South African president Kgalema Motlanthe has condemned the military takeover of Guinea, saying that if coup leaders want to be seen as legitimate they must emulate Robert Mugabe by calling elections, beating and starving voters, and refusing to accept the outcome, before being given R300 million in aid by South African taxpayers.
Guinea has dominated international diplomatic discussions since last week when its corrupt and autocratic military dictatorship was overthrown by corrupt and autocratic military dictators.
The junta has vowed to move Guinea forward from the 1960s to the 1970s by changing the upholstery of government limousines and allowing army generals to grow Afros and wear more gold jewellery.
It is understood that the citizens of Guinea have not yet realised that they have a new government as Members of Parliament are still wearing the same camouflage fatigues they wore last week.
Speaking to journalists over a bowl of leftover trifle this morning, Motlanthe said it was unacceptable that African leaders still came to power by force, and urged the Guinean junta to rig elections as soon as possible.
"It's the modern way," he said, adding that if the junta was unsure how to stage a sham poll they need only look at Zimbabwe.
"As far as the South African government is concerned, Comrade Robert Mugabe did everything that was expected of him as a senior African statesman," said Motlanthe.
"If Guinea's new leaders want us and the rest of the African Union to welcome them, they also need to do some serious ballot-box stuffing in the next few days. You can't just say you're president without having done the paperwork."
He said that once the junta had imprisoned the necessary dissidents, South Africa would consider donating another R300 million in aid.
Meanwhile Motlanthe has been widely quoted in the media as calling on Israeli and Palestinian officials to negotiate a two-state solution to their conflict, and journalists used this morning's briefing to ask him to explain his comments.
Asked why he was dispensing advice to the Middle East while his government had failed so abjectly to address the unfolding crisis next door in Zimbabwe, Motlanthe said that it was "a lot easier talking about Palestine" because it was unlikely that anyone of any importance would listen to him.
"That way we as the South African government can make statements without any consequences that might adversely impact out pensions one day," he explained.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008