Sunday, July 27, 2008

In Zimbabwe Talks, who will get the real power?

NYTimes analysis

note the new players in the field: especially Botswana.,..excerpts..

....One of the most remarkable changes to emerge from Zimbabwe’s violent election season is that leaders in Zambia and Botswana have resoundingly broken the silence of Mr. Mugabe’s peers in the region about the human rights abuses committed by his governing party....

With rumors swirling that Mr. Mugabe, 84, and Mr. Tsvangirai, 56, are close to a deal in talks that are supposed to last only two weeks, Ms. Khupe, a member of Parliament from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, said she had not been informed yet about the progress of the negotiations. But she noted that any agreement from the talks, which are being held at a secret location in Pretoria, would have to be approved by the party’s leadership.

....Shadowing the current talks is the memory of an earlier set of unity negotiations. In 1987, after years in which historians estimated that Mr. Mugabe’s military forces killed at least 10,000 civilians in the stronghold of his rival Joshua Nkomo, Mr. Nkomo joined the government, allowing Mr. Mugabe to further solidify his hold on power.

The current talks, too, were preceded by a violent onslaught....

The accounts its election observers brought back from Zimbabwe deepened Botswana’s official revulsion. Ruth Seretse, the deputy director of Botswana’s directorate on corruption and economic crime, led the 50-person observer team. She said in an interview that she had seen ZANU-PF youth militia members beating people at a rally for Mr. Tsvangirai in Harare.

“People ran for their lives,” she said. “The riot police just stood there.” .....

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