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Daily Archives: August 14, 2008

Zimbabwe talks break to give Tsvangirai ‘time to consider’: Mbeki


by Godfrey Marawanyika*

South African President Thabo Mbeki said yesterday talks over Zimbabwe's crisis had paused to allow opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai "time to consider", while denying claims of a deal that excludes him.
After three days spent mediating power-sharing negotiations to end Zimbabwe's political crisis, Mbeki said he remained "confident" that all three parties in the talks would find a resolution.
The talks have included Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the head of a smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara.
"We have dealt with all the elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there is disagreement on one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai had asked for time to reflect," said Mbeki.
"We have adjourned to give Morgan Tsvangirai more time to consider these matters.
"I'm quite confident they will resolve all their outstanding matters which would result in this inclusive government, and in the second instance then acting together," Mbeki told reporters.
It was not immediately clear when the parties would meet again to resume talks.
Mbeki's comments came shortly after a ruling party official said Mugabe and Mutambara's faction had reached a deal that would lead to a new government, but which did not include Tsvangirai.
Asked about whether a deal was signed, Mbeki said, "I wouldn't know about it. We are facilitating discussions among three parties."
Welshman Ncube, secretary general for Mutambara's faction, made similar comments, saying "no deal has been signed by anyone. Dialogue is still continuing."
Tsvangirai left the discussions on Tuesday evening without commenting, and officials from his party could not immediately be reached.
The opposition leader finished ahead of Mugabe in the March first round of the presidential election but boycotted the run-off in June, saying dozens of his supporters had been killed and thousands injured.
Power-sharing talks began after the rivals signed a deal on July 21 laying the framework for negotiations, leading to more than two weeks of discussions in South Africa between representatives of the three sides.
Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe over the weekend after both his government and Mugabe indicated progress in the talks, though the MDC had said little publicly about the negotiations in recent days.
Pressure had been building for the political rivals to resolve the crisis, with a summit of regional leaders set to take place in South Africa this weekend.
Mbeki is expected to brief regional leaders on the state of the Zimbabwe talks at the summit, and he said he would travel to Angola yesterday to update President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on the negotiations.
Dos Santos is chair of a security arm of the Southern African Development Community regional bloc.
Zimbabwe's crisis intensified after Mugabe's re-election in the June 27 presidential run-off, which was widely condemned as a sham.
On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called on southern African leaders to put pressure on Mugabe to end political violence in order to resolve the country's crisis.
Tsvangirai believes his first-round total gives him the right to the lion's share of power. The ruling ZANU-PF party has insisted Mugabe must be recognised as president in any deal, as he won the June vote.
Negotiations have reportedly included proposals for Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, to take on a more ceremonial role in exchange for amnesty from prosecution, with Tsvangirai being made executive prime minister.




Texas executes triple murderer

Texas Tuesday put to death a convicted murderer in its sixth execution since the start of July.
Leon Dorsey, 32, was pronounced dead at 6:27 pm Texas time (0725 Macau time yesterday) after receiving lethal injection in Huntsville State Prison, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a statement.
"Yeah, I love all y'all, I forgive all y'all. See you when you get there. Do what you are going to do," were Dorsey's last words, according to prison officials. He did not request a final meal.
Dorsey was sentenced to death for the April 1994 murder of two employees of a video store in Dallas, Texas. Dorsey forced both men, aged 20 and 26, into a back office where he shot them, then robbed the store of 392 dollars.
After bragging to his girlfriend and others about the murders, Dorsey was initially a suspect, but he did not seem to match a description of the perpetrator.
In 1998, when he was serving a 60 year sentence for murdering a 51-year-old woman during a robbery, Dorsey admitted to the double murder to police and later to a local journalist.
The two public confessions convinced a jury to sentence him to death.
"I would honestly say Leon might be the meanest man I prosecuted for the death penalty, which is a pretty strong group to shine out of," former Dallas County prosecutor Toby Shook told the Dallas Morning News.
Dorsey was incarcerated in a maximum security lockdown "reserved for the inmates who are most combative and assaultive," and committed 95 infractions during his time on death row, Texas prison officials told local press.
Dorsey's execution was the sixth since the start of July in Texas, a state that holds the US record for executions: 412 over 30 years.
Seven more prisoners are scheduled to be executed in Texas between now and the end of September, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre.
Nineteen prisoners have been put to death in the United States since the Supreme Court ruled in May that lethal injection does not violate the US Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.