Skip to comments.Zimbabwe: Angry Mbeki storms out of Zim indaba - report
Posted on 09/11/2001 5:50:47 AM PDT by Clive
Harare It has been reported that President Thabo Mbeki walked out of a meeting of Southern African rulers in Zimbabwe after militant leaders rejected the Abuja accord , which aims to restore political and economic stability to the country.
Mbeki was apparently also angered when it was claimed that the British government wrote the speech delivered by Malawi President Bakili Muluzi.
However, Mbekis spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo, said the presidents temporary withdrawal had no "significance". He did not elaborate.
Muluzi said on Monday that regional leaders did not dispute the need for land reform in Zimbabwe, but were alarmed by the methods used.
He appealed to President Robert Mugabe to end lawlessness in the country.
The leaders' two-day meeting in Harare due to end on Tuesday - followed an agreement in Abuja, Nigeria last week that pledged money from Britain and other countries to fund an orderly land redistribution process in Zimbabwe in return for the return of order.
As the regional leaders resumed their talks on Tuesday, white farmers accused ruling party militants of more beatings and attacks. The militants have occupied 1 700 white-owned farms over the past 18 months with tacit government approval.
The occupations and government plans to seize nearly all the country's white-owned commercial farms have deepened the country's worst economic crisis.
But at Inyati, 480km west of the capital, a crowd of 100 militants beat rancher David Joubert and two black game scouts on Monday outside the courthouse as police looked on, said Jenni Williams, spokesperson for the Commercial Farmers' Union.
The trio had been charged with riotous behaviour last month after militants burned workers' houses in an effort to drive them and Joubert from his safari ranch.
None of the arsonists was arrested.
The militants, chanting: "We are going to take everything," as they besieged the courthouse where the three appeared. Joubert suffered cuts and bruises, Williams said.
In Beatrice, 80km south of Harare, Angus Brown was again besieged on his farm on Tuesday, neighbours said on condition of anonymity.
Police visited Brown after he called for help, but did not stop militants climbing on his roof in an effort to break into the home, they said.
At Karoi, 320km northwest of Harare, an army truck on Monday smashed down security gates when it brought 100 new land occupiers to a farm, the farmers' union said.
Human rights groups who were barred from meeting southern African leaders protested on Tuesday at African leaders' statements that all Zimbabwe's problems stemmed from the land dispute, insisting it was a political conflict instead.
"This is a bogus issue designed to win an election," said Tony Reeler of the Amani Trust, which helps victims of political thuggery.
The occupations began in March 2000, three months before parliamentary elections. Presidential elections are due early next year.
John Makumbe, chairperson of the Zimbabwe chapter of Transparency International, said ordinary black citizens were demanding: "What had land to do with my sister who was raped? What had land to do with my husband whose grave has never been found?"
They said they would continue their "peaceful protests," occupying farms until virtually all were in black hands.
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and Festus Mogae of Botswana also took part in the Harare talks, along with Mugabe and ministers from Angola and Tanzania. Regional leaders said they were worried by Zimbabwe's economic collapse.
UN statistics say 74 percent of Zimbabweans are living below the poverty line.
After further closed-door talks on Tuesday, the leaders are due to meet representatives of churches and businesses, then hold a brief news conference.
Stay well - Rouke's Drift
This could turn badly very soon, even in the wake of the Airliner Attacks in the U.S.
So this is what the 21st Century looks like;I'm not so sure I like it. ;^)