The "cake" vs. "crumbs" power-sharing struggle continues in Zimbabwe. One of the reasons for the breakdown in the talks is that the government (ZANU-PF) wants the "whole power cake" and wants to give the opposition "crumbs." The intention of negotiations was to divide the "power cake" evenly so that a transitional government could be installed to stabilize the country and pave the way for fresh elections in two years. The memorandum of agreement signed by all parties agreed to this [...]
The combined outcome of events happening at the moment is hard to predict, but something is brewing in the southern African region around the issue of Zimbabwe. Here are "the key ingredients" in this pot:
1. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a group of regional leaders representing 14 countries in southern Africa, are meeting this weekend. Top on the agenda is the situation in Zimbabwe.
2. At this meeting there will be a change of leadership from the president of Zambia to [...]
It is Tuesday, August 12, and the leaders of the political parties are still locked in talks of power sharing -- it was expected that a deal would be struck on Sunday, but to no avail, so the talks continue. Most of us are still digesting and coming to terms with the content of the proposed new deal -- some parts are hard to swallow, but I think the model of power-sharing being used by chief mediator Thabo Mbeki is modeled on the South African experience.
If you can recall, [...]
The latest development on talks between the opposition party -- the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- and ZANU-PF President Robert Mugabe is that they have produced a 50-page document as a way forward in power-sharing and the installation of a transitional government. The duration of the transitional government is still being debated -- the opposition wants two years and ZANU-PF wants five. The plan is to eventually dissolve the transitional government and hold fresh [...]
I will begin with some positive news of growing international pressure on the Zimbabwean government. The United Nations secretary general has demanded an end to the violence and lifting of the ban on food aid. The U.S. secretary of state has called a meeting with African leaders to discuss the situation, and the Botswana government has issued this statement: "Botswana [...]
How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
"Violence is everywhere!" I cry,
but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
Habakkuk's lament reflects [...]
I have heard that the Chinese symbol for crisis means both danger and opportunity. The political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe and the crisis brought by xenophobic violence in South Africa present both danger and opportunity.
For many citizens from both countries, the crisis has become an opportunity to express their values of compassion and generosity. In the past week, there has been an outpouring of aid from many local citizens in the form of provision of [...]
In the back and forth concerning the role South Africa must play in the crisis of human rights abuses under the reign of Robert Mugabe and his cronies, it is my belief that we must see some form of serious intervention.
I understand the need for diplomacy, which always calls for "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." But when endless reports have been publicized of the atrocities that the people of Zimbabwe are facing, South African President Thabo Mbeki must engage ways to ensure [...]
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yeats, from his poem, "The Second Coming" Butler
When I listen to stories of victims of the [...]
This week has been marred by xenophobic violence in
This weekend Zimbabwe's opposition party announced that it would take part in the next round of presidential "elections." Violence, harassment, and intimidation of unarmed citizens continue as part of the government's preparation for the "elections." In my understanding, there are three basic rules that qualify a process to be described as a legitimate election (election 101!):
- Elections are part of a democratic package that includes freedom, democracy, and peace. [...]
The Zimbabwean tragedy continues. Presidential results were released after a record five-week delay! According to election law, a candidate must secure above 50% of the vote to be declared a winner. If there is no winner, a rerun must occur three weeks after the announcement of the results. There are loopholes in the election law that give the election commissioner powers to extend the time period for a rerun. The results are as follows:
A lot has happened this past week, starting with the international day of prayer for Zimbabwe on Sunday, April 27. Churches all over the world stood in solidarity with the plight of Zimbabweans and condemned the widespread violence and intimidation of citizens by the government.
Not surprisingly, there were counterclaims by government and some politicians in the region that the violence is exaggerated and not "serious." This got me thinking about what constitutes "serious violence." [...]
Catholic and Protestant church groups in Zimbabwe have voiced deep alarm about the Mugabe government's organized violence against those perceived to have voted against it, and its refusal to release the results of the March 29 elections. Despite the economic and social disaster Mugabe's government has brought on Zimbabwe in recent [...]
This morning's newspaper headlines are about the comment on Zimbabwe made by Jendayi Frazer, U.S. assistant secretary for African Affairs. Her statements reflect the reality of the situation in Zimbabwe that is evident to most people, including African leaders -- namely, that the current post-election crisis is happening because Mugabe lost the elections and his current presidency and government is constitutionally illegal. The silence from African leaders reminds me of the story of the [...]
It is difficult to make sense of the current ominous political drama surrounding the result of the presidential elections in Zimbabwe.
Let me set the context of the elections, which were held March 29, 2008. These elections were unique in that there were four different elections taking place simultaneously. Each voter had to complete four different voting forms for presidential, senate, parliament, and local government nominations. There were about 9,000 voting stations around the [...]