Mbeki’s Zim negotiations were self-serving

This piece was written (and published on Thought Leader) before the announcement that a deal had been brokered between Zanu PF and the MDC. What remains to be seen, however, is whether or not this will truly result in Zimbabwean’s people democratic will being respected. The details that have thus far been outlined about the unity deal show it to be fragile and clumsy. Has Tsvangirai sold out? Who holds the power? Zanu PF is claiming they do, but we will only know for certain in the days and weeks to come.

President Thabo Mbeki’s latest attempt to get Zimbabwe negotiations back on track smacks of self-serving desperation — an attempt to salvage a bloodstained legacy and ensure an easy exit for the murderous tyrant he seems quite happy to consider a friend.

Mbeki as a mediator has no credibility anyway. His antipathy towards the MDC and its leader is well known — as is his implicit support of Mugabe and the brutal suppression of democratic will and political dissent that has accompanied the dictator’s systematic destruction of a once-prosperous nation.

As the suffering of the Zimbabwean people continues, with starvation salaries for those lucky enough to be employed and chronic shortages of food and medicines, it is only too clear that Mbeki has never had the best interests of the ordinary people at heart. He has nailed his unwavering support for a “liberation” elite to the mast, with devastating consequences.

It was inevitable that these farcical negotiations between Zanu-PF and the MDC would flop — because the former has been (and continues to be) extremely reluctant to relinquish its iron-fisted grip on the Zimbabwean people and, of course, all the perks that comes from the wanton pillaging of the state.

Had the South African government even a shred of integrity — or held the belief that human rights and a sustainable democracy are sacrosanct — it would have condemned the behaviour of our neighbour’s government a long time ago.

But its willingness to support an illegitimate regime financially and politically and give the thumbs-up to the sham elections of the past eight years has meant that South Africa and its president are complicit in the Zimbabwean catastrophe.

It is not too late for Mbeki to redeem himself (a little). He could do this if he were to stand up and denounce Mugabe, and do everything in his power — such as imposing smart sanctions — to ensure that the results of the March 29 elections are respected and acted upon. The Zimbabwean people deserve nothing less. But of course that will never happen, and their unnecessary suffering will continue until the inevitable collapse of Mugabe’s crumbling regime.

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