Some Zimbabweans are reportedly condemning what they describe as the Mugabe government’s quest to legitimize itself after the ruling ZANU-PF party reportedly called for international recognition of the June 27 run-off vote. This comes after the Harare government Monday urged the international community to accept President Robert Mugabe's re-election, adding that any move to impose U.N. sanctions on the government would hurt everyone involved. The June 27 presidential run-off election, in which President Mugabe claimed victory, was widely condemned as illegitimate after main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out.
The UN Security Council is reportedly due to discuss a U.S. and British proposal for financial and travel restrictions on President Mugabe and his top officials as well as an arms embargo on the country.
Glen Mpani is the regional coordinator for the transitional justice program of the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the June 27 presidential run-off election was neither free nor fair.
“We basically understand that governments are elected by the people in a free and democratic process. And according to the AU (African Union) report, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) report and the PAN African parliamentary report, there was no free and fair election. So, to go out and request the world to recognize the leader while he had previously been saying that “we are a sovereign nation and we will listen to what our people say” is contradictory and more or less playing to the same tune that we don’t care about anybody,” Mpani noted.
He said the international community would only recognize a government that was elected in a free and fair atmosphere.
“The world would only recognize the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe, which they have been informed that they have not been respected. So, there is no way the world can respect the wishes of only a few people who have had the capacity of muzzling the will of the people,” he said.
Mpani concurred that sanctions usually do not tend to achieve their intended objective.
“In general, sanctions don’t yield much because those who would be perpetuating human rights abuses or those who are governing, they always find ways of circumventing these sanctions or processes. But I think in an environment like the Zimbabwean one, unfortunately whether we agree or disagree the decision of whether sanctions are going to be put on Zimbabwe on what or who they should go to are part of foreign policies of different countries. If there is any political leadership or any government that has got the interest of the people at heart, I think this is an opportunity for people to sit down and seriously consider negotiating and coming up with an arrangement that is in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe,” Mpani pointed out.
He said any international coordinated pressure backed by either the United States or Britain could be seen as trying to force a regime change in Zimbabwe.
“Unfortunately, this issue has been reduced to an issue of Britain and the ZANU-PF government. And I think the unfortunate thing about it is that, whatever, Britain and America decide to do in terms of trying to exert pressure, it gives an opportunity for the ZANU-PF government to continue with its campaign that there is a regime change agenda on Zimbabwe. But we know fully well that that is not the core issue. The core issue that is in Zimbabwe is an issue of bad governance that has been caused by a leadership that has lost the mandate of the people to govern. And they will take any opportunity to try and push them towards a peaceful resolution to claim that they are under attack and under siege from western countries,” he noted.
Meanwhile, World leaders at a Group of Eight industrialized nations summit in Japan have also raised the prospect of more sanctions on the Harare government unless quick progress is made to end a political and economic crisis after Mugabe's re-election in a poll that drew global condemnation.