The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe says international
pressure has so far failed to weaken embattled President Robert Mugabe's firm
grip on power. Ambassador James McGee maintains that President Mugabe has no
intention of following through with the recently signed power-sharing agreement
with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). His comments
come after South Africa said Thursday it was withholding financial aid to
Harare to show Pretoria's frustration with the lack of progress with
negotiations between the ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC. Zimbabwean political
analyst Glen Mpani tells reporter Peter Clottey that Ambassador McGee is right
in his evaluation of the Zimbabwe crisis.
think his assessment is quite correct that international pressure has failed to
weaken Mugabe. What it has simply done is that it has played into his
propaganda that he has been using over the years to say the Zimbabwe problem is
external. So, whenever external powers or external players try to discuss the
Zimbabwean issue, he tries to push it away, arguing that there is influence
from the British, who are aggrieved because of the land problem," Mpani noted.
said President Mugabe's way of handling the situation in his country is making
life difficult for the African continent.
has also affected regional bodies including the African Union, who are now being
forced to decide whether to be behind an African brother who is being
persecuted by the west or to pay much attention to the human right abuses and
the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe, and that is the dilemma that the
people of Zimbabwe are concerned with," he said.
Africa said Thursday it will withhold nearly 30 million dollars of aid to
Zimbabwe until a new government is formed as it prepares to host new
power-sharing talks next week.
said Harare knows African leaders are disgruntled, but would not publicly
criticize the ZANU-PF party.
government of Harare is fully aware that members of SADC (Southern African
Development Community) and members of the AU (African Union) privately are
disgruntled over the way the government in Harare is handling the affairs and
the negotiation process. But as long as they don't speak publicly and as long
as they don't raise or object to it unanimously, I think it would always be to
the advantage of the ZANU-PF government," Mpani pointed out.
said a ZANU-PF government would not in the least be concerned about South
Africa's decision to withhold financial aid until a unity government is formed
withholding of the money of the South African government, saying they are
waiting for an inclusive government to be formed does not really send the right
signal to the ZANU-PF government to really say that there is a problem. They
(ZANU-PF) would just take it as the process before where they ended up not
borrowing money from the South African government. So it does not really
clearly show that the South African government is frustrated," he said.
former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and others, including Nelson Mandela, are
pressing ahead with a humanitarian mission to Zimbabwe, despite stiff
resistance from Harare, which declared that they are unwelcome.
Mpani said there is need for the group of world leaders to
visit Zimbabwe and illuminate the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
"As you have already heard from the media, the Zimbabwe
government has already said they are not welcome because they are viewing them
as partisans. But I think that the initiative to go to Zimbabwe would help put
Zimbabwe in the limelight because as you are aware, because of the developments
in the Democratic Republic of Congo, attention on Zimbabwe has become minimal.
So there is need for them to go and look at what is happening on the
humanitarian situation because it is very important," Mpani noted.
taking part in the two-day visit starting Saturday are former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Graca Machel, an
international advocate for women's and children's rights who is married to
Mandela. Annan stressed in a statement that the visit was separate from a
regional attempt to get Mugabe and his rivals to implement a power-sharing
agreement that has been stalled since it was signed in September.