Mbeki Concerns Western Envoy

JOHANNESBURG – A WESTERN diplomat has expressed concerns about former president Thabo Mbeki's failure to pressure Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe over violating his public commitment to that country's power-sharing pact.

The concerns support the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) growing lack of confidence in Mbeki’s ability to take the process further. The MDC also accus es him of endorsing Mugabe’s choice of cabinet positions in his report to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) troika meeting in Swaziland this week. 

The diplomat who cannot be named, said Mbeki’s report to the troika proved he was not leaning on Mugabe to make concessions. Mugabe has assigned all key positions, including justice, defence, intelligence, police, home affairs, finance, tourism and mines, to Zanu (PF) members.

Tsvangirai has refused to compromise on finance and home affairs, which includes the police. He says that for the country to recover the MDC needs to drive the reform process, and ensure that the police restore the rule of la w.

Meanwhile, the MDC has asked the African National Congress if its president, Jacob Zuma, will take over mediation. The MDC has also pinned its hopes on President Kgalema Motlanthe. He is also SADC chairman and a central figure of the ANC and its tripartite alliance partners which has been hostile to Mugabe’s regime in the past.

Mbeki has been accused of siding with Zimbabwe’s liberation movement to the detriment of the country’s greater good.

The diplomat expressed doubt that foreign aid for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery was likely if certain key ministries were not given to the MDC. Most international funding institutions no longer trust Mugabe’s technocrats and cronies.

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculos-is and Malaria, last year rejected proposals from Zimbabwe for further grants to combat TB and malaria. Zimbabwe was seeking a total of $48,5m for malaria and $25,5m for tuberculosis over five years.

Of $32,7m approved previously, about $25m has been withheld after allegations of misappropriation of resources and theft by the ruling party surfaced.

He said Mugabe was refusing to relinquish power or negotiate a political solution or exit because there was still "enough meat on the carcass for him and his closest allies to survive a while longer". Business Day (SA)