Thabo Mbeki under fire for lopsided comments on Zimbabwe crisis

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South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has come under intense criticism in South Africa for publicly stating that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki who has been appointed a mediator to help resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe, made the comments during a brief visit to Harare Saturday where he met with the country’s President Robert Mugabe.

Helen Zille, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, said Sunday that hist ory would judge Mbeki harshly.

“Mbeki has shown himself to be a lame duck president at home. He has now lost the opportunity to show that he can be an effective leader in the region,” Zille said.

Mbeki’s comments followed calls by British Premier Gordon Brown, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ANC president Jacob Zuma for the immediate release of the election results.

Freedom Front Plus leader Dr. Pieter Mulder called on the National Assembly Speaker to call a special sitting to discuss the Zimbabwean crisis.

“South Africa is suffering irreparable damage on an international level as a result of Mbeki’s disappointing and short-sighted handling of the issue. Mbeki’s view that there isn’t a crisis in Zimbabwe, makes a mockery of South Africa in the eyes of the world.

“His view is short-sighted as there is absolutely no advantage for SA to attempt to uphold a totally discredited Mugabe.”

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille accused Mbeki of “using his political approach of quiet diplomacy with Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF as a thinly-veiled cover-up of what appears to be nothing less than his open support for Robert Mugabe”.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Meshoe, President of the African Christian Democratic Party Monday expressed disappointment at African leaders over the Zimbabwe crisis.

“SADC leaders, including our President Mbeki, have failed Africa and particularly the people of Zimbabwe, yet again. The ACDP finds it bizarre that they can call an emergency summit on Zimbabwe’s post-election crisis – yet conclude there is no crisis.”

He questioned why the SADC leaders spoke about a possible Presidential run-off vote when the results have not yet been announced.

“This shows their support for Robert Mugabe’s position regardless of the true voting numbers and the legality of it.

“They know the pitiful condition of the people and the nation’s economy; they know that results would have been declared immediately had Robert Mugabe won the election.

“This does not speak well for South Africa, nor for the people of any other nation in Africa, who can see they will not get help from SADC when they need it.”

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