by Joseph W
In January, Zimbabwe’s finance minister and MDC politician Tendai Biti spoke to The Guardian. Biti warned of a bloodbath at the next Zimbabwean elections, to be held later this year.
Biti is the deputy of Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai is now facing treason charges, on the basis of recent revelations in Wikileaks documents. The ultimate punishment for treason in Zimbabwe is the death penalty.
Zimbabwe’s Attorney General Johannes Tomana was personally appointed by Robert Mugabe, and is himself the subject of a boycott by the US State Department. It is likely he will use his role to try and damn Tsvangirai. The “independent panel” established by Tomana are lawyers who have mostly represented Zanu-PF clients and not members of the MDC.
Mugabe argues that, as Tsvangirai discussed sanctions against the Mugabe regime with the West, he is traitor to the Zimbabwean people. Tsvangirai is now in great danger.
Knowing the severe damage that the Wikileaks cables have caused in Zimbabwe already, the Daily Telegraph and Wikileaks have now published a new cable about EU sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The cable suggests that Tendai Biti discussed which sanctions against Mugabe to keep and which ones to lift, with EU officials.
Mugabe’s party has now responded.
The Zimbabwe Guardian reports:
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has launched a fierce attack on Finance minister Tendai Biti, calling him “an illegal instrument” of Europeans and Americans after he was fingered in a damning latest WikiLeaks cable.
Mugabe and his party have cranked up the rhetoric against the MDC on State TV using the cables as propaganda cannon fodder ahead of elections. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, a stirring orator with a fondness for Shakespeare and florid phrases, has lashed at the Finance minister for playing God in the sanctions debacle.
“What for me is significant is that the president of the MDC is depicted by the Americans, not by Zanu PF, as double faced. At one level he is with the Zimbabweans agitating against sanctions, but behind closed doors he is with the West in calling for an extension even of the sanctions. Now the secretary general of the party Tendai Biti faces exactly the same characterisation and its not a mischaracterisation that there is some kind of duplicitous conduct, political conduct on their part,” Charamba said.
“A combination of a president and the secretary general gives you the soul, a philosophy, the direction of a political party. And that duplicity that we see coming through WikiLeaks is in line with what the Americans are telling us that, that is what is at the core of MDC politics.
“What we have not got Zimbabweans to appreciate is that if an official has the capacity to get Charamba removed from the sanctions list, and I happen to be No. 4 on the list, if an official can get this or that bank to be removed on the sanctions list, this or that corporate body to be removed on the sanctions list , then by reverse logic, it means everything, anything, everyone who is on the sanctions list is there by that same official isn’t it?”
Charamba querried why Biti decided to recommend the removal of Dabengwa and not the President.
“The same force that removed Dabengwa are the same forces that keep President Mugabe on the sanctions list isn’t it? And the mediating official is the same who determines who is on and who is off. So there is a way in which MDC plays God to the whole sanctions regime that is operating and debilitating the Zimbabwean people. I think there must come a time where they must own up.”
Mugabe’s Zanu PF describes Tsvangirai’s MDC as a “white-sponsored elitist party” and the Prime Minister as a puppet for white interests. There is escalating and open disdain for the MDC and its leaders by Zanu PF in a campaign that has been characterized by bellicose, sharp-edged rhetoric.
Zanu PF Politburo member Jonathan Moyo said: “Tendai Biti, now you have a very funny situation during the day he is supposed to be spearheading the economic recovery of our country, at night he is putting the very same economy that must recover under illegal economic sanctions. He is the instrument, the illegal instrument of the EU, the illegal instrument of the Americans.
After all we know of how Mugabe has reacted to Wikileaks revelations, why is the Daily Telegraph publishing this cable at this time?
As Biti only discussed a partial lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe with EU officials, and as Biti is the deputy to Tsvangirai, the cable leaves Biti and his party wide open for Mugabe to exploit.
I understand the need for a good story, but surely there are far more important concerns right now which should have stopped any sensible person from wanting to publish this.