Kenneth Meshoe, President of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), on Friday added his voice to the calls for South African President Thabo Mbeki to step down from mediating in the Zimbabwe crisis.
“President Mbeki was appointed to mediate in a crisis situation in Zimbabwe which he has not only failed to resolve but in which he has shown an unacceptable partiality,” he said.
“The ACDP joins over a dozen Zimbabwean civic rights groups who have sent a petition to the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria making demands that President Mbeki (should step down) from the mediation process.”
The petition said cognisant of the fact that since Mbeki’s pronouncement that there was no crisis in their country, many Zimbabweans had lost faith in his ability to remain impartial towards a resolution.
It said: “We are surprised that at the press conference after the UN Security Council meeting he denied ever having said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. Reports say that he did, in fact, say so.
“The ACDP believes it was time President Mbeki took ownership of his own mistakes rather than denying them to protect his own back.”
The petition said Zimbabwe needed, as mediator, an individual whose impartiality and credibility was not questionable and who would not be afraid to tell Mugabe where he was wrong.
Meanwhile, election officials in Zimbabwe on Saturday began recounting votes in 23 constituencies countrywide where the government claims it was cheated in last month’s disputed poll.
This follows Friday’s failure in a court bid by the opposition to stop the recount on grounds that the time limit allowed for parties to lodge complaints which might trigger recounts had elapsed since the 29 March vote.
The opposition got a combined 109 seats in the lower house of parliament, where the recounts have been ordered, compared to 97 for President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party.
Despite mounting regional and international pressure, there is no indication when the authorities will release the result of the presidential vote.
Mugabe has stopped the release of the results, claiming he was cheated. He is similarly demanding a recount. Panapress .