Thursday, June 23, 2005

Don't buy South African to protest against Mbeki

Zimvigil, the UK based civil action group specializing in protesting that country's forced repatriation of Zimbabwean aslyum seekers, is encouraging it's supporters to boycott all things South African. The group is taking the stance to draw the attention of Thabo Mbeki who's perceived by many as having the capabilities to shut Mugabe down in hours. Mbeki has stalled mantaining that his "quiet diplomacy" is the best approach to the Zim crisis.

This from The Zimbabwean,

" In a controversial move driven by desperation, Zimbabwean exiles and human rights campaigners in the UK are to launch a campaign to boycott South African products because of President Mbeki’s support of the Mugabe regime. The campaign is organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for nearly three years in support of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. `

South African fruit is to be trampled into the pavement and South African wine poured down the gutter at a demonstration on July 4 outside the Guildhall in the historic heart of the City of London. The occasion is a one-day meeting there organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. NEPAD, as it is known, is largely a Mbeki idea and is aimed at boosting investment and aid in Africa. In return it promises good governance.

“We support NEPAD and by his sacking of Vice-President Zuma, Mbeki has shown he is serious about good governance”, said a representative of the Vigil. “But why doesn’t he openly condemn Mugabe? The sale of military equipment to Zimbabwe is the last straw” – referring to the supply by South Africa of spare parts for helicopters which have been involved in the recent devastation of the homes and businesses of the poor in Zimbabwean cities and towns.

The Vigil spokesperson said, “We had been debating the question of a boycott against South Africa for a long time. We wanted to draw on the resonance of the anti-apartheid protest but were worried that our problem with Mbeki’s policy might be seen as an attack on our brothers and sisters in South Africa. Then came the new arms sales directly related to civil control and everyone said ‘what else can we do?"

The announcement comes on the heels of calls by Labor MP Kate Hoey to ban Mbeki from the G8 summit and criticizm of Mbeki by the British foreign secretary Jack Straw.

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