Sunday, March 18, 2007
Moeletsi Mbeki Paints A Gloom Picture For Zimbabwe
I watched Moeletsi Mbeki's interview on Sky News this morning and I am afraid the picture is bleak. He starts by pointing out that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country that if any pressure was needed then it can only be exerted by the neighbouring countries i.e South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. He then points out what he conceives as the primary reason for the neighbours for not exerting pressure on Zimbabwe is mostly because they fear that their support for MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai would send a wrong message for Africa's most industrialised region. Souther Africa being the most industrialised has more people working and this has given rise to trade unionism, the trade unions using their sheer size are becoming more and more political. He cites the case of Zambia where Kenneth Kaunda was ousted by a trade union leader after 27 years in power. Therefore African leaders are reluctant to be drawn into the issue of Zimbabwe for fear that they own labour movement might oust them from power one day. Mr Mbeki argues that the influx of refugees would not make a big policy change as he acknowledged that even in South Africa, COSATU the largest umbrella labour body in whole of Africa poses a threat to South Africa's ANC led government. COSATU is only civic body together with The Church Council of Souther Africa which issued a statement concerned by what was happening in Zimbabwe. On Human Rights day in South Africa it has promised to demonstrate against South Africa's quiet diplomacy and the illegal arrest and torture of Zimbabwean's opposition and civic leaders on their way to a prayer meeting.
Mbeki having lived in Zimbabwe when he was forced to flee apartheid was there when Mugabe ordered the massacre of more than 50 000 civilians to crush Joshua Nkomo's opposition Zapu PF which later merged with Mugabe's Zanu PF. He then uses this example to say that things will get worse before they get better in Zimbabwe. Asked about the fact that The MDC President feels that last Sunday's events were a tipping point, he answers that Morgan is an optimist. He says he knows Mugabe personally and know that he has an appetite for violence and will continue to exert brutal violence to stop regime change in Zimbabwe.
Mr Moeletsi Mbeki is a brother to South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, has a strong background in journalism, with a resume that includes a Nieman Fellowship and time at the BBC. He was a media consultant for the ANC in the '90s, and is currently the chairman of Endemol South Africa. He has always bee outspoken and differs on many things from his brother South Africa's president. He caused waves when he said: Africans Were Better Off During Colonial Times Than They Are Now