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Monday, July 28, 2008

Mugabe Not Trusted to Fulfill Terms of Agreement

The agreement by President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to form a power-sharing government that would bring and end to the political violence that has wracked Zimbabwe, has elicited words of caution from the Bishop of Harare, Dr Sebastian Bakare.

Speaking to the media at the 14th Lambeth Conference in Canterbury on July 22, Dr Bakare warned that Zimbabwe’s history did not bode well for the success of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 21 by President Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki. A similar agreement signed by President Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo to end the civil war in Matabeleland between Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Nkomo’s ZAPU party, which made Nkomo a member of the government in 1982, served to eliminate the last significant opposition to the regime.

“We are very fearful coming from our history,” Dr Bakare said. “The other Memorandum of Understanding [between Mugabe and Nkomo] swallowed up the other party."

“I want to believe that the opposition side is aware that Mugabe is not there just to hand in power,” the bishop warned.

President Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. However on March 29 ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament, and independent observers report Mugabe lost the popular vote for president. However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission held that Tsvangirai failed to achieve an outright majority and ordered a run-off for June 27.

A widespread campaign of murder, violence and intimidation mounted by the police and ZANU-PF cadres against the MDC led Tsvangirai to pull out of the election, leaving Mugabe the winner of the uncontested presidential race.Popular unrest and pressure from the overseas community, however, led to negotiations between the two parties overseen by South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki.

The Memorandum of Understanding calls for an end to hate speech and political violence, the lifting of the ban on humanitarian organisations to enable them to distribute relief, and setting the objectives and priorities for a new government that will address the economic decline and political malaise, among other things, all to be agreed within two weeks.

Source: Religious Intelligence News

For related stories on the situation in Zimbabwe, go here, here and here.

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