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Letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil to South Africa and the Elders – 26th November 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 26 November 2008 22:54

The dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance emerging from South Africa in the past week stabs at the heart of all those working for democracy in Zimbabwe. 

The group of three ‘Elders’ spent a couple of days in South Africa talking about Zimbabwe and say they have been shocked by what they have learnt. Where have they been for the past 10 years? Have they read nothing, heard nothing?  

Even though they were not allowed into Zimbabwe, they submitted a report to South Africa’s President Motlanthe. He says he was shocked by the report and talks about ‘quibbling over ministries’. Where has he been for the past 10 years? Has he read nothing, heard nothing? 

They say the situation is desperate – and so it is – but it is not helped by this dishonesty, hypocrisy and ignorance. They say the Zimbabwean party leaders must put aside their differences and join in a power-sharing government to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe – as if another short-sighted and deceitful agreement like the one signed in September will do anything to improve the situation.   

Contrary to the perception emerging from the talks in South Africa, the crisis in Zimbabwe is caused by Mugabe alone and is not the result of the failure to set up a power-sharing government and may well be worsened by it.  If Zimbabweans see that their democratic will is again thwarted they may well be reduced to violence. 

There is no way through for Zimbabwe until there is real power-sharing and to treat Tsvangirai as a junior partner when he won the general election last March will do nothing to help Zimbabweans. If he joins the government as a puppet nothing will change. Is this what the Elders want? South Africa clearly does, as is evidenced by the insulting letter reportedly sent to Tsvangirai by the mediator Mbeki in which he apparently complained of his links with the West. Where does Mbeki think aid and investment will come from to revive Zimbabwe? China, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba? The $30million offered by South Africa will not go far given the mendacity and greed of the Mugabe regime. 

If there is to be any real pressure for change in Zimbabwe it must be applied on the Mugabe regime.  The Botswana government sees this clearly (watch BBC Hardtalk with Phandu Skelemani, Foreign Minister of Botswana - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fw6yw/HARDtalk_Phandu_Skelemani_Foreign_Minister_of_Botswana/). The Southern African region must take its advice and isolate the regime.

 For our part the Vigil wants to see:
1.        No recognition of Mugabe’s illegitimate regime
2.        Neighbouring countries to refuse visas to members of the regime
3.        A freeze on the assets of members of the regime
4.        Tighter UN sanctions on the regime
5.        The establishment of refugee camps in countries bordering Zimbabwe where desperate Zimbabweans can seek food, medical attention, shelter and education no longer available at home.
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