There’s been plenty of news flowing out of Zimbabwe since March 29th, but the wires have really been buzzing these past few days. A couple of the larger stories making headlines: A US position on the elections, the continuing saga of the Chinese arms shipment, and Robert Mugabe’s confirmed parliamentary loss.
I’ll begin with the US declaration of support for Zimbabwe’s opposition. While I think it’s great that Jendayi Frazier, is finally denouncing the fraud that is Mugabe’s government, I have to wonder why it took four weeks to issue a statement on this?! Frazier remarked,
We can’t stand back and wait for this to escalate. Everyone knows what time it is.*
If the US hasn’t been standing back and waiting for things to escalate, then what the hell have we been doing? In any case, America is ready to play ball now. Ms. Frazier suggested that the human rights situation has gotten so out of hand in Zimbabwe that it is necessary to involve the African Union and the United Nations, as well as other countries. Thanks for telling us something we already knew.
Onwards to coverage of the An Yue Jiang. I’ve been reading contradictory information about this ship all over the web, and it can pretty much be traced back to one person: Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman for China. She was quoted in The New York Times, stating,
The Chinese government has already decided to send the military goods back to China in the same vessel, the An Yue Jiang.
Phew. So the arms are definitely headed back to China. But wait a minute! The BBC quoted Ms. Yu as commenting,
To my knowledge the Chinese company has decided to recall the ship.
Sorry but I’m not willing to rely on the guesstimate of a foreign ministry lackey when it comes to the whereabouts of a ship carrying 77 tons of weapons. Plus, the shipping company could not confirm that the An Yue Jiang was in fact returning to China.
Lots of people are interested and want to know where the ship is headed, but reporting confusing information before the full story is known, doesn’t seem to be the best way to go. When I see headlines in the New York Times that read: China May Give Up Attempt to Send Arms to Zimbabwe, I’m kind of like, what? The Chinese “may” give up their attempt? What does that even tell me?
Fortunately some actual reporting happened today, and we now know that the An Yue Jiang is docked in the waters off of Luanda, Angola. What a shocker! The real surprise is how Angola backhanded Mugabe and his cronies by refusing to allow offloading of the weapons. I did not see that one coming! Angola has been a longtime ally of the Mugabe regime, but it appears that they have bowed to the growing regional and international pressure around this issue.
Finally, Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission released the results of their partial recount, and found no change in the results. This means that the MDC has a parliamentary majority over ZANU PF for the first time in 28 years. ZEC also announced that the presidential results could be announced by Monday. I’ll believe it when I see it. Like many other people, I’m positive that the ZEC recount is a delay tactic utilized by ZANU PF to buy time. In the interim, the government has worked to import weapons, cracked down on MDC supporters, and unleashed a stepped-up version of their reign of terror upon the general public. They stand to lose everything if they release the actual results. So what will their next move be?