Whilst the IMF rushes to assist Mugabe with millions of dollars worth of loans; it is very clear that in reality Mugabe and his thugs still continue as if no settlement (the GNU) had been agreed. It seems that once again Mugabe’s charm offensive still fools heads of government and overeas agencies.
SOKWANELE: “Zimbabwe Inclusive Government Watch (ZIG Watch) is tracking articles and reports which provide examples of violations of the agreement between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Formations signed in Harare on 15 September 2008.
August saw the continuation of the chaos in Zimbabwe, with ever more breaches of the GPA being recorded, the majority of which fell into the following categories:
- wanton politically motivated violence, or violence driven by politicians or petty officials,
- harassment, and deprivation of freedom, of individuals through contrived arrests on spurious charges,
- widespread corruption involving senior public and uniformed figures,
- the deprivation of the right to Freedom of Expression, and the abu se thereof,
- violent, unconstitutional, invasions and seizures of property and farms, and
- deliberate attempts to derail the Constitution-making process.
The month of August has seen a notable increase in breaches in these two areas:
- open subversion of legal or administrative processes for political benefit, and
- deliberate non-cooperation with the other parties to the GPA agreement, or the deliberate undermining – or abuse of – other persons or parties for political ends.
Zanu PF’s favourite political tool – violence – stills plagues Zimbabwe’s populace to the extent that it is almost accepted as a norm by the majority. Our first listed breach in Issue 8 reveals that the government has! turned deaf ears to the warnings by the Kimberly Process that the sales of Zimbabwean diamonds may be suspended internationally after the international body directed that Zimbabwe’s diamond fields should be demilitiarised. The troops are still there, and rights abuses and smuggling continue unabated.
On a more local level, a young man was murdered by seven Zanu PF thugs in Macheke after going to the home of a local Zanu PF chairman to ask for his outstanding wages. He was subjected to a brutal beating and torture before he died, and his body dumped on a road to make it look like an accident. One wonders how an ‘accident’ explains wounds made by redhot iron rods through the stomach. It is alleged that Minister Didymus Mutasa aided the release of the perpetrators, who only received a fine as their punishment…”
The Prime Minister has presented a speeech at the Institute for Strategic Studies in London. It is a clarification of the government’s position.
Labour MP Eric Joyce, a parliamentary aide to the defence secretary, resigned saying a time limit should be set on troop deployment.
The prime minister said he would not walk away, adding: “A safer Afghanistan means a safer Britain.”
He also said British military spending in Afghanistan was increasing.
Downing Street has been keen to stress that the speech was not a response to Eric Joyce’s resignation and had been planned for some time..”
Channel 4 News has released a copy of a resignation letter issued by the parliamentary private secretary to the defence secretary Eric Joyce. Clearly this will be a blow to Brown’s conduct of the war in Afghanistan. Eric Joyce rightly criticises government policy for failing to do its duty towards our military personnel.
As you may know, I told Bob Ainsworth some weeks ago that I intended to step down as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Defence Secretary before the start of the new parliamentary term. This seems to me the least disruptive time to do that. I have been privileged to work as PPS to four senior Labour ministers in four government departments and now feel that I can make my best contribution to the Labour effort in parliament by concentrating on helping, as a regular back-bencher, to show that Labour remains sound on matters of Defence.
Labour was returned to power in 1997 on the back of your great success in turning the Economy from a weakness into a strength for Labour. Our continuing success in helping people from all parts of society become more prosperous, while helping the least well-off most, is built upon that. More quietly, during the 90’s, Labour’s then shadow defence team showed how Labour had become, after the disaster of the early 1980s, ‘sound’ on Defence. It seems to me that your personal success on the economy won the deal in 1997, while colleagues at Defence sealed it.
We are now, I think, once again at a critical time for Labour and Defence. The Conservatives, of course opportunistically, think they can convince the public that we have lost our empathy with the Defence community. We must not allow this to happen. I know that you have great commitment to our armed forces and this was clear when you visited Afghanistan this week, yet there seem to me to be some problems which need fixing with the greatest urgency.
As you know, two Black Watch soldiers gave their lives during your visit. I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets. Nor do I think we can continue with the present level of uncertainty about the future of our deployment in Afghanistan.
I think we must be much more direct about the reality that we do punch a long way above our weight, that many of our allies do far too little, and that leaving the field to the United States would mean the end of NATO as a meaningful proposition. The British people have a proud history of facing such realities. They understand the importance of the allied effort in Afghanistan/Pakistan and I think they would appreciate more direct approach by politicians. We also need to make it clear that our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited. It should be possible now to say that we will move off our present war-footing and reduce our forces there substantially during our next term in government.
We also need a greater geopolitical return from the United States for our efforts. For many, Britain fights; Germany pays, France calculates; Italy avoids. If the United States values each of these approaches equally, they will end up shouldering the burden by themselves. The first place to start is an acceptance this week by them, and by the Afghanistan electoral authorities, that there must be a second round in the elections there. I do not think the British people will support the physical risk to our servicemen and women unless they can be given confidence that Afghanistan’s government has been properly elected and has a clear intent to deal with the corruption there which has continued unabated in recent years.
Most important of all, we must make it clear to every serviceman and woman, their families and the British public that we give their well-being the highest political priority. Behind the hand attacks by any Labour figure on senior service personnel are now, to the public, indistinguishable from attacks on the services themselves. Conversely, in my view we should allow our service personnel greater latitude to voice their views on matters which make distinctions between defence and politics pointless.
I believe the next election is ours to win, thanks greatly to your personal great economic success. But we cannot win unless we grip defence. Above all, Labour must remember that service folk and their families are our people. We say that we honour them for their risk, bravery and sacrifice and we must at literally all costs continue to show by our actions that we mean it.
I intend to do what modest amount I can to help from the back-benches.
Eric Joyce MP”
Why on earth was the NHS allowed to hire a bunch of costly consultants to produce a review of the NHS promoting job cuts? How come the ministry could not intervene then to halt this project?
THE GUARDIAN: “The NHS will have to shed around 137,000 jobs – almost a tenth of its workforce – if it is to meet planned efficiency savings of £20bn, the Department of Health has been warned.The severity of cutbacks needed by 2014 was contained in advice presented by management consultants McKinsey to the government this spring.The content of the document, obtained by the Health Service Journal, was not disputed today but the health minister Mike OBrien insisted the government had already rejected the proposal.He said: “In core frontline services, like maternity, nursing and primary care, we need more staff rather than fewer.”Attempting to distance themselves from the report, ministerial sources suggested the review had been commissioned without full ministerial authority…”
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and championed a liberal ideology during almost a half century in the Senate, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port. He was 77 and had been battling brain cancer.
This is difficult, Has Cameron got a point, are we bending over backwards to dance to Gaddafi’s tune? I know there is some controversy over this issue but we usually expect terrorists to claim a triumph in terrorist outrages the strange thing is if there were others they have remained remarkably silent so we could asumme that Megrahi is guilty. Nick Robinson discuses the impact of this most strange decision that an SNP government minister has apparently taken.
If we are going to begin to sup with the devil then that spoon is going have to be very, very long!
David Cameron: “I think this is wrong and it’s the product of some completely nonsensical thinking in my view. If there’s a view that the conviction is in some way unsafe, then the proper process is an appeal and the presentation of new evidence. But if this is about genuine release on compassionate grounds I think it is wrong. This man was convicted of murdering 270 people. He showed no compassion to them. They weren’t allowed to go home and die with their relatives in their own bed and I think this is a very bad decision.”..”
In the current frenzy over healthcare reform in the USA we are accustomed to wild illogical and irrational statements and discussion but US rightwingnuts brazenly showing weapons at a presidential event seems not only lunatic but criminal. The story below explains:
PHOENIX (AP) – About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday—the latest incidents in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.
Gun-rights advocates say they’re exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday’s event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn’t need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.