Mbeki fails Zimbabweans

Zimbabweans, and indeed many South Africans, cannot be blamed for blaming the mayhem north of our border on President Thabo Mbeki.

Zimbabweans, and indeed many South Africans, cannot be blamed for blaming the mayhem north of our border on President Thabo Mbeki.

After all, the Southern African Development Community has tasked Mbeki with stopping the rot in Zimbabwe.

Simply put, Mbeki has been asked to rein in Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

We know how Britain and the US contributed to the decay in Zim - sanctions, underhand tactics and amnesia over the Lancaster House Agreement of 1980.

Mugabe could not be a friend of the West because of his enduring position on land for Zimbabweans.

But that does not give Mugabe licence to resort to despotic means when his people cry out against the dramatic fall in expectations.

Mbeki's quiet diplomacy over the years has not yielded any tangible results.

Now the country is stuck in another rut, with Mugabe refusing to release results of the presidential elections - held a fortnight ago - that could end his rule.

Still, Mbeki says there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.

His disavowal of the extent of the HIV-Aids epidemic - he told us that he did not know anybody who was killed by Aids - should have prepared us for his response.

His role in Zimbabwe must now be seriously questioned.

He should stand up to Mugabe or retire completely from the process.

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