Britain's call for unified global action on Zimbabwe and Monday's U.N.
Security Council condemnation of the government of President Robert
Mugabe are part of a growing international outcry against the political
crisis and violence in the southern African nation. However, as Tendai
Maphosa reports from London, it is still not clear how the world
intends to move beyond condemnation.
The unanimous U.N. Security Council statement against Mr. Mugabe and his government is viewed as a victory by Britain.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's condemnation has become increasingly harsh. He spoke before the House of Commons on Monday.
think the whole world now sees the regime for what it is, the consensus
in this House is that what has happened is intolerable, we want an
immediate end to violence because the loss of life is unacceptable," he
There is a growing international consensus that something must be done to resolve the election-related violence in Zimbabwe.
political crisis has been brewing for months, especially during the
election campaign prior to the March 29 balloting. The opposition,
Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, won a majority in parliament,
but its leader Morgan Tsvangirai could not score a decisive enough
victory against incumbent Robert Mugabe in the presidential vote. A
runoff is scheduled for Friday, but Tsvangirai has pulled out because
of the violent repression of the opposition and its supporters.
international community has already taken some action by imposing
sanctions and a travel ban on Mr. Mugabe's inner circle. On Monday
Prime Minister Brown vowed Britain would push for tightening and
expanding those sanctions.
Speaking with VOA, former minister
for Africa and prominent anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain said
actions must follow words and the world must show Mr. Mugabe it means
"The international community must follow up its fine
words from the United Nations Security Council and also from other
world leaders and actually implement action and that action must
involve stronger sanctions against Mugabe and his elite," he said. "And
then for South Africa to pull the plug on the electricity supplies so
that the regime then is without the power that they need to continue to
enforce their tyranny."
Hain added that African leaders must
also play their part by distancing themselves from Mr. Mugabe, whom he
described as a dictator.
Some British news reports have gone a
step further - mentioning a military option. A report in Monday's Times
daily newspaper says the Ministry of Defense has two contingency plans
for military action in Zimbabwe - one for a possible deployment of
troops to resolve a humanitarian crisis, the other to provide military
support if a national evacuation for British residents in the country
is ordered. The report says, however, the Ministry insists that
intervention is not "a plausible course".
In a separate report,
the Times quotes Paddy Ashdown, the former European Union
Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as saying that military
action would be justified. Speaking on British radio, Ashdown however
took exception with the report.
"I said that I thought that
the conditions for a military intervention were not in place, secondly
I said I didn't think they would be in place until there was a clear
genocide of the sort that happened in Rwanda taking place," he said.
"Thirdly if any such intervention were in the future to happen it would
be up to the African nations to lead that and Britain would not have a
role in the process, except to provide moral support for something that
is backed by the Security Council."
Military intervention is not
a viable option, says Knox Chitiyo a Zimbabwean who heads the Africa
Program at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security
Studies in London.
"There's no global agreement that a: there
should be military intervention in Zimbabwe and b: if there was to be
who would the lead actors be and certainly the African countries have
not bought into of the military intervention," he said. "I think
Africa is looking more at some sort of negotiation between the two
Chitiyo says, however, that the situation in Zimbabwe
is of grave concern and some cohesive plan to resolve the crisis is
Expressions of concern about events in Zimbabwe came
from an unlikely source on Tuesday. A Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman called on the relevant parties in Zimbabwe to resolve their
problems through dialogue. China is a leading trading partner of
Zimbabwe and has blocked previous attempts to censure the Mugabe
government at the United Nations.
At the same time, the leader
of South Africa's ruling party Jacob Zuma said Tuesday that the
situation in Zimbabwe has gone out of control and the United Nations
and the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, should do
something about it.