Saturday, 12 April 2008
Crisis, what crisis?
South African President Thabo Mbeki has his reasons for being grateful to Robert Mugabe, the defeated Zimbabwean leader who refuses to go gracefully. After all, Harare provided his African National Congress with sanctuary during the dying days of apartheid. But there is no excuse whatsoever for his lily-livered refusal to acknowledge the will of the people of that country in his absurd statement that 'there is no crisis' in Zimbabwe. If, after a fortnight, a defeated President is refusing to allow the Electoral Commission to publish the results of the poll, what is that if not a crisis? If thugs calling themselves 'war veterans' are beating up opposition supporters for voting for the MDC, presumably with Mugabe's blessing, what is that if not a crisis? The Southern African countries reasonably want to take responsibility for the future of their region, and not be beholden to the former colonial powers. Mbeki's ANC successor Jacob Zuma, for all his own shady history, has recognised the truth about Zimbabwe. Why can Mbeki not do so? Or are we to assume that the leader of Africa's most important economy has as much understanding of the meaning of democracy as he has about his country's most debilitating disease?