While he may no longer be South African president, Thabo
Mbeki has been asked to resume his role as mediator of Zimbabwe's political
situation. The ruling ANC party recently asked Mbeki to step down before next
year's elections. The move has angered some of his supporters in the party.
reporter Delia Robertson is following the story. She spoke to English to Africa
Service reporter Joe De Capua about the request to have Mbeki resume his
is rather ironic, isn't it, that Mr. (Morgan) Tsvangirai's MDC (opposition
party) is now calling for his return. I think that they ultimately realize that
he didn't have solely the interests of (Zimbabwean president Robert) Mugabe and
his party at heart, but interests of Zimbabweans and wanted to find something
that could move the country forward. And so, perhaps that is what has
happened," she says.
few months ago, the MDC called for Mr. Mbeki's replacement as mediator. "I
think that has got a lot to do with playing politics within their own ranks and
with other political parties in the country. And I think that they were hoping
that by doing that they could somehow influence what might happen at the (power
sharing) talks. And to an extent I suppose that it worked because ultimately
there were some nuanced movements in the deal that was originally proposed to
the one that was finally signed," she says.
since Mbeki is no longer South African president, what clout would he now yield
as a mediator? Robertson says, "I think we need to remember that SADC (Southern
African Development Community) itself has called for him to remain on as
mediator. And also I have a feeling that President Motlanthe might want him to
do it, perhaps as a gesture to show that he is still in good standing in South
Africa. Because the ANC itself is starting to feel the bite, a bit of a
backlash, following its treatment of Mr. Mbeki."
As for President Mugabe's reaction to
Mbeki's possible return as mediator, Robertson says, "I do think that if he
goes back as mediator he goes back with the full support of SADC and also of
the African Union. And I do think that the African Union has made it clear, as
has the Southern African development Community, to Zimbabwe's leaders that they
want to see this matter resolved."