Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What report will Mbeki present in Lusaka?

This week all southern African eyes will be on Lusaka and particular attention will be on one man, South African president, Thabo Mbeki.

Thabo Mbeki will take centre position at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government summit as he is expected to give a report back on his mediation in the Zimbabwean political and economic crisis.

A lot of regional and international hope has been placed on Mbeki mostly because he is believed to be the only man Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe will listen to and co-operate with. And, this is the reason why, in my view, it should not surprise anyone if come end of summit, no tangible progress has been announced by Mbeki.

The fact that Mugabe lends his ears to Mbeki means that Mbeki too listens to Mugabe and I am not inventing anything here because the evidence is already there. Mbeki subscribes to Mugabe’s theory that Zimbabwe’s problems have been caused and exacerbated by Britain and its western allies and Zimbabwean political puppets.

Yes, Britain historically caused problems to Zimbabwe like it did to all its other former colonies including South Africa. However, I am not willing to buy that Britain exacerbated these problems alone with its so-called allies and puppets.

If Britain played a part in the escalation of Zimbabwe’s problems, it was in cahoots with the current Zanu PF government or in reaction to actions of the Zanu PF government.

What I mean is; Britain may have played part in the land chaos in Zimbabwe, but it did not influence or sponsor the subsequent economic rot and political persecution of the opposition and civic groups.

Nevertheless, Mbeki will not be expected to initiate and force Mugabe to see reason in redrawing the constitution and redressing the current injustices perpetrated on the nation by Mugabe’s government. Mugabe simply does not want that and what Mugabe does not want, Mbeki will not push for.

This is why recently the South African president announced that the main SADC goal is to ensure “free and fair” elections next year. He makes it sound like “free and fair” is a new catch phrase in Zimbabwe or the region.

The fact is that Zimbabwe has had “free and fair” elections since independence and SADC has been one organization that has always led the way in declaring Zimbabwean polls “free and fair” despite clear and mounting evidence to the contrary.

So, I wonder whether there is a new “free and fair” that Mbeki is talking about. We all know that unless something quite dramatic happens in the remaining months until March 2008, Zimbabwe will go to the polls, Zanu PF will win and Mbeki will declare a “free and fair” election.

Already the so-called talks have been beset with problems of Mugabe refusing to have the constitution discussed and his envoys not availing themselves for meetings. Word has it that not much really has been discussed except a few house-keeping matters.

So, I can predict what Mbeki’s report will say: “Progress has been made and continues to be made.”

Life goes on.

TO READ MORE OF MY WRITING, PLEASE VISIT; www.torontosun.ca/News/Columnists/Madawo_Innocent/

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