The Group of Eight agreed on Tuesday to tighten sanctions against Zimbabwe and press for the appointment of a special United Nations envoy.
The moves were a slap in the face of Thabo Mbeki who was appointed as mediator in Zimbabwe
Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Communities to mediate between Zimbabwe’s ruling and opposition parties.
According to reports, on Monday Mbeki was given a fierce grilling by the G8 leaders at a private meeting at which they told him they did not believe his mediation efforts were succeeding.
Mbeki, the chief mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, had been criticised in some quarters for his so-called “quiet diplomacy” towards his neighbour and for not being tough enough on Mugabe.
A number of G8 nations already have financial and travel restrictions on Mugabe and his inner circle. “We will take further steps, inter alia introducing financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for the violence,” the G8 said in statement at its summit in Japan.
The grouping of major industrial powers said Mugabe’s re-election had occurred without the necessary conditions required for a free and fair vote. “ We do not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people” reads the statement in part.
But the Mugabe regime on Tuesday said the G8 leaders’ rejection of Mugabe’s legitimacy and threats of financial measures against his regime are racist and an insult to African leaders. “They want to undermine the African Union and (South African) President Mbeki’s (mediation) efforts because they are racist, because they think only white people think better,” said Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga. “It’s an insult to African leaders,” Matonga said
Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai withdrew six days before the election because of violence by pro-Mugabe militias which the MDC said killed 103 of its supporters. Mugabe blames his opponents for the bloodshed.
The statement came as the U.N. Security Council prepared to discuss a U.S. and British-backed call to tighten a financial noose around the top echelon of Zimbabwe’s government, who could find it more difficult to move money, buy assets and travel overseas.