Friday, September 12, 2008

Mbeki's quiet diplomacy bears fruit in Zimbabwe


Cast your mind back a few months to the first round of the Presidential elections in Zimbabwe. There were calls, from the usual suspects, for western military 'intervention' to topple Robert Mugabe. At the same time, South African President Thabo Mbeki was denounced as an 'appeaser' for attempting to use whatever leverage he had to broker a peaceful, negotiated solution to the crisis. Well, South Africa's much-derided president has managed to mediate a ground-breaking power-sharing deal between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition MDC.

I was an admirer of the thoughtful, pipe-smoking South African President long before he very generously quoted from an article I had written for The Guardian, in one of his regular 'Letters From the President'. Thabo Mbeki is not a man to rant and rave, but someone who gets things done in his own quiet, understated way. Had those who were calling for military intervention in Zimbabwe got their way, thousands of people would have been killed and the country would have been engulfed in a bloody civil war. As it is, thanks to the efforts of the South African President, there is now a real chance that Zimbabwe can move forward into a new and brighter era.

7 comments:

frisbee said...

Actually, the reason Mugabe agreed to a power-sharing deal has little to do with Mbeki's mainly useless and foot-dragging "quiet diplomacy" and a lot to do with the fact he was rapidly approaching a situation whereby he would no longer be able to pay his thugs to carry on doing his murderous bidding - and when that happened, it would be game over.

And this "wise and thoughtful" man you seem to admire so much has been responsible for untold thousands of deaths in South Africa thanks to his refusal to accept overwhelming evidence about the cause of AIDS and take appropriate remedial action - and his appointment of equally ignorant people in influential positions has exacerbated the problem. Or maybe this was part of his "quiet diplomacy" too?

douglasbass said...

My parents and I spent a couple of happy days in then-Rhodesia in the summer of 1970, on the way to South Africa.

Through hard work, dedication and perserverance, the tyrant Mugabe has turned a once democratic, propserous nation into a stinking violent sewer.

The reason we have this so-called power-sharing agreement is that ZANU-PF has no qualms about violence, while MDC does.

I'd like to recommend a couple of Zimbabwean blogs to your readers: Kubatana.net and This is Zimbabwe.

And amen to what frisbee said in his second paragraph...

Anonymous said...

'Had those who were calling for military intervention in Zimbabwe got their way, thousands of people would have been killed and the country would have been engulfed in a bloody civil war. '

the MDC has been calling for military intervention inZimbabwe by the US/US neocolonialists for years. Thats why the MDC is hated in Africa.

as for nameless mr frisbee:

'and a lot to do with the fact he was rapidly approaching a situation whereby he would no longer be able to pay his thugs to carry on doing his murderous bidding'

Newflash: President Mugabe and his govt dont employ thugs: thats the preference of the MDC:

Just ask Trudy Stevenson:

'MORGAN Tsvangirai was branded a "mirror image of Robert Mugabe" Monday after a band of his loyalists ambushed, then attacked Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson and her supporters in Mabvuku.

Stevenson and at least three other youths from the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara, which split with Tsvangirai's group last November, were admitted at the Avenues Clinic in Harare with severe head and body injuries following the attack.
http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/SENATE212.14368.HTML

Only thing wrong with this account is the bit about Mugabe. Mugabe is as demonised as Milosevic.

neil craig said...

I think that, since the western powers now absolutely support the rules of national sovereignty, you will find that all those newspapers & politicians wanting to intervene militarily in Zimbabwe a few months ago retroactively never held such views.

This is good because, even ignoring legality, such intervention has always worked on the assumption that politicians in Westminster & leader writers in Wapping have a better understanding of the countries to be saved than the locals & that all that is needed is to impose the values of eurocrats to bring peace. I know of nobody who has said what reforms, other than shooting the villain, would be needed - my suggestion is dividing the country in 2 on tribal lines but that is clearly not politically favoured unless wev have something to gain from doing so.

Charlie Marks said...

I am hopefull that this deal will at least allow the political violence by all sides to cease. I doubt that the sanctions regime against the country will be lessened - which is the main reason for the economic crisis facing ordinary Zimbabweans at the moment.

Let's face it, Western powers oppose Mugabe's proactive stance on land reform - they weren't bothered about him or his party when there was obedience to the IMF and the World Bank. (In fact, in the early nineties, Mugabe was touted as being the ideal towards which Mandela and Mbeki should aspire - with private, and mostly foreign, ownership of the natural and economic resources.)

The threat that Zimbabwe posed when it rejected (because of pressure from the Zimbabwean labour movement) the IMF diktats was that it might prove a good example of a nation asserting soveriegnty over international capital and implementing meaningful land reform - so sanctions were imposed to wreck the economy and show the client rulers of other states what would happen if they didn't toe the line.

The British government reneged on its promise to the people of Zimbabwe that as the former colonial power it would assist in the process of land reform. The aim of sanctions has never been regime change - how can starving people otherthrow a government? - it's collective punishment.

If, as Brown says, the government has money set aside to aid hunger and poverty in Zimbabwe - will he recognise the new coalition government and help the people?

Anonymous said...

'I think that, since the western powers now absolutely support the rules of national sovereignty,'...

sorry Neil but this statement is quite wrong. What has the US been doing since WW2 if not violating national sovereignty either using the CIA or NED: 'National Endowment for Democracy'.
Bolivia has just thrown out the american ambassador accusing him of aiding the right in Bolivia in their war against Morales.

There are many ways to violate national sovereighty, some use war, others use proxies (eg US uses ethiopia in its attack on Somalia, some use agencies like the NED, the exuse being they are promoting democracy.

Brian

Anonymous said...

douglassbass wrote:
'Through hard work, dedication and perserverance, the tyrant Mugabe has turned a once democratic, propserous nation into a stinking violent sewer.

The reason we have this so-called power-sharing agreement is that ZANU-PF has no qualms about violence, while MDC does.'
=========================
Clearly Douglas is white. He was happy in racist Rhodesia and happy in racist South Africa. He saw nothing to excite his sense of justice...all was good.

But now Zimbabwe has a black leader who does not kowtow to white UK or US, he is unhappy.

As for his remarks that MDC has qualms about violence , besides my posting of Trudy Stevensons assault by the MDC-T, we have the following:
1. 'The Movement for Democratic Change leader told 20,000 supprters at a rally on Saturday that if Mr Mugabe did not want to step down before the next elections scheduled for 2002 "we will remove you violently".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/952796.stm

2. 'Zimbabwe: MDC Unity Rocked By Intra-Party Violence'
etc

http://allafrica.com/stories/200805010333.html

David Coltart on itra party violence in the MDC:

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/senate198.14230.html

3. 'It was secretary general of Tsvangirai’s MDC faction, Tendai Biti, who warned of Kenya-style post electoral violence if Mugabe won. [3]

It was opposition principal Pius Ncube, then Archbishop of Bulawayo, who said he was “ready to lead the people, guns blazing,” to oust the Mugabe government. [4]'

http://gowans.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/violence-in-zimbabwe-and-the-mdc-and-its-social-imperialist-supporters/


MDC and esp MDC-T, led by Tsvangirai, is a agent of foreign powers: the US UK etc.

People who want to learn more, should read Stephen Gowans articles:

1. 'Negative Image: Robert Mugabe through the Lens of Western Propaganda
Filed under: Zimbabwe — gowans @ 8:24 pm
By Stephen Gowans

Leaders who have committed offenses against democracy, human rights and international law on a level far graver than the offenses Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been accused of committing, are rarely, if ever, vilified by Western government officials, the media and left intellectuals. By contrast, Robert Mugabe has been subjected to a sustained barrage of criticism, often bordering on the hysterical, for crimes that, laying aide whether they’ve been committed or not, are minor in comparison. I’ll show that an inconsistency in the treatment of Mugabe does indeed exist, and explore the reasons why. I’ll also show that there are compelling reasons to be skeptical of the case against Mugabe.
etc

http://gowans.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/negative-image-robert-mugabe-through-the-lens-of-western-propaganda/

2. Zimbabwe at War

http://gowans.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/zimbabwe-at-war/

Brian