I HAVE always wondered what it is that makes South African president Thabo Mbeki so irrational when it comes to his dealings with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.
In the face of the most outrageous behaviour of murder, plunder, abuse of citizens, not to mention the rape of the economy, Mbeki still finds it worth his while to shield Mugabe....
“When I hear these people trying to demonise President Mugabe, I say you can’t demonise a leader of the liberation struggle and expect support from us. You are just stupid,” that was Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in April 2005.
Museveni, one of Mugabe’s staunchest supporters and who was then on a state visit to Zimbabwe, went on to say that elections were the bane of African governments and added that elections were a very bad idea that Africans should not bother with.
“Regime change does not work in Africa and Britain is responsible for some of the continent’s troubles,” he declared.
Even early this year, Museveni accepted accolades heaped on him by a fellow despot, Libyan Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Putting Museveni on the same pedestal with Mugabe, Gaddafi said leaders like Museveni and Mugabe should be allowed to rule forever....
Odinga said Mbeki should speak more strongly against what he called ‘impunity in Zimbabwe.’
“Zimbabwe is an eyesore on the African continent,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m sad that so many heads of state in Africa have remained quiet when disaster is looming in Zimbabwe.”
Odinga went further and urged Mugabe to step down.
“Seeing that many sitting presidents still drag their feet when it comes to what is happening in Zimbabwe, a group of former African presidents were signatories to a letter demanding “ an end to violence and intimidation…”.
“We are deeply troubled by the current reports of intimidation, harassment and violence,” say the leaders in an open letter published on Friday.
Some of the signatories include one time Mugabe friends and supporters like Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
It also has signatures of those who suffered in silence, like Botswana’s Ketumile Masire and his successor, Festus Mogae.
Yet were it not for the likes of Mkapa and Chissano, Mugabe might not have gone as far as he has. They are clearly partly responsible for the chaos in Zimbabwe because their support and silence as Mugabe increased his murderous reign encouraged him.
Regrettably, it was the political etiquette of African leaders in those degenerate days. But see where we are now.