Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

African Nations stand up for Zimbabwe

By now we've all heard about the Chinese Cargo ship en route to deliver thousands of pounds of ammunition to the land locked country of Zimbabwe. A questionable act considering the oppressive regime has yet to announce the results of the hotly contested Presidential Election.

Last week the ship was turned away from South Africa's main port in protest. And it's been revealed that the other major ports in countries such as Angola, Mozambique and Nambia have now also turned away the ship with its much questioned and protested cargo. The President of Zambia was quoted as saying:

"I hope this will be the case with all the countries because we don't want a situation which will escalate the tension in Zimbabwe more than what it is."

This after Zimbabwean church leaders issued a joint statement today calling for international intervention, saying people were being tortured, abducted and some murdered in a campaign against opposition supporters.

The An Yue Jiang is carrying 1500 rocket-propelled grenades, 3,000 mortar rounds and mortar tubes, and three million rounds of AK-47 ammunition according to Voice of America.

The ship may be headed back to China where the government is more than a bit concerned about the refusal to allow it to conduct its business. The Chinese foreign ministry is urging the international community not to politicise the trade deal, despite the recent reports that Chinese Military Units have also been seen within the country's borders.

Despite these urgings the international community (sans the US unfortunately) has taken note and though no other powers are taking such bold steps as Zimbabwe's neighbors it has been revealed that Germany has received a court order to call in some debts of Zimbabwe which means that the Mugabe regime might not get the weapons, Mrs. Merkel will. According to the International Herald Tribune:

A German bank obtained a court order to impound the cargo of a Chinese ship carrying weapons for Zimbabwe as it tries to recover unpaid debts from the southern African country, officials said Tuesday.

But KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH, a subsidiary of Germany's state-owned KfW development bank, was unaware that the An Yue Jiang was carrying arms when it obtained the order from a South African court last week, spokeswoman Dela Strumpf said.

On Thursday, KfW IPEX-Bank obtained an court order in Durban, South Africa, to impound the ship's Zimbabwean-owned cargo because the Zimbabwean government still owes the German bank about €40 million (US$63 million at current rates), Strumpf said.

"We did not know at any time that the ship was carrying weapons," Strumpf said. "We would have never accepted weapons."

(Yeah Right!) Let's hope that one day the American Government will wake up and decide to do something more in helping resolve the dire situation that is unfolding in Zimbabwe and in other regions like Darfur.

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