When an MP asked Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Seif Ali Khamis why it normally took so long for the AU and other regional bodies to intervene in emerging conflicts and why Tanzania and the AU entertained power-sharing governments in Kenya and Zimbabwe, knowing that sitting presidents in the two countries didn’t actually win the elections, he replied: “I disagree…the AU does not wait for a crisis to happen before intervening…. We normally don’t anticipate political crises in democratic countries governed by the rule of law.” He added that as the AU and other regional bodies had concluded that the Zimbabwe elections, especially the run-off, were not free and fair, they didn’t recognise the declared winner, Robert Mugabe, as the legitimate president. No member country of the AU had so far recognised Mugabe,” he said.

On the decision by China and Russia to veto proposed additional sanctions backed by Western countries on Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Pinda told Parliament that their decision had not swayed the African Union (AU) in its position. He added that, right from the beginning, the AU’s stand had been to give Harare a hand so that it could move out of its current political turmoil. He said the decision by China and Russia was made for a good reason because experience showed that economic and weapons embargoes on a poor country like Zimbabwe normally affected the people, not the government. “They did so for a noble reason, and that is to rescue the people of Zimbabwe from further sufferings. I think making the rival parties conduct dialogue is the best solution,” said the Premier.

On why the Tanzanian government and other AU member states were involving Mugabe, whom they apparently refused to recognise, in looking for a solution to the political crisis in Zimbabwe, Pinda said that, due to the fact that he was declared the winner and took the oath as president, there was no other option but working with him. “I think the MP has just decided to corner me on the issue of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe issue is over. Elections have been held and the President has been installed. What we can do right now is help Mugabe, the opposition and Zimbabweans to work out problems, so that the country gets back to its previous position” – Guardian.

This was written before negotiations on possible power sharing in Zimbabwe
had concluded – Editor

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