Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zimbabwean delegates demand luxury

Why do Africans not care about their fellow Africans?

The power sharing talks have only just begun and the jousting is in full swing for the spoils of the gravy train, this whilst ordinary Zimbabweans are living with 2 million % inflation and a single bread per family is considered a luxury.

Don’t expect a new Zimbabwean leadership to be any different than any other African state. How many Zimbabweans can even afford a cup of coffee in this establishment, and even as a freebie this is not good enough for their new leadership?

A new Zimbabwean government will sign new mining concessions making the privileged few billionaires, and the masses will have to hold out the begging bowls to the west to feed their children. So what has changed?

Unhappiness over accommodation adds to tension at power-sharing talks.

Delegates to Zimbabwe’s power-sharing talks switched guesthouses in South Africa this week after tension arose because some had swankier rooms than others.

The delegates — who include Zimbabwean justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti — were also unhappy about their accommodation’s supposed lack of luxury.

The South African government is footing the bill for the talks, which are aimed at ending Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

The talks are taking place in complete secrecy.

An employee at the Ingwenya Country Escape in Muldersdrift, about 45 minutes from Johannesburg, told the Sunday Times that the 12-member delegation had booked into the three-star, 160ha estate on Tuesday.

The MDC delegates were flown in separately by the South African Air Force after they refused to fly with the rival Zanu-PF delegation.

Ingwenya, which boasts a brand-new, state-of-the-art conference facility as well as a spa, wine garden, restaurants and a whisky bar — was swept by security teams before the delegation arrived.

The SA government paid R750000 for total exclusivity of the venue until August 5, forcing the lodge’s management to cancel other reservations and planned conferences.

But the delegation left a mere 24 hours after checking in — because they were unhappy with the accommodation.

“They arrived here and demanded five-star service and accommodation. However, we are a three-star venue. They brought in their security to sweep the area and searched us and our offices. They paid R750000 and decided that, after spending a night here, we were not good enough,” the source said.

Among the problems the delegates had was the fact that not all the rooms were the same. This caused friction among some of the delegates, who believed they were not being treated equally.
Delegates were also unhappy that the rooms did not have minibars.

The atmosphere at the lodge during their short stay was said to be “very tense”, with delegates refusing to socialise after the meetings or around the breakfast table.

But the tension did not stop the delegates from enjoying the alcohol on offer at the guesthouse. “They only drank expensive whisky like Johnnie Walker,” said the employee.

The source said the group left on Wednesday night, escorted by police. They are believed to have moved to a five-star guesthouse in Pretoria.

The delegation also includes MDC deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma, who represents the main faction of the MDC; Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, respectively secretary-general and deputy secretary-general of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction; and public services minister Nicholas Goche, who represents Zanu-PF.

President Thabo Mbeki’s legal adviser, Mojanku Gumbi, SA’s minister of provincial and local government, Sydney Mufamadi, and the director-general in the presidency, the Rev Frank Chikane, are facilitating the talks.

Meanwhile, AP reported on Friday that the talks were proceeding well.

SA presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said the Zimbabwean talks got “fully under way” on Thursday and were “continuing and they are proceeding well”. The parties have committed themselves to negotiating “an inclusive government” within two weeks.

Both sides are under pressure: the opposition from fear of more state-sponsored violence, and longtime Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe from widening Western sanctions.

The US on Friday broadened its sanctions against targeted Zimbabweans and their companies, calling Mugabe’s regime “illegitimate” and “brutal”.

The Zimbabwe parties also agreed to negotiate a slew of other issues, including the revival of the shattered economy and a new constitution.


2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Hey Doberman, have you posted anything on this new land claim act (not sure what it's called) that they want to pass? The one where they can even take urban houses and pay less than market value, or whatever. I'm not too clear on the details. I was hoping you could shed some light...

Anonymous said...

@ anon 03:38..

I will look at it and post something about the subject in the next day or so.