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Zimbabwe: UN snubs MDC-T
Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Herald Reporters
April 30, 2008

THE United Nations yesterday snubbed attempts by Western backers of the MDC-T to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Security Council meeting as British moves to subvert Zimbabwe's democratic electoral process by mooting the formation of a contact and pressure group of three selected Sadc countries to put pressure on Harare were exposed.

MDC-T attempts to gatecrash into yesterday's Security Council meeting hit a wall after it was told that only governments could address the world body organ's meetings.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti and secretary for international affairs Eliphas Mukonoweshuro had travelled to New York in a bid to address the Security Council meeting on the situation in Zimbabwe following last month's elections.

But Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the UN, Mr Boniface Chidyausiku, said the opposition officials were told off and ended up meeting the world body's secretariat.

"They were told that they are not a government and cannot address the Security Council," said Mr Chidyausiku.

In the meeting with the UN secretariat, the two claimed that there was post-election violence in Zimbabwe and asked for a UN special envoy to probe the situation in the country.

After the opposition could not get into the Security Council meeting, its backers – led by the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and the United States – unsuccessfully tried to get the Security Council to discuss Zimbabwe.

Eight countries – namely South Africa, Russia, Vietnam, China, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Libya and Indonesia – blocked the move.

Recently South Africa – which was chairing the Security Council meetings in April – also refused to have Zimbabwe put on the agenda of a joint UN and African Union peace and security meeting.

AU chairman Mr Jakaya Kikwete – who is the president of Tanzania – said the Zimbabwe issue was being handled by Sadc.

Britain and the US were trying hard to get Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Security Council especially during April when South Africa was chairing the UN body.

But Mr Chidyausiku described the attempts as "mischievous" and pointed out that the MDC-T could not address the Security Council as it could only lobby its "friends" at the UN.

It has emerged that Britain's Labour and Conservative parties were seeking to divide Sadc over the Zimbabwean issue.

The British sought to entice Zambian, Botswana and Tanzanian high commissioners in London to form a group that would influence other regional countries to be hard on Zimbabwe and subsequently push President Mugabe out of office.

On April 24 2008, William Hague, the Conservative shadow secretary for foreign affairs, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, indicating they would soon be meeting with diplomats from the three Sadc countries to force them to condemn President Mugabe.

It could not be established last night if the meeting was eventually held.

The letter also reveals that the opposition MDC-T has been working closely with the British to circumvent the electoral process by finding a way of installing Morgan Tsvangirai as President despite the apparent reality that no presidential candidate managed to avoid a run-off in the March 29 harmonised elections.

"In the weeks since the elections, I have met with the London representatives of the Tsvangirai's MDC party (sic). Keith Simpson, (Conservative) shadow minister for Africa, has met Lord Malloch Brown (Minister for Africa) to urge more decisive action and will shortly meet with the high commissioners of Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia to discuss the contribution their countries can make.

"I have called on Zimbabwe's neighbours to send a united signal that (President) Mugabe should go, and be prepared to offer to mediate. We would like to see the African Union and the Commonwealth take a strong stance and back these efforts.

"Britain and its partners should make it clear that they will isolate the regime and impose tougher sanctions if it continues down this path.

"We will continue to press the government on these matters," Hague concluded, "to support all international efforts to intensify the pressure, and advocate clearer action to prepare for the eventual departure of the Mugabe regime."

It is believed that the proposed meeting with the three African high commissioners in London is part of efforts by the British establishment to form a "Contact Group" on Zimbabwe that would also seek to subvert the electoral process.

In an article in the April 6, 2008 edition of the UK newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, Hague said: "And we should set up a 'Contact Group', backed by the weight and resources of the United Nations.

"Such a body would be able to pool international efforts on Zimbabwe, manage the inflow of assistance and advance the political process."

He added that the UK should also lay the groundwork for establishing a military force "under the auspices of the African Union and backed by the major powers" to invade Zimbabwe.

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