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Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: UK Plot To Erode Confidence In Zimbabwe’s Policies Exposed

The British government has hatched a desperate diplomatic plot whose propaganda aim is to reverse the gains of current Government policies and erode confidence in these policies by creating the impression of a new crisis in Zimba-bwe.

Sources here said the plot, which came about after the British government was stung by reports of the ongoing success of the Government’s economic turnaround policies and growing public and international confidence in the general political situation in Zimbabwe, is built around high profile visits by African leaders from the region, which would be instigated and sponsored directly or indirectly by the British.

According to a highly-placed source at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London with close links to the British Foreign Office, the visiting leaders would hold highly publicised meetings with President Mugabe.

After that they would meet with some so-called sections of civil society, including opposition MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, to dramatise allegations of tension, conflict and polarisation in the country.

The source said among the leaders expected to visit are Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, the recently re-elected South African President Thabo Mbeki and the Prime Minister of Mauri-tius.

Former Kenyan leader Mr Daniel arap Moi was also expected to visit as a special envoy of President Mwai Kibaki, the source said.

"Preparations for these visits have reached an advanced stage although no firm dates have been set," the source said.

This new propaganda initiative by the British comes hardly a week after the discredited Commonwealth secretary-general Mr Don McKinnon, who made futile attempts to make contact with the Zimbabwean delegation at President Mbeki’s inauguration in Pretoria last week, told diplomats in Pretoria that his office was working closely with the British Foreign Office to exert new pressure on the Zimbabwe Government.

Mr McKinnon is said to have conceded that the Zimbabwean situation was increasingly getting out of reach following the country’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth.

He also said British diplomats were experiencing serious difficulties in finding new entry points.

Even the International Crisis Group has acknowledged the same, noting in its recent report released last month that:

"For all the sound and fury of international condemnation and domestic opposition, President Robert Mugabe maintains the upperhand in Zimbabwe. . . . it has been a masterful performance."

The report goes on to say: "It is time to acknowledge collective failure to date, re-evaluate strategies and concentrate on the opportunities presented by the March 2005 parliamentary elections."

The source said the new initiative was designed to create an opportunity for the opposition ahead of the parliamentary elections, which the President has said would be held next March.

A Government spokesman said the Government was unaware of the visits by the regional leaders and expressed doubt that anyone of these countries would want to be party to such an obvious British plot.

"In any event, the Government is busy doing things that the people of Zimbabwe expect it to do and the results are speaking for themselves on the ground.

"There is peace and tranquillity and the economic prospects are so good today that we do not believe any African country would want to spoil this for the benefit of the British," said the spokesman.

The plot by the British also comes in the wake of failure by Britain and its allies at last month’s United Nations Human Rights Commission summit in Geneva, Switzerland, to get the world body to investigate Zimbabwe for alleged human rights abuses.

Note: This article first appeared in The Herald

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Tuesday, May 4, 2004

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