Monday, July 11, 2005

Mugabe, Tsvangirai to end stalemate

After last week's AU summit in Libya Southern African is rife with rumors that Zimbabwean strongman, Robert Mugabe is headed to the negotiating table with his arch rival Morgan Tsvangirai something he's said he woudn't do. What's even more interesting is that this unexpected change of stance by Mugabe is attributed to Olesegun Obasanjo the Nigerian leader who failed to broker talks between the two earlier. The headlines claim that Mugabe has been "forced" into the talks.

Zimonline, the authoritative Zimbabwean news source picked up on the story over the weekend;
"Embattled President Robert Mugabe has agreed to talks with opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to find a solution to Zimbabwe’s fast deteriorating crisis.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, behind the renewed effort to pull Zimbabwe back from the brink of economic and social disaster, last week told British legislators that talks between Mugabe and Tsvangirai could be held in Zimbabwe or South Africa."

Whether the talks will be held at all remains to be seen.

Meanwhile an article in the Sunday Mirror suggests that the reason for Mbeki's reluctance on Zimbabwe is the fact that he has so much in common with his northern colleague. Pointing to the fact that both leaders face considerable "succession disputes" in their countries, the articlee points out that both leaders have recently appointed women to be vice presidents a new trend in Africa. The question both Mbeki and Mugabe have to answer, according to the article, is whether they will follow the "Nelson Mandela way."
"On the other hand, the “Nelson Mandela way”, differed from trends in the region (where incumbent leaders tried to extend their terms in office), when independent SA’s first president chose to serve just one term (1994-1999). However, he also set a precedent of handpicking a successor – Mbeki. Malawi’s Muluzi repeated the same in favour of Mutharika, Zambia’s Chiluba chose Mwanawasa and Namibia’s Nujoma did the same with Pohamba.

The question now is whether presidents Mugabe and Mbeki will resist the temptation to follow in those footsteps? Interestingly, at the inauguration of the hand-picked Mbeki, Mugabe told the South African media that while he appreciated what Mandela had done, “in Zimbabwe we believe leaders should come from the people.” Today, president Mbeki is saying exactly that. “The ‘Tsholotsho Declaration’ in Zanu PF has implications similar to the ‘Jacob Zuma saga’ in the ANC."
All the people want, what we really really want is freedom, justice, and prosperity for all.

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