|Africa News Digest
LaRouche: Defend Sudan's Bashir Against the British
Feb. 17 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche said yesterday that the defense of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir against charges of genocide is strategically crucial, because if Bashir is defended, then the British are in trouble.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is rumored to be on the verge of calling for the arrest of Bashir this month for crimes stemming from Sudan's efforts to quell a foreign-run rebellion in Darfur, the poorest region of the country (see InDepth). ICC prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo announced the ICC's intention last July, to consider Bashir's arrest for genocide and war crimes. There is no evidence that supports the charges.
The only nation that has supported the charges is the United States, under the George W. Bush Administration. (The United States is not a signatory to the ICC.) But Bush's Special Envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, would not accuse the Sudan government of genocide.
The UN, the EU, the Arab League, the African Union, and numerous well-known experts on Sudan, have all concluded that a policy of genocide is not being carried out in Sudan. A UN commission on Sudan, headed by Antonio Cassese, an Italian judge, law professor, and human rights expert, concluded in a 2005 report that "the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide." While elements of the population who support the rebels are called "African" (agriculturalists) and those who support the government are called "Arabs" (herders), the report concluded: "However, the crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing, at least as far as the central Government authorities are concerned."
Egypt: 'Dangerous Consequences' If Bashir Is Indicted
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)Following a meeting today between Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo, Egyptian presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad warned that should the International Criminal Court (ICC) issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, "it will have dangerous consequences for Darfur, in particular, and Sudan in general."
Awad also called on the ICC to refrain from "politicization and selectivity," suggesting that Israel's killing of Palestinians in Gaza should be seen in the same light by the ICC.
Egypt has played a key role in urging other nations to oppose the ICC's action. "Egypt has always stood fast in supporting Sudan," said Abdel Moneim Mohammed Mabruk, Sudan's Ambassador to Egypt. He added that Egypt, as well as other Arab and African countries, is working in the UN Security Council to either delay or halt the arrest warrant altogether.
Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Calls For 'National Reconciliation'
Feb. 22 (EIRNS)Speaking before a 7,000-person rally in Gweru today, sponsored by his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai underscored the country's need for "national reconciliation ... and national healing," in order to deal with the enormous problems of poverty and hunger confronting the nation.
The U.K. has led the attacks against the Zimbabwe government for ten years, for not including opposition formations. Now that a unity government has been formed, the U.K. has again taken the lead in a very cool response to the new government, which has to deal with the enormous amount of human suffering resulting from the economic warfare that isolated the country from world trade.
"If there's no national healing, there's won't be progress," Tsvangirai warned. He added that while the international community should help, they must also accept the fact that "Zimbabweans have a right to choose, and they have decided that the inclusive government is the only way out."
"We realized that the time had come to sort out this mess. There is absolute poverty and hunger in this country," Tsvangirai said. "This is what prompted us to work with ZANU-PF [President Robert Mugabe's party], and I am sure that is what also prompted ZANU-PF to agree to this inclusive government."
The Prime Minister also said the unity government would deal with the issue of political detainees.
Africa to Washington: Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions Now!
Feb. 17 (EIRNS)The ambassadors to Washington of Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the African Union appeared today as a panel at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, with a single message: Lift the sanctions against Zimbabwe!
Zimbabwe's Ambassador Machivenyika Mapuranga, recalled that Britain and the U.S. claimed that the only sanctions were against individuals. But he read a passage from the U.S. Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 specifying strong sanctions against the country itself.
As for Britain, he emphasized that all three major British parties have been interfering in Zimbabwe by contributing funds to the Westminster Foundation and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said, when asked in the House of Commons what his policy was, said his government was working with the opposition, civil society, and Zimbabwe's neighbors to achieve regime change.
African Union Ambassador Amina Salum Ali emphasized that sanctions must be lifted now, and quoted former opposition leader, now Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, saying that "Mugabe is not the enemy." She drew attention to the African Union resolution this month, calling for "the immediate lifting of the sanctions on Zimbabwe to ease the economic and humanitarian situation in the country."
South Africa's Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, expressing strong support for the new inclusive government in Zimbabwe, reiterated the message that Africa knows what it wants, and asks only that it receive support, and not the usual condemnation and ridicule. He said that the UN is working with the Southern African Development Community to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, and that the U.S. and U.K. should also be working with the UN to that end.
The new Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Arthur Mutambara, formerly in the opposition, emphasizing the national interests of Zimbabwe over factional interests, said recently: "It's not for Britain or America to judge our agreement. Your job as America or Britain is to support what we try to do."
One questioner asked where civil society was in the whole process? He received blunt answers from Ambassadors Nhlapo and Mapuranga, who told him that "civil society organizations" are not representative of the people, but are typically funded from abroad.