Robert Mugabe – who is clinging to power despite widespread belief that he resoundingly lost the March 29 polls is unreachable
This was disclosed by reports from European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to the EU parliament indicating that AFRICAN Union (AU) leaders have failed to get hold of Mugabe.
Solana told the parliament that he had spoken on Monday with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the AU’s president and that his “big concern” is that the African leaders “have not been able to be in contact with President Mugabe.”
“All the efforts that have been made, have been a failure. So it is a concern of the leaders of the region.” Solana said.
Solano’s revelations came as Zimbabwe’s opposition slammed the deafening silence of Africa in the aftermath of the country’s elections, warning of blood on the streets unless pressure is brought to bear on Mugabe.
As party lawyers argued at the high court for an immediate announcement of the result of the March 29 presidential poll, the Movement for Democratic Change said its supporters were being provoked into violence as part of a strategy to impose a state of emergency.
Exasperated by the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough, MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said “the deafening silence by our brothers and sisters”
in Africa was symptomatic of the continent’s failure to react to crises.
Drawing a parallel to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which some 800,000 people lost their lives, Biti urged institutions such as the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take a clear stand.
“We responded poorly in Rwanda and a million people were killed,” Biti
“I say don’t wait for dead bodies on the streets of Harare. Intervene now. There’s a constitutional and legal crisis in Zimbabwe.”
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has already declared himself the outright winner over his old rival Mugabe, met with senior members of South Africa’s ruling ANC party on Monday, including its president Jacob Zuma.
However South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated between the MDC and Mugabe’s Zanu PF party in the build-up the election, has so far only called for all sides to await the election results and called the situation “manageable”.
Observer missions from the African Union and SADC both gave the elections a largely clean bill of health, even though the outcome is still unknown.
Solana said the High Court petition by the opposition demanding the electoral commission immediately declare the outcome of the March 29 polls had become very significant to solving the stand-off.
“We have to keep our eyes very open to see how the situation evolves and in particular in the coming hours,” Solana said.
In Harare, the court said it would treat the petition as an ‘urgent’ matter. A European diplomat said fears were spreading in Brussels and beyond that Zimbabwe could descend into the kind of post-election violence seen in Kenya if the electoral impasse persists.
Meanwhile, the state Herald newspaper this morning says Tsvangirai has begged Zanu-PF to accommodate him as one of the Vice Presidents in a government of national unity.
It this is after Tsvangirai was told by his advisor’s that a possible run-off with President Mugabe for the top job was not in his best interests.
Quoting unnamed sources its says the opposition leader last week sent Mr Ian Makone, Mr Elton Mangoma and Mr Joe Mtizwa to negotiate with Zanu-PF officials — Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa — over the possibility of averting a run-off and make Tsvangirai one of the country’s two Vice Presidents.
The paper says Mr Mtizwa — the chief executive of Delta Beverages which is partly owned by SABMiller which was implicated in Simba Makoni’s international fund-raising campaign — initially approached Cde Goche by himself but the Zanu-PF Politburo member refused to entertain him.
“He (Cde Goche) told Mtizwa, ‘I don’t know you as an MDC person, I know you as an ordinary businessperson. So unless you have an official post in the MDC, I cannot talk to you about this. If the MDC wants anything from us they should approach us officially.’
Mtizwa then went and came back with Makone and Mangoma and they met Goche and Chinamasa mid-last week.
Their proposal was that Tsvangirai be installed as one of the two Vice
Presidents and they also wanted a number of ministerial posts reserved for them and Zanu-PF’s Politburo meeting on Friday was held against this background, it says.
“The three emissaries were told that this was a non-starter and Zanu-PF
would not stomach the idea of Tsvangirai in the Presidium.
“They were told that Zanu-PF was ready for a run-off and this is what has got Tsvangirai worried,” a source said.
However, the paper says it failed to get a comment from Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba raising doubts on the credibility of the story.
“I am not given to discussing with the media confidential contacts involving the President,” Charamba told the paper.