Southern African ministers meeting in South Africa have pledged to help
Zimbabwe's reconstruction and plan to hold a special regional summit on
the matter soon.
Ministers of the Southern Africa Development
Community ended their meeting Friday in Cape Town with a promise to
help Zimbabwe rebuild its economy, infrastructure and social services.
the meeting's chairperson, South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, cautioned that obtaining funds for the massive
undertaking will take time.
"We are all, in SADC, determined to
help Zimbabwe mobilize resources but I can't guarantee how much will be
raised when. The economic environment globally, is difficult so we will
do our best," said Dlamini-Zuma.
She said SADC leaders are to
hold a special summit on Zimbabwe, hopefully before the G-20 summit in
April. The ministers said they would approach bilateral and
multilateral donors to help finance the effort.
unity government has proposed a $2 billion package aimed at reviving
the economy, which has declined by 40 percent in the past 10 years, and
restoring deteriorating infrastructure and public services.
Experts estimate that at least $5 billion will be needed to finance the reconstruction long-term.
they say Zimbabwe may face difficulties in obtaining funds from some
donors because it is behind on repaying previous debts to some of them.
official with the African Development Bank said his organization would
not be able to provide any new financing until such arrears were paid
up. But an official with the Development Bank of Southern Africa said
Zimbabwe was current with his organization and could seek
reconstruction money from it.
Other donors, in particular
Western governments, have rejected any support other than direct
humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe because of corruption and human rights
abuses under President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.
Mugabe two weeks ago entered into a power-sharing government with
long-standing opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who became prime
But Western governments have indicated no aid would be forthcoming as long as Mr. Mugabe remains in the government.
are reports of in-fighting between senior officials of ZANU-PF and Mr.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, each of which controls
about one-half of the Cabinet ministries.
South Africa's Dlamini-Zuma said SADC ministers had discussed these reports with the Zimbabwean delegates.
will be teething problems but they [the Zimbabweans] assured us that
they are all determined to make it work. And they have a mechanism
which they are already using to deal with all those issues that may be
problematic," she said.
Mr. Tsvangirai this week complained that
Mr. Mugabe had appointed senior government and diplomatic officials
without his consent as required by the power-sharing agreement that
created the unity government. Mr. Mugabe rejected the charge saying the
appointments were made before the government was created and therefore
The Zimbabwean prime minister also accused senior
officials of blocking the release of some 30 political prisoners, some
of whom have been detained for months without access to lawyers or
SADC officials said the issue was raised during
the ministerial meeting and the ministers were told the prisoners would
be released on bail but would still face the charges against them.
Saturday Mr. Mugabe will attend a celebration marking his 85th birthday
for which organizers say they have raised one quarter million dollars
in donations. Mr. Tsvangirai says he will attend.