Talks the only way for Zim

South African mediation in the Zimbabwean crisis is under severe attack for not doing enough to get a solution in the embattled country. The pertinent question that needs to be answered is, what is the imminent interest of those countries mounting concerted attacks against President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to find a peaceful settlement in Zimbabwe?

South African mediation in the Zimbabwean crisis is under severe attack for not doing enough to get a solution in the embattled country. The pertinent question that needs to be answered is, what is the imminent interest of those countries mounting concerted attacks against President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to find a peaceful settlement in Zimbabwe?

The solution to this crisis rests with the country's political protagonists to negotiate a settlement. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries mandated Mbeki to mediate, which the AU later supported.

Recently, first talks were held in Pretoria between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a hopeful step towards finding a permanent solution in Zimbabwe. There seems to be systematic and sustainable efforts to derail a negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe led by Mbeki. Despite the AU's efforts to have a mediation in Zimbabwe led by South Africa, the United States and United Kingdom feverishly undermine and attacked Mbeki's integrity as a mediator. Their interest does not lie in a peaceful settlement in Zimbabwe, nor do they appreciate such a move to be another South African success story in bringing political stability in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki's "quite diplomacy" has been slammed without people providing alternative solutions on how to solve the Zimbabwe impasse. Surely heckling and howling at Robert Mugabe or Morgan Tsvangirai would not help, neither would attacking president Mbeki. If anything, such actions are potent to heighten tensions between the main political rivals, which will delay the negotiation process.

Military intervention or regime change in Zimbabwe would not benefit Zimbabwe, South Africa, the region and the continent, so the only viable solution is negotiation.

Setibi Kgoale, Sekhukhune

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