From Zimbabwe to Haiti

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From Zimbabwe to Haiti

Post by Serge » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:00 am

News was announced yesterday that Mugabe and his chief opponent had signed an agreement to restore peace in this rich African country. The negotiations were skillfully mediated by South African President Tabo Mbeki.

I could not help but remember, in the months leading up to the February 2004 coup in Haiti, how similar negotiations crashed, leading to a crisis that dug us deeper in an already deep hole. There was a moment when Aristide, his back totally against the wall, had caved in to the demands of the opposition, seeking only to finish his term, almost begging to finish his term. But, the Haitian opposition, retreating to the traditional and historic intransigeance that has always characterized the Haitian psyche, preferred to appeal to the foreigners to oust Aristide, not at all concerned about what would happen next. Typical! Strangely enough, the all powerful Colin Powell, then US Foreign Secretary, had accepted Aristide's capitulation, carried his position to the opposition which in turn rejected it. Powell gave it sometimes to think and show more flexibility. The rest is history. Powell ultimately sided with the opposition and Aristide was out .

We will remember when Randall Robinson, a week before the coup, announced in an interview on WPFW how Powell had told him Guy Philippe (by the way, where is he today?...) and his gang were marching on Port-au-Prince and that Aristide could not count on any help whatsoever. I was there that day and I can testify to that. The rest is history, as we say.

The signing of this agreement between two sworn enemies brought back all these memories and made me reflect on what could have been if......If , like in Zimbabwe, we in Haiti, had shown enough vision , enough sense of self-sacrifice, enough sense of country, enough sense of patriotism, enough sense of the collective well-being, enough sense of respect for one another, enough sense to realize that it is up to Haitians to solve their problems among Haitians, face to face, even with the help of foreign mediation like that of Mbeki in Zimbabwe, in order to find solutions adapted to the Haitian context.

If we had enough sense not to let the likes of IRI, Haiti Democracy Poject and their henchmen manipulate and conrol the scene, maybe we might have had a different outcome by now. But, it was too much to ask from our incompetent political class.

Have we learned anything? It is not too much to ask such a question now, as we witness, with some embarassment, the so-called "moralists" in Parliament seeking everyway to block Mrs. Michèle Pierre-Louis as Prime Minister.

If we had decided to take our destiny in our own hand, in a responsible and patriotic manner, if.........


P.S. See below the article on the Zimbabwe Agreement.

Zimbabweans hail 'historic' deal
Zimbabweans have warmly welcomed a deal setting a framework for talks on the country's political crisis.

Residents in Harare and Bulawayo told the BBC they were excited at news of the agreement, saying they hoped it would allow a return to normal life.

The deal says power-sharing talks between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC should be completed within two weeks.

South African officials said the talks would begin immediately.

Meanwhile, EU officials said they were extending sanctions against allies of Mr Mugabe, adding 37 names to the list of 131 people subject to a travel ban and assets freeze.

What MDC wants:
Mugabe to step down
"Transitional authority" to organise new elections
What Zanu-PF wants:
Mugabe to be accepted as president
MDC to take a few minor ministries
International community to drop sanctions and help kick-start economy

The signing ceremony, which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai described as "historic", was the first time he had met Mr Mugabe in a decade.

On Tuesday, he said in a statement that the deal "offers the most tangible opportunity in the past 10 years to improve the lives of our fellow citizens".

"But our signatures alone do not guarantee that we will be able to make the most of this opportunity," he warned.

The talks, to be held in South Africa, are expected to focus on a possible power-sharing agreement, how to revive Zimbabwe's devastated economy and ending the political violence.

But the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg says the deal has not settled any of key issues, such as how two parties work together and - crucially - what happens to Mr Mugabe.

Too early

Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai have been locked in a bitter dispute over this year's presidential election.

Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won the first round of presidential elections at the end of March, but official results gave him less than the 50% needed for outright victory.

We should make sure people have enough food and enough medicines in hospital
Harare resident

Mr Mugabe won the second round after Mr Tsvangirai withdrew, complaining of a campaign of violence against his supporters.

The poll was widely criticised by Western powers and by a small group of African countries.

Zimbabweans expressed hope that Monday's deal would bring an end to the political unrest.

One resident in the capital, Harare, said Zimbabweans were "looking forward to peace and development".

"We should make sure people have enough food and enough medicines in hospital," said another.

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, journalist Themba Nkosi said both government and opposition supporters were desperate for a return to normal life, wanting schools that had closed during the post-election violence to reopen.

Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa were more sceptical.

Solomon "Sox" Chikohwero, Vice-Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum, told the BBC there would only be cause to celebrate once a power-sharing deal was signed.

South African presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said the talks would begin at an undisclosed location in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon.

However, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party's lead negotiator, Secretary-General Tendai Biti, remained in Harare.

The MDC says at least 120 of its supporters have been killed, about 5,000 abducted and 200,000 forced from their homes since the first round of the elections, in a campaign of violence by pro-Mugabe militias and the army.

Cabinet ministers and military officials have denied the charges.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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