Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I sincerely hope that Government spokesperson Themba Maseko was speaking out of turn yesterday when he laid the blame for the current Zimbabwe situation entirely on the MDC. Maseko commented - in response to a question on the government's analysis of the antecedents of the Zimbabwe crisis - that the conflict was due to the MDC creating a 'perception' that the recent elections in Zimbabwe were not free and fair, whereas the SA government declared them as such.

This is wildly short-sighted and seemingly unseasoned commentary. There has been conflict, violence and serious human rights abuse well before the recent elections. Violence on the part of the Zanu-PF began shortly after the 1999 elections, when Mugabe embarked on his land grabs.

Even if we should consider this to be an oversight on MAseko's part, how can a creation of perception be a justifiable reason for tolerance of such torture, violence and abjuct cruelty we have seen against Zimbabwe's peoples in the past few years. It's a similar argument that allowed many Western governments with mineral or geopolitically strategic interests in the apartheid regime to justify their tolerance of its existence.

I come back again to the same point I've made previously. The people of South Africa fought with blood and lives for freedom and its moral high ground. We are currently squashing the ability for Zimbabwe's peoples to do the same. And that is surely shameful.