Stop supplying arms to Zim

HARARE - Reports that South Africa supplied weapons of war to Zimbabwe between April and July this year is shocking to say the least.

The military hardware, that costs the bankrupt country almost a million dollars, cannot be condoned, more so by the negotiating broker of the Global Political Agreement and facilitator to the Zimbabwe dialogue.

What does the supply of armoured vehicles, combat vehicles, military radios and teargas say to the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe?

In whose interests is South Africa acting?

We call for an immediate halt in arms supplies to Zimbabwe.

The military hardware risks inflaming an already tense political situation. We reiterate our opposition to Pretoria’s gun-running with Harare.

South Africa must not condone the further militarisation of the conflict. South Africa should simply stop supplying arms to Zimbabwe.

The supply of arms risk-escalating the conflict. We don’t want weapons, we want food. If South Africa wants to help Zimbabwe, it must help with budgetary support not arms of war.

Finance minister Tendai Biti has appealed to SA for $100 million to shore-up his 2012 spending plan.

We hope they respond positively to our request.

South Africa must impress upon the Zimbabwean leadership the urgent need for violence to stop and to create conditions for a credible dialogue and a genuine political process that meets the will of the Zimbabwean people.

We remind South Africa about its obligations as facilitator in the Zimbabwe dialogue.

That role is threatened by this unnecessary and major arms supply faux pas.

Just like the MDC, we also fear the arms were purchased from diamond revenue being illegally diverted from Marange alluvial diamond fields.

The money should have been channelled through Treasury to help improve civil servants salaries as well as buying essential drugs and improving the country’s infrastructure.

We call for a full investigation into this gun-running.

The ministry of Defence must cease and desist from purchasing any more arms.

And we agree that it is ironic that the ministry of Defence takes delivery of the arms at a time when minister Biti has taken a begging bowl to Australia, Angola and South Africa to plug a $400 million hole on the national budget.

It is of great concern that public funds are being used in this way, to fund their oppression. This is taxpayers’ money for Christ’s sake!

The arms purchase is all the more curious coming as it does ahead of a crucial referendum and a fresh election. The ministry of Defence will have to justify this odious spending, which apparently was done without Cabinet approval. - Staff Writer

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