Mbeki’s intervention self-serving

OPINION – President Thabo Mbeki’s latest attempt to get Zimbabwe negotiations back on track smacks of self-serving desperation — an attempt to salvage a bloodstained legacy and ensure an easy exit for the murderous tyrant he seems quite happy to consider a friend.

Mbeki as a mediator has no credibility anyway: his antipathy towards the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader is well known — as is his implicit support for Robert Mugabe and the brutal suppression of democratic will and political dissent that has accompanied the dictator’s systematic destruction of a once-prosperous nation.

It was inevitable that these farcical negotiations between Zanu (PF) and the MDC would flop, because the former has been — and continues to be — extremely reluctant to relinquish its iron-fisted grip on the Zimbabwean people and, of course, all the perks that comes from the wanton pillaging of the state.

Had the South African government even a shred of integrity — or conviction that human rights and a sustainable democracy are sacrosanct — it would have condemned our neighbour government’s behaviour a long time ago.

But its willingness to support an illegitimate regime — financially and politically — and give the thumbs up to the sham elections of the past eight years has meant that SA and Mbeki are complicit in the Zimbabwean catastrophe.

It is not too late for Mbeki to redeem himself (a little).

He could do this if he were to stand up and denounce Mugabe and do everything in his power — such as imposing smart sanctions — to ensure that the results of the March 29 elections are respected and acted upon.

The Zimbabwean people deserve nothing less. But, of course, that will never happen and their unnecessary suffering will continue, until the inevitable collapse of Mugabe’s crumbling regime.