|Africa News Digest
Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Slams U.K.
Jan. 6 (EIRNS)Arthur Mutambara, a leader of one of the three parties which signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA), on Sept. 15, 2008, to negotiate a unity government under the auspices of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, issued a New Year's message which blamed the U.K. and allied nations for sabotaging implementation of the final deal the three parties had agreed to. He points out that present President Robert Mugabe was to be President-designate, and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition MDC-T was Prime Minister-designate. Mutambara, an opponent of Mugabe's Zanu-PF, is the leader of the third party, MDC-M, which split from the MDC-T. MDC-M won ten seats in parliament in the March election.
Mutambara said the attacks in 2008, from the U.K., the EU, and the U.S.A., calling for Mugabe to be dumped, were "brazen and crass," as well as "uninformed and reckless." He said their policy of continued suffering of the Zimbabwean people in the name of deposing Mugabe, was "a crime against humanity."
He indicated that an invasion by the U.K. et al., wasn't likely to happen, and only encouraged Tsvangirai not to implement the agreement. He concluded that the only way to get a new election that could resolve the situation, is for the country to go through a transitional period in which economic recovery is begun.
Mutambara urged all Zimbabwe leaders to collectively take responsibility for the calamity afflicting their country. "A regime-change agenda achieved through a scorched-earth policy is not what we need in our country."
Uganda at UN Security Council: 'Hands Off Zimbabwe'
Jan. 8 (EIRNS)Uganda has begun a two-year term on the UN Security Council, taking the seat that South Africa has had for the previous two years. In an interview with UN radio, Uganda's Ambassador to the UN, Francis Butagira made it clear that Uganda, considered to be moderate, was not going to endorse the London-orchestrated effort to destroy the Zimbabwe government.
Butagira said that "Uganda supports the African Union position on Zimbabwe," and that "the crisis there is best dealt with by the sub-region" through the Southern African Development Community (SADC). "The issue of Zimbabwe does not have an international security dimension and thus does not warrant intervention by the Security Council."
South Africa, SADC, Rebuff Attempts to Renegotiate Zimbabwe Settlement
Jan. 10 (EIRNS)The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has rejected the request of Morgan Tsvangirai, one of the London-backed leaders of the Zimbabwe opposition, for a meeting to reopen debate on the distribution of ministries in a government of national unity (GNU), worked out by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, to end the London-orchestrated destabilization of Zimbabwe. SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamão told the press in Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan. 8, that the SADC had no plans to convene such a meeting, the Zimbabwe Herald reported yesterday.
The Herald earlier reported that SADC chair and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe rejected Tsvangirai's request for him to facilitate a "confidential meeting" with President Mugabe, and told him to instead immediately join the inclusive government. Motlanthe said he could not convene such a meeting because it would undermine the facilitator, Thabo Mbeki, and exclude the third party to the negotiations, Arthur Mutambara, leader of MDC-M.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer was also turned down by South Africa during her visit in December. She sought a meeting with President Motlanthe and former President Mbeki, who was appointed by the SADC to facilitate the formation of a unity government, but had to settle for a meeting with a member of Mbeki's team, Sydney Mufamadi. While admitting that the Sept. 15 agreement [for a GNU] was "a good framework," she said the United States would not allow it to be implemented as long as Mugabe was President, because "Tsvangirai was too weak" to work with Mugabe, whom she wanted to step aside. Mufamadi asked her how she had the right to veto an SADC decision.
China Attacks Operation To Prosecute Sudan President
Jan. 8 (EIRNS)Liu Guijin, China's special envoy to Darfur, yesterday warned of "disastrous consequences" if an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for the arrest of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is issued for combating an anti-government rebellion. The London-based financial cartel alleges that the government's efforts to quell the rebellion amount to war crimes and genocide.
In a press conference in Khartoum, Liu said that "efforts are still going on to find a political solution," and added: "We wish to work together with our partners ... to try and find some way to postpone the indictment so the international community could have more time to address the problem." He indicated that China has tried to raise support with the U.K., U.S.A., France, and Russia for a deferral of the case, since the UNSC has the option to delay the procedure for a year or more. In so doing, China has made clear that any nation of these four that refuses to defer this matter is only interested in destroying Sudan.
Liu pointed out that if the arrest warrant is issued, Bashir will be a "criminal suspect," and this will jeopardize peace efforts in Darfur, as well as threaten the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of Jan. 9, 2005, which ended the civil war, because the international community would not consider a "criminal suspect" to be a responsible partner for either the Darfur political process, or implementation of the CPA.
Liu is obviously preparing for the worst: "Even if in the worst case that the warrant be issued, we hope and we believe that the government of Sudan will continue to exert constraint, and to cooperate with the international community." China has not imposed economic conditions on Sudan's development, and is the largest investor in Sudan.
Ebola Virus in Congo and Philippines
Jan. 7 (EIRNS)A new outbreak of the deadly Ebola filovirus is developing in Western Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the number of suspected cases is now at least 36, and 12 have died. Three of them have been determined by lab tests to have died from Ebola. The World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and others have rushed to the area to set up isolation and monitoring units. There is no treatment for Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, and the fatality rate has ranged from 50% to 90%.
Western Kasai Province was the site of an Ebola outbreak in the Summer of 2007while the outbreak of an entirely new strain of Ebola followed months later, 1,500 km away, in Bundibugyo, Uganda, on Uganda's border with D.R. Congo.
Angola has reacted preemptively to the outbreak in Congo because of cross-border traffic with Western Kasai Province. Northern Angola suffered an outbreak in 2005 of Marburg virusrelated to Ebola as the only other member of the filovirus familyin which 400 died. Angolan President José dos Santos has appointed an Ebola prevention team that includes the ministers of health, interior, foreign affairs, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces, the national police commander, and others. Angola closed a section of its northeastern border with D.R. Congo on Jan. 5.
The possibility of the spread of untreatable diseases such as Ebola, throughout Africa and other poor nations which have been further weakened by the scourge of globalization, is enormous. In the Philippines, for example, an outbreak of Ebola Reston among pigs on pig farms has been ongoing since May 2008. That the sickness and death of the pigs is being caused by Ebola Reston was only confirmed on Oct. 30. Ebola Restonnamed after a 1989 laboratory outbreak among imported Philippine monkeys in Reston, Virginiahad previously been known only in monkeys, and has not killed human beings.
But there is cause for serious concern. According to Peter Cordingley, a regional spokesman for the World Health Organization in Manila, "Pigs have served as genetic mixing vessels for viruses that pass from animals to humans, which makes the Philippine discovery significant.... When a virus jumps species, in this case from monkeys to pigs, we become concerned, particularly as pigs are much closer to humans than monkeys in their ability to harbor viruses." An international scientific emergency team has arrived in three provinces near Manila, the site of the outbreak.