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Talks, dialogue, negotiations and GNU - Post June 2008 "elections" - Index of articles
party defies July 21 agreement
Thornycroft, VOA News
August 19, 2008
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weeks after President Robert Mugabe signed a memorandum
of understanding on negotiations with his political opponents,
his ZANU-PF party is accused of violating the crucial clause requiring
that he lift the ban on non-governmental organizations delivering
food aid. Peta Thornycroft reports that, in additon, ZANU-PF leaders
continue to violate other crucial clauses of the agreement.
In June, Welfare
Minister Nicholas Goche banned
humanitarian agencies from distributing food because, he said, they
had campaigned on behalf of the MDC ahead of the March 29 elections.
The food agencies denied Goche's accusation.
The move was widely seen
as a retaliation against voters who supported Movement for Democratic
Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March election in which he
scored more votes than Mr Mugabe and his party won a narrow majority
This week the World Food
Program, which is the largest donor funded food importer, told VOA
the organization has had no word, or even an indication, that the
ban will be lifted.
The WFP works primarily
through local non-governmental organizations as distribution partners.
These partners were banned from doing field work, except for school
feeding programs and those to assist people with HIV/AIDS.
The WFP says 250,000
people are currently being assisted, but even as early as last month
that figure should have been 300,000. The local partner organizations
say many children are already showing signs of malnutrition as a
consequence of failed summer crops and that feeding programs should
be escalated as a matter of urgency.
The WFP says about five
million people, or nearly half the population of Zimbabwe, will
need food aid before the next summer harvest in April, 2009.
One humanitarian organization,
which asked not to be identified, said some top ZANU-PF politicians
have asked the agency to defy the government ban because traditional
leaders complain that many people have no food.
A worker in the Welfare
Ministry in Harare said Monday there were no indications when or
if the ban would be lifted.
Renson Gasela, a former
MDC legislator and a respected commentator on agriculture, on Monday
described the ongoing ban as "appalling." He said it was
cruel and disgraceful that any government in the world should prevent
food from getting to people in need.
He said the continuing
food distribution ban violated the July 21 memorandum of understanding.
Political violence which
soared after the MDC's election victory is continuing, although
at a much reduced level.
But the party issues
regular reports providing details of supporters thrown out of their
homes, beaten up, kidnapped or forced to hand over possessions to
Several MDC supporters
have died since the memorandum of understanding was signed on July
21. Some are still in the hospital recovering from the attacks on
them. The agreement was meant to end all political violence.
And, in the last week,
there has been a sudden upsurge of white commercial farmers being
illegally evicted from their homes and land. Harare lawyer David
Drury said Monday he was busy representing affected farmers. He
said there was what he described as a 'last mad rush' by ZANU-PF
heavyweights to seize many of the few hundred remaining white owned
farms in anticipation of some kind of political settlement.
The Memorandum of Understanding
also committed the signatories, to respect property rights.
Negotiations for a power
sharing agreement between the MDC and ZANU-PF deadlocked in South
Africa on Sunday although leaders on both sides say they are committed
to keep talking.
Meanwhile, many Zimbabweans
can not afford to buy the little food available as prices double
every few days. The Central Statistical Office announced late Monday
that inflation had now jumped to more than 11 million percent, a
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