|Africa News Digest
South Africa's Zuma Opposes British Onslaught vs. Zimbabwe
Jan. 27 (EIRNS)Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday, South Africa's new African National Congress (ANC) president, Jacob Zuma, said that U.S. and European interference was hindering efforts to reconcile Zimbabwe's opposition with President Robert Mugabe's government. "The U.S. and Europeans tell us what we need to do and tell Mugabe," Zuma told reporters, according to South Africa's Mail and Guardian today.
This is a change in Zuma's view on Zimbabwe. During the run-up to the ANC presidential elections at the end of last year, he had been critical of the Zimbabwe government and the mediation policy between the government and the opposition, which South African President Thabo Mbeki had been carrying out.
Mbeki was in Zimbabwe Jan. 18, for further talks with the government and with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Encouraged by Mbeki's ouster as president of the ANC, by Zuma, in late December, Tsvangirai has given indications that he may not stick with the agreement on holding elections that he made with the government, an agreement that was mediated by Mbeki last year. Tsvangirai is now threatening to boycott the March 29 elections if the constitution is not changed and a new electoral list is not drafted, in addition to more time being given before the election is held.
The ANC presidency has always been a stepping stone to the Presidency of South Africa, since the end of Apartheid in 1994, and Zuma was expressing moderate views on several issues while he was in Davos, as if to demonstrate to the world that he could be Presidential. This was a sharp distinction from the way the bitter fight with Mbeki for the presidency of the ANC was carried out.
Violence Escalates in Kenya
Jan. 28 (EIRNS)The head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, John Cardinal Njue, and religious leaders in Nairobi, said that the violence in Kenya is ongoing violence is not spontaneous, but well planned and executed by organized gangs, according to the East African Standard Jan. 27.
The destabilization is reported as originating in ethnic conflicts. The death rate is soaring, and cities and towns in the Rift Valley province of Kenya are burning again today, as the violence has escalated since Jan. 25, in the wake of a Jan. 24 meeting between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, organized by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
On Jan. 24, Human Rights Watch accused Odinga-allied opposition leaders of organizing attacks on Kibaki supporters, many of whom are from the Kikuyu ethnic groupas is Kibakiafter the contested elections on Dec. 27. After the talks mediated by Annan, Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) agreed to call off protest actions.
ODM leaders on Jan. 26 accused the government of using the outlawed Mungiki sect to escalate the crisis, and charged that they were being protected by the police.
Odinga described those behind the killings as marauding gangs who were targeting members of the Luo community and killing them. However, the ODM wants the government to stop using the army to contain the new clashes rocking parts of the country, according to The Nation Jan. 27.