Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, July 02, 2004

Thabo admits defeat on quiet diplomacy
Mbeki stated yesterday that his policy of quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe has been a failure. Speaking through presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo, he said that the talks between the Zanu-PF and MDC were 'too slow' and that no progress had been made on the issue.

However, Mbeki also stated that he would "press on with his diplomatic efforts in Zimbabwe despite fierce criticism, because he still believed there was no alternative to dialogue." These is a confusing sentiment. There are many political alternatives to dialogue that include simple public censure and economic pressure.

Mbeki has largely based himself as a foreign policy president, particularly in his first term, and to gain any credibility for NEPAD and his other strong foreign policy initiatives, he must take action on Zimbabwe. After his softening position on AIDS, it is the one factor in his presidency that the world still cannot understand. Struggle friends or not, a dictator is a dictator whatever the historical context, and Mbeki has to show his leadership and take action after this acknolwedgement. Will it happen? Probably not...