Dear Mr Thabo Mbeki,
The website where Zimbabweans can write on what they expect the South African Government to do in trying to solve the Zimbabwean crisis. Send your contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org and Rev M S Hove will post it for you! Also view www.dearmrrobertmugabe.blogspot.com, www.dearmrtonyblair.blogspot.com, www.zimgossiper.blogspot.com, www.radicalzim.blogspot.com etc. AMANDLA......AWETHU!
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Friday, 11 January 2008
The one and only ANC!
This week the ANC celebrates its 96th anniversary with a rally in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, bringing the organisation ever closer to its centenary in 2012.
Few political movements in the world can claim such longevity. Yet it is not only its vintage that the ANC is celebrating. It is also a proud history of struggle with and for the people. It is a proud history that has brought freedom to our nation, and which has seen unprecedented progress in the course of just over a decade to undo the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.
The ANC today is a strong, vibrant and dynamic organisation that enjoys the confidence and support of the masses of the people, as demonstrated in successive elections since 1994. The membership of the ANC has grown significantly over the last five years; there are now over half a million paid-up ANC members. There is still much room for growth and we intend to swell our branches with even more members during 2008 and the coming years.
The ANC has always been an integral part of the lives of the people of our country.
Its growth is celebrated by all who recognize the central role it plays in the life of our nation. Its general state of health is always of concern to all sectors, be it business, faith-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, the media, traditional leaders, labour and the international community.
Fortunately, emerging from the national conference in Polokwane, we are able to say proudly that the ANC can only go from strength to strength. There is only one ANC. It is united and very focused on its mandate of leading transformation and being the leader of development and progress in our country.
As we gather in Tshwane to celebrate the 96th anniversary, we are called upon to reflect on our history, to understand why the ANC has lasted so long and achieved so much. We must do this better to understand what we will need to do to ensure that the ANC continues to thrive and continues diligently to serve the people long after its centenary.
In preparation for its National General Council (NGC) in 2005, the ANC produced a discussion document entitled 'Unity and Diversity in the ANC'. The document said: "In South Africa and in other parts of the world, movements and parties of about the same age as the ANC, have collapsed, become irrelevant or are struggling to stay alive.
What has given the ANC this extraordinary capacity to survive and sustain its relevance?"
Among the answers to this question that the document suggested was that the ANC's capacity to survive lay in its approach to the question of unity:
"Unity is an organisational value upheld and pursued by all political movements because it enhances the effectiveness of collective action. But, political collectives are made up of diverse individual members, who have come together to pool their energies in pursuance of shared objectives. The more elastic the breadth of the collective and the greater the depth of its potential appeal, the greater the prospect of tensions and conflicts among its adherents. The imperatives of coherent and effective action therefore require a leadership to exercise vigilance not to allow potential and actual tensions to jeopardise it".
The document made the fundamental point that unity is not achieved by mere agreement on its desirability. It is built through ongoing democratic debate and sustained through political action. It is achieved by encouraging a contest of views and a respect for decisions collectively and democratically taken. That is why we have always spoken about 'Unity in Action'.
We reiterate that the ANC is not divided. There are no fundamental policy differences among any members or leaders of the ANC. The vibrant debate that is sometimes misconstrued as division is merely differences of opinion on the implementation of our programme of action. It is a healthy phenomenon which keeps all of us on our toes. We have consistently argued that the mere existence of different views - whether on questions of leadership, policy or strategy - no matter how strongly held or firmly expressed, does not mean that the organisation is divided.
On this 96th anniversary, we underline that ours is a resilient organisation that will continue to grow, fortified by the culture of internal democracy, open debate and engagement. We will focus on re-inculcating that culture of a type of open debate that does not create any hostilities. We need to promote an exchange of views that makes it possible for comrades to disagree vociferously, but still remain firm comrades and friends. A culture that makes every issue open to debate and scrutiny, in a comradely manner.
Given the vibrancy and nature of this organisation, the debates are not likely to stop anytime soon. The boundless energy of the ANC Youth League will continue to reverberate throughout the length and breadth of our country, ensuring adherence to the culture and traditions of the movement as it has historically done. The ANC Women's League will continue to bring the gender question to the centre of our social, political and economic life, building on the remarkable gains made at Polokwane.
Our Alliance Partners are known to make their views known speedily should they suspect we are compromising the National Democratic Revolution! Working together to implement the resolutions of our respective conferences, we should be able to find more common ground than areas of difference henceforth. We will always welcome the views and opinions of our Alliance partners on the progress we are making in meeting the mandate of our people.
In celebrating the 96th anniversary, we assure all sectors of our society that the ANC remains strong. It lives, it leads.
We are determined to ensure that we work in a manner that strengthens the confidence of all our people in the ANC as the leader and organ of transformation in our country. People need to look at this organisation and view it as one that should guide them on a day to day basis and support them in all spheres of life - be it political, social, economic or cultural.
We also look forward to strengthening even further, the fraternal ties with like-minded organisations in the continent, particularly in SADC, and the rest of the developing world. The ANC should continue to be a beacon of hope, and an active actor in the regeneration and rebuilding of our continent - fighting poverty, underdevelopment and general deprivation.
Bringing the ANC to the centre stage of all aspects of life in our country will be among our first tasks as we begin this New Year. It must occupy our attention during 2008, and in the remaining years before our centenary.
There is not one among us who is exempt from this responsibility. If we are to achieve what conference has demanded of us, we will each have to do everything in our power to ensure that the precious torch we now carry is indeed passed on to the next generation undiminished.
Let black, green and gold fly all over our beloved country as we celebrate 96 strong fighting and building years!
Jacob G Zuma
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
DIASPORA CIVIC SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS FORUM ZIMBABWE
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Friday, 19 October 2007
In an article in the British newspaper, 'The Independent', on 20 September 2007, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote: "It is also right that I make clear my position on the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit. I want this summit -under the leadership of [Portugal's] Prime Minister Socrates - to be a real success. It is a serious opportunity to forge a stronger partnership between the EU and Africa in order to fight poverty, tackle climate change, and agree new initiatives on education, health and peacekeeping...
"I believe that President Mugabe's presence would undermine the Summit, diverting attention from the important issues that need to be resolved. In those circumstances, my attendance would not be appropriate."
The EU-Africa Summit will be held in Lisbon, Portugal in December, the first having been held in Cairo in 2000. Except for the UK, the member states of the African Union and the European Union are, as far as I could establish, of one mind that all member states of both Unions should attend the Summit.
A shared concern
Africa has rightly insisted that all countries have a right freely to constitute their delegations. Except for the UK, the EU has accepted this. The UK is demanding that the EU should instruct Zimbabwe to exclude President Mugabe from its delegation, arguing among other things, that he is under an EU travel ban.
The British government claims it has taken these and other positions on Zimbabwe because it is concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe and the role of the Zimbabwe government.
Yet, all the other governments that will attend the EU-Africa Summit are equally concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe.
Because of this concern, after many years of continuous engagement with the leaders of Zimbabwe, in March this year the Southern African Development Community (SADC) took two important decisions. One of these was that President Thabo Mbeki should facilitate a dialogue between the government and ruling party of Zimbabwe and the opposition to arrive at an agreement that would address Zimbabwe's political challenges.
During the recent visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to our country, President Mbeki reported publicly that the negotiations were proceeding well and would soon be concluded successfully. Everybody, including the British, knows that already, as a result of an agreement arrived at during the dialogue facilitated under the direction of our President, the Zimbabwe ruling party, ZANU PF, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) groups jointly sponsored a constitutional amendment in the Zimbabwe parliament.
The second decision taken by SADC was that the community's executive secretary should undertake a review of the Zimbabwe economy and make proposals about what the community should do to assist the economic recovery of Zimbabwe. Having concluded his work, the SADC Finance Ministers are now seized with the task of working out a practical programme of action.
The simple truth, therefore, is that SADC, with the full support of the AU, is not only concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe. It is acting on this concern, with the full support and cooperation of the government, the ruling party and the opposition political formations of Zimbabwe.
Clearly the British government believes all this means nothing. It is suggesting that it is morally superior to everybody else in the EU and the AU. The question to ask is whence this extraordinary sense of superiority.
Perhaps the answer lies in an editorial in the British periodical, 'The Economist', of 5 July 2007 headed "The virtues of isolationism".
It said: "In a blistering attack on Mr Mugabe's rule, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, said that the state of the country was now so bad that foreign governments (particularly Britain's) should intervene to 'remove' Mr Mugabe from power... Mr Ncube's appeal to the West to remove Mr Mugabe should be taken as a cry of pain, not a reason for the West to invade... it is only the Africans, and particularly the southern Africans, who can apply the strong pressure needed to get rid of him quickly.
"Yet the Portuguese do now have a way to give the African Union a much-needed jolt.
They should refuse to let Mr Mugabe come to Lisbon. That will force Africa's leaders to reconsider their priorities. If that stops the summit from taking place, so be it:
a firm stand would send a powerful message of solidarity to all those in Zimbabwe who long to be rescued from their plight. Welcoming their tormentor to Lisbon for the sake of a jamboree would be a corresponding disgrace."
It is regime change and nothing else. The demand is made in clear language -Southern Africa must carry out this task. The question that needs to be asked is whether this demand reflects the views of the British government.
As a movement, the ANC has always assumed the British Labour Party was anti-colonial and a principled defender of the right of all nations to self-determination. In the post-war years these positions were eminently represented by the Labour Party MP, Fenner Brockway.
Another historical fact, manifested over many decades, is that in our region the British governments have consistently appeased the racist white minorities, and refused to align themselves with the African majorities, honestly responding to their legitimate demands.
In 1910 the British government betrayed our people by handing power in our country to the white minority. The British Labour Party followed this route with regard to Zimbabwe when, as the governing party on 11 November 1965, it refused to suppress the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) rebellion of the white minority against the British Crown, led by Ian Smith.
Addressing the British House of Commons on 11 November 1965, Prime Minister Wilson
said: "I repeat that the British Government condemns the purported (unilateral) declaration of independence (UDI) by the former Government of Rhodesia as an illegal act and one which is ineffective in law. It is an act of rebellion against the Crown and against the Constitution as by law established, and actions taken to give effect to it will be treasonable...
"We did not seek this challenge. The House will concede that we did everything in our power to avoid it, but now it has been made, then, with whatever sadness, we shall face this challenge with resolution and determination. Whatever measures the Government, with the support of this House, judge are needed to restore Rhodesia to the rule of law, to allegiance to the Crown, these measures will be taken."
The measures the British government took to respond to what Prime Minister Wilson characterised as rebellion and treason did not include any demand or action to achieve regime change. On the same day, the British newspaper, 'The Guardian', said:
"The sanctions announced (by the Wilson government) are inadequate for the job they have to do - to break the Rhodesian Government."
The Labour government, led by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, did not call for regime change.
The change of regime, the "breaking" of the Rhodesian Government, was brought about by the struggle of the oppressed masses of Zimbabwe, led by their liberation movement, during which thousands of African lives were lost. Similarly, regime change in our own country, to reverse the British betrayal of 1910, came about because of the protracted struggle of our own people, led by our liberation movement, again at great cost in African lives.
The costly victory of the Zimbabwe liberation struggle gave the British government the possibility to resume its responsibility as the colonial power charged with handing over power to the people of Zimbabwe, as it had done in all its colonies in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, except South Africa.
A promise betrayed
Charged to preside over the 1979 Lancaster House negotiations to decide the future of the Zimbabwe, the British government still tried everything it could to protect the interests of the same white minority in Zimbabwe whose actions it had denounced in
1965 as illegal, rebellious and treasonable.
As a result of these efforts, for 10 years after independence, liberated Zimbabwe was prohibited from acting in a decisive manner to change the pattern of land ownership born of the colonial land dispossession of the indigenous majority, in favour of the white minority.
This was because the British government recognised the centrality of the land question to the colonisation of Zimbabwe, white minority interests, and therefore the liberation struggle.
To balance its insistence that the right of its kith and kin to hold on to the land that had been acquired by force had to be respected for 10 years, the British government, supported by its US counterpart, undertook to provide the government of Zimbabwe with substantial financial resources to acquire land to address the land question, insisting that this should be done on the basis of the "willing seller, willing buyer principle".
After a long period of negotiations with the British Conservative Party government, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, her successor, Prime Minister John Major, finally agreed that the British government would honour the undertakings made during the Lancaster House negotiations, in the same way as the Zimbabwe government had respected its commitments in this regard.
However, the British Labour Party took power in 1997, inflicting a humiliating electoral defeat on the Conservative Party. It has remained in power ever since. As a successor government, and contrary to international convention and the rule of law, it unilaterally repudiated the undertakings made by the John Major government on the land question in Zimbabwe.
To add insult to injury, it arrogantly asserted its right to impose what amounted to a neo-colonial diktat on the government of Zimbabwe. All this was reflected in the infamous 5 November 1997 letter written by the then British Minister for International Development, Claire Short, to Kumbirai Kangai, the then Zimbabwe Minster of Agriculture and Land. She wrote:
"I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers...
"Again, I am told there were discussions in 1989 and 1996 to explore the possibility of further assistance. However that is all in the past. If we look to the present, a number of specific issues are unresolved, including the way in which land would be acquired and compensation paid - clearly it would not help the poor of Zimbabwe if it was done in a way which undermined investor confidence... It follows from this that a programme of rapid land acquisition as you now seem to envisage would be impossible for us to support."
This position stands at the heart both of what has happened in Zimbabwe since this letter was written, and the positions the British government is taking today on the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit.
To right a wrong - miserable advice
Many things have gone wrong in Zimbabwe over the years. Our movement, the ANC, has engaged both ZANU PF and the MDC on these matters continuously, honestly and frankly, over many years.
We know that the South African government, led by the ANC, has done the same, including initiating serious dialogue with the British and other governments, seeking to assist in finding solutions to all the problems affecting Zimbabwe, in the interest of its people.
We have avoided detailing our efforts in public, because we were convinced, as we continue to be, that this would facilitate the speedy resolution of the problems confronting the sister people of our immediate neighbour, Zimbabwe.
We have done so deliberately, understanding that it is more important to work, practically, for the resolution of the challenges in Zimbabwe than to engage in fruitless and self-serving rhetoric as many others have done.
These, by contrast, have presented themselves as the true friends of the people of Zimbabwe. This has led to the situation where the British government makes bold to present itself as being superior to everybody else in Southern Africa, Africa and the EU.
On 7 April 2002, the British 'Observer' published extracts from a paper written by Robert Cooper and published by the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) entitled "The post-modern state". Cooper contributed his paper to a publication of the FPC focusing on the topic, "Reordering the World: the long term implications of September 11."
'The Observer' described Cooper as "Tony Blair's foreign policy guru". The FPC said:
"Senior British diplomat Robert Cooper has helped to shape British Prime Minister Tony Blair's calls for a new internationalism and a new doctrine of humanitarian intervention which would place limits on state sovereignty."
Among other things, Cooper argued that the collapse of imperialism and colonialism has resulted in global chaos, including the emergence and survival of 'failed states'. To respond to this, he said:
"The most logical way to deal with chaos, and the one employed most often in the past, is colonisation. But this is unacceptable to postmodern states. Empire and imperialism are words that have become a form of abuse and no colonial powers are willing to take on the job, though the opportunities -perhaps even the need - for colonisation is as great as it ever was in the nineteenth century. Those left out of the global economy risk falling into a vicious circle. Weak government means disorder and that means falling investment.
"AII the conditions for imperialism are there, but both the supply and demand for imperialism have dried up. And yet a world in which the efficient and well-governed export stability and liberty seems eminently desirable.
"What is needed is a new kind of imperialism, one compatible with human rights and cosmopolitan values: an imperialism which aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle."
An AU-EU partnership
We do not know whether these unapologetically backward and reactionary ideas inform the approach of the British government towards Zimbabwe, but they are consistent with what Claire Short said in her letter to Kumbirai Kangai.
The EU-Africa Summit, long delayed by the British insistence that President Mugabe should be excluded, should go ahead as planned. It must attend seriously to the important issues that are of fundamental concern to Africa and the EU, rather than allow itself to be imprisoned and paralysed by dangerous and destructive neo-colonialist ambitions.
In a 2007 document, the EU commits itself to a strategy that "proposes forging a strategic security and development partnership between the EU and Africa. The strategy focuses on key requirements for sustainable development such as peace and security, good and effective governance, trade, interconnectivity, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. New initiatives have been launched, most notably a governance initiative and a Euro-African Partnership for Infrastructure, which was launched in July 2006.
"Under the Governance Initiative, the EU will, for instance, provide support for reforms triggered by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a unique tool for peer review and peer learning in good democratic governance by and for Africans. And in the context of the Partnership for Infrastructure, the EU will support programmes that facilitate interconnectivity at continental level to promote regional trade, integration, stability and development."
These are some of the matters that should be discussed during the December EU-Africa Summit. Others must include comprehensive EU support for NEPAD, the strengthening of the AU, sustained resource transfers to Africa to help us to meet the Millennium Development Goals and sustained development to defeat poverty and underdevelopment, and genuine respect for the independence and sovereign voice of the peoples of Africa.
Japan, China and India are engaged in dialogue with Africa to help us, themselves, and all humanity to address the "special needs" of Africa that were recognised in the unanimously adopted UN Millennium Declaration of 2000.
It would be very good if all member states of the EU go to Lisbon in December to follow this example, and enter into dialogue with Africa on all issues that Africa and the EU place on the common agenda. If some countries decide to absent themselves from this critically important dialogue, to, feed their celebration of their holiness, regrettable as it is, we surely have the liberty to repeat what 'The Economist' said - so be it.
** Kgalema Motlanthe is Secretary General of the ANC.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
26 September 2007
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — South Africa's Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu on Tuesday launched a new attack on the authorities in Zimbabwe, saying their treatment of dissidents was reminiscent of the apartheid regime.
"The stories we are hearing of the harassment of political opponents, detentions without trial, torture and the denial of medical attention are reminiscent of our experiences at the hands of apartheid police," said Tutu, who was a leader of the struggle against South Africa's whites-only rule.
The former archbishop of Cape Town refrained from commenting on how the crisis could have been mitigated by more efficient management, saying it was "a matter for debate by people better-qualified than me."
"There is no debate, however, when it comes to the perpetration of human rights violations, reports of which, according to churches and NGOs, are on the increase."
Tutu has long been an outspoken critic of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, once calling him a "caricature of an African dictator".
Mugabe, who has been the ruler of Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, has in turn called Tutu "an evil little bishop".
Friday, 31 August 2007
What is "regime change", Cde President?
When the late President Kamuzu Banda was throwing his "enemies" into crocodile-infested rivers, was it "regime change " when Political Parties where formed to try and oust him?
When Democrats in Swaziland are trying to be heard about their plight at the hands of the young Dictator-King, are they involved in "regime change?"
When is "regime change" correct and when is it wrong?
If Mugabe is a Dictator and Mass Murderer, are the people engaged in "regime change" when they peacefully try to remove him?
So for Africa, should we not try remove any Dictator, lest we be accused by the likes of you, Your Excellency, to be accomplices in "regime change?"
NO, BELOVED CDE PRESIDENT: PLEASE ASK HARARE TO SEND YOU A MORE CREDIBLE ARGUMENT.
Rev M S Hove. Cell: 0791463039 email@example.com