidential election runoff vote.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice urged the U.N. Security Council and African leaders to put pressure on President Mugabe to ensure that voting is free and fair. The Security Council has scheduled a formal meeting next week on Zimbabwe.

In a separate resolution, House lawmakers commend South Africa's Transport and Allied Workers Union and its members for their refusal to unload a shipment of arms that arrived on a Chinese vessel in the South African port of Durban this past March.

This resolution states that the arms were likely to be used by the Mugabe government against the political opposition and other civilians, and praises the Congress of Southern African Trade Unions which joined a call by the International Transport Federation for an international boycott of the vessel.

California Republican Ed Royce says the actions of dock workers and union leaders likely prevented a new outbreak of bloodshed in Zimbabwe.

"The ship of shame, as South Africans began to call it, as African civil society dubbed it, went on to Mozambique where it was turned away, when on to other ports in other countries where it was turned away, and it steamed back to China," said Congressman Royce. "Africans stood up for other Africans, an inspiring event indeed."

House lawmakers also urge U.S. support at the United Nations for an international moratorium on all arms, weapons and related shipments to Zimbabwe until the country's political crisis is resolved and democracy, human rights and the rule of law are respected by the Zimbabwe government.

In April, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution containing a call for a peaceful resolution of Zimbabwe's political crisis, and urging a United Nations arms embargo.

In two resolutions, the U.S. House of Representatives criticizes Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe for ongoing political violence. VOA's Dan Robison has more in this report from Capitol Hill.

One of the resolutions condemns post-election violence in Zimbabwe earlier this year and calls for an immediate and peaceful resolution of the current political crisis and an end to violence.

The other commends dock workers and union members in South Africa and elsewhere who moved to block an arms shipment that was destined for Zimbabwe.

Both measures were sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne, who chairs the House Africa Subcommittee.

"While many African countries move to embrace democracy and rule of law, the dictatorship in Zimbabwe has taken the once-promising country to a state of anarchy and haplessness," said Congressman Payne.

Payne's resolution urges a cessation of attacks on and abuse of civilians, and condemns what it calls an orchestrated campaign of violence, torture and harassment against the opposition by the ruling party and supporters and sympathizers in Zimbabwe's police.

The measure also encourages the government and opposition to begin a dialogue aimed at establishing a government of national unity and eventual peaceful transition of power through free and fair elections, along with creation of a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation commission.

Republican Chris Smith:

"With a runoff election scheduled for June 27th, we need to send a message, a good strong bipartisan message, that we in the U.S. and the world expect fair, peaceful, balloting," said Congressman Smith. "The will of the people must be heard."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday expressed profound alarm over the situation in Zimbabwe, ahead of the presidential election runoff vote.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice urged the U.N. Security Council and African leaders to put pressure on President Mugabe to ensure that voting is free and fair. The Security Council has scheduled a formal meeting next week on Zimbabwe.

In a separate resolution, House lawmakers commend South Africa's Transport and Allied Workers Union and its members for their refusal to unload a shipment of arms that arrived on a Chinese vessel in the South African port of Durban this past March.

This resolution states that the arms were likely to be used by the Mugabe government against the political opposition and other civilians, and praises the Congress of Southern African Trade Unions which joined a call by the International Transport Federation for an international boycott of the vessel.

California Republican Ed Royce says the actions of dock workers and union leaders likely prevented a new outbreak of bloodshed in Zimbabwe.

"The ship of shame, as South Africans began to call it, as African civil society dubbed it, went on to Mozambique where it was turned away, when on to other ports in other countries where it was turned away, and it steamed back to China," said Congressman Royce. Africans stood up for fellow Africans, an inspiring event indeed."

House lawmakers also urge U.S. support at the United Nations for an international moratorium on all arms, weapons and related shipments to Zimbabwe until the country's political crisis is resolved and democracy, human rights and the rule of law are respected by the Zimbabwe government.

In April, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution containing a call for a peaceful resolution of Zimbabwe's political crisis, and urging a United Nations arms embargo.

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