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Zimbabwe: Africa says no to military intervention
Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Herald Reporters
December 10, 2008
The Herald

AFRICAN countries have rejected calls by Western countries for military intervention in Zimbabwe with Tanzania, the current chair of the African Union, and Kenya leading the rejections.

Kenya's position was particularly significant as it buttressed the view that Raila Odinga spews vitriol on Zimbabwe not in his capacity as Prime Minister of Kenya, but leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement.

Tanzania State House Director of Communications Mr Salva Rweyemamu was quoted on Monday as saying that his country was of the view that the challenges in Zimbabwe could only be solved through dialogue.

"Only dialogue between the Zimbabwean parties, supported by the AU and other regional actors can restore peace and stability to that country," media reports in Tanzania quoted him as saying.

Mr Rweyemamu, whose country holds the AU chair, said the political problems in Zimbabwe were "difficult and not easy to handle, (and) need extra care to solve in order to avoid triggering an unending civil war".

He said the AU would continue to encourage dialogue in search of a lasting solution.

In Kenya, Foreign Minister Mr Moses Wetangula condemned as uncalled for utterances by that country's Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the AU to deploy peacekeepers in Zimbabwe saying such calls contravened AU statutes.

"AU statutes do not provide for military invasion of sovereign states like Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the AU has no troops to send anywhere. It can only ask member states to donate," The Standard Online of Kenya quoted him as saying.

Mr Wetangula appealed to MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to join the envisaged inclusive Government.

He also advised Western countries against imposing more sanctions on Zimbabwe saying they only hurt ordinary citizens.

Mr Wetangula's call comes at a time when the EU, which ironically claims to be extending "humanitarian" assistance to Zimbabwe, has intensified its sanctions, a development observers said was bound to worsen the cholera outbreak by constraining Government's capacity to respond.

ANC leader Cde Jacob Zuma said much of the world effort on Zimbabwe was misdirected.

He said he was firmly convinced that the course to take was to support former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki's efforts to move Zimbabwean parties towards an inclusive Government.

Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde George Charamba said Government was aware that Africa would never support military action against Zimbabwe.

"We knew Africa would never agree to be turned into a mercenary force of invasion against Zimbabwe to uphold the interests of Britain and Europe," he said.

"Picture this: In Kenya at least 1 000 are killed in political unrest, in Zimbabwe slightly over 500 die of cholera, a natural disease. Bush and Brown make no case for armed intervention in Kenya, but find compelling reason to intervene in Zimbabwe. It does not make sense."

The Minister of Information and Publicity, Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said the Government would not entertain any peacekeeping forces as Zimbabwe was not a threat to international peace and security.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Cde Ndlovu said the so-called peacekeeping force would be an invading force.

"The Zimbabwe Government is taking serious measures to offset any threats, any further sanctions on our people. Any interference shall not be tolerated," he said.

Cde Ndlovu dismissed the idea of a peacekeeping force being suggested by some African leaders such as Kenya's Odinga.

"It is impossible. It is a no. The UN will not entertain that because we are not at civil war. Who is inviting them? We are alert that it (the peacekeeping force) is a camouflage of an invasion," Cde Ndlovu said.

He branded as unacceptable and despicable calls by Europe and some African leaders for President Mugabe to step down and castigated Odinga, Botswana President Ian Khama, Belgium, Britain and US for pushing for illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.

Cde Ndlovu said Belgium was not qualified to lecture Zimbabwe accusing it of sponsoring DRC rebels.

"Belgium and Javier Solana (the EU foreign policy chief) must shut up. We do not want the Belgians to come and give us lectures when their hands are full of blood from Congo," he said.

He reminded Odinga of the good relations that existed between Zimbabwe and Kenya.

"He must know that we are brothers and sisters. We need good relations between Zimbabwe and Kenya, these good relations are there. It is only Odinga's mouth that has bad breath. I think he must shut up," Cde Ndlovu said.

He said any efforts to incite violence in the country would not work as it had failed before.

Cde Ndlovu also castigated Botswana saying it was slowly turning into a monarchy.

"We all know that Botswana is turning into a monarch if not a military junta with the sitting President not elected but handed over power on account of his lineage and strategically filling all key government posts with military personnel loyal to that establishment," he said.

Cde Ndlovu said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice must stop criticising Government and leave the incoming Obama administration to build ties with Zimbabwe.

Cde Ndlovu blasted the EU's decision to intensify sanctions on Zimbabwe.

EU foreign ministers met on Monday and resolved to intensify the sanctions at a time the progressive world was moving into help Zimbabwe.

"We are not surprised. They (EU) have never had an interest in the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe because these sanctions are not targeted as they claim to be but hurt ordinary persons," said Cde Ndlovu.

He said the addition of more people to the sanctions list was part of efforts to intimidate Zimbabwean leaders.

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