- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2002

Southern African neighbors of Zimbabwe may lose U.S. aid if they do not take a stand against the result of this month's presidential election that returned Robert Mugabe to power, a senior State Department official warned yesterday.
Mr. Mugabe was declared winner in the March 9-11 election, which was marred by violence and intimidation and by reported corruption by the ruling ZANU-PF party and condemned by international monitors.
"If Africa doesn't step up here, it's going to cripple our ability to provide the kind of economic-development assistance we want to provide not the humanitarian aid, but serious economic assistance," said Charles Snyder, deputy assistant secretary for African affairs.
"We have begun a bargain with Africa in general, a new day in Africa in which we are looking for this new economic partnership for African development," Mr. Snyder said, speaking at a Center for Strategic and Information Studies forum.
Zimbabwean Ambassador Simbi Mubako and southern Africa analysts also participated in the discussion.
While the United States and other Western nations, especially from the 54-member Commonwealth, have rejected the Zimbabwean election as flawed, most African countries have supported the outcome.
Even before the election, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) reported widespread attacks and intimidation by the ZANU-PF.
White farmers, who supported the opposition, have been targeted for what the opposition calls revenge attacks. A white farmer was killed Monday, becoming the 10th such victim since Mr. Mugabe began a drive to take over white-owned land in 2000. Yesterday, a black security guard at a white farm was reportedly beaten to death.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who has been charged with treason for a purported plot to assassinate Mr. Mugabe, has rejected the election result and resisted pleas by African leaders for a reconciliation with Mr. Mugabe.
An opposition-supported three-day general strike called by a trade union federation ran out of steam on the second day yesterday as the organizers blamed intimidation for the lukewarm response.
Mr. Snyder yesterday expressed concern for the entire region, not just Zimbabwe. He said the plummeting South African currency is a cause for concern and urged Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, to play a greater role.
Both Nigeria and South Africa have endorsed the re-election of Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
"U.S. policy in [southern] Africa has always been about trade, assistance, democracy and investment," Mr. Snyder said.
Mr. Mubako said Western governments, agencies and media favored the opposition and carried out a "propaganda blitz" against the Mugabe government.
"The media tended to present a situation where opposition would only lose because of fraud," the ambassador said.
He said Mr. Mugabe won despite intense efforts by Britain and the United States to influence the election result. An anti-colonial backlash and Britain's support for Mr. Tsvangirai could have helped Mr. Mugabe's victory, he added.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair "greatly assisted the campaign," Mr. Mubako said.


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