Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Zealand - All eyes on South Africa

Mbeki has blown it.

If we didn’t look like arseholes before, we certainly do now.

He backed a decrepit, vile old horse and lost.

Now the world has had enough of Mad Bob and Mbeki is left dangling like a limp dick in the wind, our country’s reputation in tatters.

What is it that Mad Bob has on Mbeki?!! Mbeki’s conduct makes no sense to anybody, not even to people in his own party.

Does Mad Bob have dirt on Mbeki? Is Mbeki being blackmailed? What could explain why Mbeki stands by Mad Bob, now literally the only leader doing so?

Even African leaders of dubious character are saying enough is enough.

Drop the old sack of shit, Mbeki. Allow Zimbabwe to recover and give the people of Zim their dignity and freedom back and perhaps restore some pride back to our image.

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The New Zealand government is urging South Africa to withdraw its support from President Robert Mugabe's regime.

Thabo Mbeki, president of leading regional power South Africa, said he would encourage Mugabe and Tsvangirai to discuss the political crisis.

"From our point of view it is still necessary that the political leadership of Zimbabwe should get together and find a solution to the challenges that face Zimbabwe," said Mbeki, who is mandated by SADC to mediate between the opposition and the ruling party ZANU-PF.

President Robert Mugabe claims only God will remove him from power, he has made it clear he does not have an appetite for compromise.

There have been weeks of bloody violence and intimidation and now the man who could turn round the shattered nation, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has taken a bitter pill and pulled out of the presidential run-off, handing victory to the ruling dictatorship.

The UN is preparing for a fresh flood of refugees to spill across Zimbabwe borders and MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai would lobby the international community and African countries to put pressure on Mugabe to settle the crisis.

In the past Zimbabwe's neighbours have remained silent about the actions of the Mugabe regime, but now they are starting to speak out. Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the current SADC chairman, said it was not possible to hold a free and fair election in Zimbabwe and the run-off should be postponed "to avert a catastrophe in this region."

All eyes will be on South Africa and what role it will have to play in order to resolve the crisis. Mbeki is still hoping for diplomacy to work, but some say his policy of quiet diplomacy is timid.

"South Africa does have the ability, if it has the political will to end its economic support for Mr Mugabe and force Mr Mugabe out of power," says Professor Robert Patman, Otago University. There are also calls for direct intervention. "If Mugabe and ZANU PF don't stop the violence I think the thing to do is to allow the African Union, supported by the United Nations, bring in peacemakers," says Foreman Foto, a Zimbabwean New Zealander.

"The world must realise the gravity of the situation and move to the side of the people."

Tsvangirai withdrew from the June 27 election saying MDC supporters would be risking their lives it they cast their votes.

"The courageous people of Zimbabwe, of this country, and the people of the MDC have done everything humanly and democratically possible to deliver a new Zimbabwe and a new government," says Tsvangirai. He says a free and fair election is impossible.

Former Zimbawean High Court judge Ben Paradza, living in Wellington, can only watch in despair as the situation in his country deteriorates. "We are dealing with somebody - a leader or a president of a country who has declared war on his own people," he says. The effect of the nation's turmoil is also being felt in New Zealand.

Dr Howard Andrews brought his wife and children to Ashburton 14 years ago, leaving family and friends in Zimbabwe.

"It is only now for the first time that I'm really very worried - it seems to me the country is almost at the point of civil war," he says. Christchurch-based Mandla Dube received news of the withdrawal via text early on Monday morning. "I thought as painful as it might have been for the MDC to get to this conclusion, with all due respect, it is almost the logical conclusion because if they had proceeded they were going to legitimise an otherwise illegitimate process," Dube points out.

Andrews agrees. "There was a great euphoria when it looked like Morgan was going to win, at the same time you realise that it's a double edged sword," Andrews says.

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