Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mbeki losing face on Zimbabwe... again.
You know you're in trouble as a negotiator when the opposition party turns on you. President Mbeki, with his Zim Chief Negotiator hat on, has been accused by MDC MP's of being "outflanked by Mugabe, who has never had any intention of relinquishing power or even a portion of it."

Personally, I think this is stating the obvious. Mbeki has backed himself into a corner with his continued tacit support for dealing with Mugabe's only through negotiated settlements, which makes it very easy for Zanu-PF to continually string him along. Settlements need consequences, and thus far, Mbeki has shown that he will enforce few consequences on Zanu-PF and Mugabe.

Thabo even seems to have bought the Zanu-PF party line on the UKs involvement in Zimbabwe's demise, which is incredibly worrying and perhaps symptomatic of his proverbial "between a rock and hard place" position.

According to leaked documents outlining what Mbeki will be presenting at the regional SADC summit this week, he will state that "the most worrisome thing is that the UK continues to deny its role as the principal protagonist in the Zimbabwean issue and is persisting with its activities to isolate Zimbabwe. None of the Western countries that have imposed the sanctions that are strangling Zimbabwe's economy have shown any willingness to lift them."

This is the exact line that Mugabe has been peddling for years as to the "real reasons" behind Zimbabwe's economic collapse. Mbeki, and astute economics scholar, clearly knows better, and his insistence on supporting such fabrication is indicative of how far removed his position on Zimbabwe is from reason.