Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Written evidence submitted by Basil T Hone, USA, 23 March 2004

SOUTH AFRICA'S MBEKI AND ZIMBABWE'S MUGABE

PROLOGUE

MAY 2000

Mbeki Speech at Zimbabwe Trade Fair, 5 May 2000 (Bulawayo)

  The first time I came to this city nearly forty years ago, it was as a detainee, our group travelling to Tanganyika having been arrested by the Southern Rhodesian police who held us in a prison in the city for a number of weeks.

  Whereas the white minority regime of Southern Rhodesia wanted to deport us back to apartheid South Africa, where we would have been imprisoned for many years, members of this country's liberation movement worked hard and ensured that, instead we were sent back to the then British territory of Bechuanaland.

  I stand here today as an elected representative of the people of South Africa thanks in good measure to the fact that when the liberation movement of Zimbabwe acted practically to ensure that we too should gain our freedom.

  I am pleased to take this opportunity publicly to salute President Mugabe, the rest of the leadership and the people of Zimbabwe for what they did to ensure our liberation from apartheid tyranny.

  I mention President Mugabe specifically because I had the privilege to accompany our late President, Oliver Tambo, when he and President Mugabe discussed what Zimbabwe could do to help expedite the process towards our own emancipation.

  I can therefore say that whereas Zimbabwe's liberation fighters saved our group from imprisonment on Robben Island, liberated Zimbabwe helped the entirety of our people to break down the prison walls behind which the apartheid white minority regime held the millions of our people in bondage.

  And so here we are together in Bulawayo, during the month when all of us will celebrate Africa Day, on May 25th, with both of our countries free of the yoke of white minority rule.

  As neighbours and peoples who have shared the same Wenches in the common struggle for freedom, it is natural that we must now work together to build on the victory of the anti-colonial and anti-racist struggle.

  Both of our countries, which experienced extensive land dispossession of the indigenous majority by those who colonised our countries, are confronted by the challenge to address this colonial legacy.

CHAPTER 1

QUIET DIPLOMACY LIMITATIONS

MAY 2002

The Mail and Guardian (SA), 17 May 2002

Mbeki talks to Nordic Leaders

  Mbeki's message was that he and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo have brought Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to heel, and that NePAD's pledge of African democracy for Western economic assistance remains on course.

News24 (SA), 21 May 2002

  South Africa was not giving up on its strife-torn northern neighbour Zimbabwe, the presidency said on Tuesday. "The question of cutting diplomatic ties has not even arisen," presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo said. "It is not an issue being considered by the president [Thabo Mbeki]. We cannot turn our backs on Zimbabwe." The European Union has reportedly called on Southern African Development Community governments to refrain from "normal diplomatic relations with the Mugabe Regime."

  Khumalo said South Africa's envoy, African National Congress general secretary Kgalema Motlanthe, would continue to engage both parties. "There is no alternative to negotiations in Zimbabwe," he said. "There is no alternative to Zanu PF and the MDC working together. We will not give up on Zimbabwe. We will keep on talking and talking until we succeed, even if this takes very long."

SABC News, 28 May 2002

Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma

  "We should work towards bringing the Zimbabweans back from the brink. We should not be the ones that push them to the precipice."

The Mail and Guardian (SA), 31 May 2002

  Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel has said with regard to Zimbabwe: "They say quiet diplomacy has failed. Should we act like Ariel Sharon? Should we? Should we just go in there; kick butt; blow them up; drive over their cars; should we send in our tanks? If there are alternative solutions, let's hear what they are."

AUGUST 2002

SAPA Report, 22 August 2002

  "There can never be a policy for South Africa to replace any government.., to discuss with anybody about how to replace another government," said Pahad (Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad)

OCTOBER 2002

Sunday Times (SA) Mbeki Interview, 8 October 2002

  And when people say: Do something, we say to them: Do what? And nobody gives an answer, because they know that when they say: Do something, what they mean is march across the Limpopo and overthrow the government of President Mugabe, which we are not going to do.

  So, if that (settlement of Zimbabwe land issue under UN auspices) does not happen, beyond the interventions that we make, no one must walk in and overthrow the government.

  So, I'm saying, it is suggested that the worst crisis point in the world is Zimbabwe. It does not help us to solve the problem of Zimbabwe, because you can see that there is a particular agenda that drives that particular perception about Zimbabwe. The notion that South Africa can dictate policy to the Zimbabweans, I think people must stop cherishing that. The notion that South Africa can walk across the Limpopo and remove that government—do what President Bush calls regime change in Zimbabwe—this is not going to happen.

The Sunday Times (SA), 13 October 2002

  South Africa will not dictate policy to Zimbabwe, neither will it be "dragooned" into overthrowing President Robert Mugabe's government, President Thabo Mbeki said this week.

The Mail and Guardian (SA), 17 October 2002

  President Thabo Mbeki has reaffirmed South Africa's policy of constructive engagement towards Zimbabwe and again rejected calls to punish President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party. "We are not going to act on the Zimbabwe question with a view to punishment . . . What we have got to do is to ensure that the situation in Zimbabwe changes," he told MPs during parliamentary question time on Thursday.

  However, it was perfectly clear that there were people within South Africa who had a different objective, Mbeki said. "Other people think our task is to punish, to defeat, to crush Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF." Mbeki said the way to ensure human rights and democracy was not to crush, "but to ensure that Zimbabwe gets onto a different path". He noted that many of those calling for the "crushing" were putting the obligation on South Africa to do so. "If they want to crush, I don't know why they don't do so themselves," Mbeki said to the amusement of ANC MPs.

JANUARY 2003

ZWNEWS, 6 January 2003

  Does anyone ask why South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma fails to salute the Swazi royal family, as she recently did Mugabe's Zanu PF party as a "progressive force"?

  Zimbabwe does not need what Mbeki calls "megaphone diplomacy".

FEBRUARY 2003

The Star (SA), 3 February 2003

  Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is to introduce legislation to increase press and political freedoms in his country. This is the message President Thabo Mbeki gave British Prime Minister Tony Blair during a six-hour meeting on Saturday at Chequers, Blair's weekend residence outside London.

MARCH 2003

The Sunday Times (UK), 2 March 2003

  Last month he (Mbeki) used his presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement to steer its 115 members into giving Mugabe a unanimous vote of confidence and voting through a motion that attempted to lay blame for the "grave humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe" on drought, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The Zimbabwe Independent, 28 March 2003

  In a major rebuff to South African President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy", the government says it will not under any circumstances amend the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which it needs as its chief weapon to fight the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. After two months of speculation, mainly spawned by comments from Mbeki that Zimbabwean security legislation would be relaxed, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa on Wednesday said POSA would not be amended as it was serving a key purpose He (Mbeki) told Blair South African cabinet ministers who had visited Harare learnt of Mugabe's plans to ease political restrictions.

The Sunday Times (SA), 30 March 2003

  Mbeki said in Parliament this week that he would deal with Zimbabwe in a manner that sought to "produce results". "We're not going to deal with it in a manner that makes good headlines," he said.

MAY 2003

BBC News, 3 May 2003

  A spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki has, however, said he strongly rejected the notion that he would go to another country to bring about regime change.

The Times (UK), 5 May 2003

  While he ruled out "regime change", Mr Mbeki said last week that the key issue was to bring Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to the negotiating table, but he gave no further details of the talks' agenda.

Business Day (SA), 12 May 2003

  In a signal that President Thabo Mbeki is intent on quashing speculation that pressure is about to be applied to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, he stressed in his weekly letter on the African National Congress (ANC) website that Zimbabweans should determine their own future, and the country's problems were not the result "of a reckless political leadership".

The Daily News, 17 May 2003

  Sources told The Daily News that after the visit to Harare, Tsvangirai received an official invitation from the Malawian government, through its Foreign Affairs Ministry, to hold talks with Muluzi. They said the invitation was received last Friday morning but was cancelled on the afternoon of that day. They said on Friday afternoon, the MDC leadership received a message from the Malawian High Commission in Harare cancelling the invitation and saying that Muluzi and Mbeki were consulting on the matter. It could not be established yesterday why the Malawian and South African leaders still needed to consult over Tsvangirai's visit.

JUNE 2003

The Financial Mail (SA), 27 June 2003

  Pretoria remains unhelpful. Defense minister Misiuoa Lekota blames the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the impasse over talks, but again this is not so. The sole precondition set for negotiations was by Mugabe himself, who will not talk to the MDC unless and until it drops its court challenge to his presidential poll victory last March.

News24, 30 June 2003

  Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said on Sunday South Africa hoped to reach a common understanding with the US on Zimbabwe during the visit. He reiterated South Africa's stance that it could not impose a solution on Zimbabwe. Only the Zimbabweans themselves were able to solve their problems. Outsiders could merely assist. Pahad added: "I think all of us accept that we have to do something quickly to assist the Zimbabweans to move forward. If there are technical differences, we have to discuss them."

JULY 2003

Zimbabwe Independent, 9 July 2003

  South African President Thabo Mbeki has assured his United States counterpart George Bush that President Robert Mugabe will soon quit to make way for fresh elections, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

  Reports from Pretoria yesterday said Mbeki indicated to Bush that Mugabe has promised to give up the Zanu PF leadership in December during Zanu PF's annual national conference. A fresh presidential poll would then be held in March in tandem with a parliamentary election.

OCTOBER 2003

Foreign Minister Dlamini Nkosazana Zuma Speech regarding Africa, 25 October 2003

  The Zimbabwean problems are taking long to resolve. The Ethiopia and Eritrean situation is also fragile. A lot has been said about how South Africa should resolve the problems of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is an independent, sovereign state and not the 10th province of South Africa. We firmly believe that the Zimbabweans themselves, across party political and other divides have the responsibility to resolve their problems on the basis of the will of the people of Zimbabwe. Certainly all of us want Zimbabwe to succeed and have an obligation to help them move forward. On the primary problem of the land, we believe the redistribution of land is an attempt to correct an historic injustice and we support them in that.

JANUARY 2004The Times (UK), 23 January 2004

  Speaking at a press conference in Pretoria with Gerhard Schroeder, the German Chancellor, Mr Mbeki said that he had mediated a deal last month that had been delayed only because of the Christmas holidays. "I'm happy to say that they have agreed now that they will go into formal negotiations," the South African leader said. "I'm saying that I am quite certain that they will negotiate and reach an agreement." The announcement drew a sceptical response in Zimbabwe.

CHAPTER 2

SOUTH AFRICA AND THE COMMONWEALTH

OCTOBER 2002

Sunday Times (SA) Mbeki Interview, 8 October 2002

  The Commonwealth observer's team had a very interesting formulation—they said the outcome of the presidential election was not fully representative of the will of the people of Zimbabwe. They did not say it was unrepresentative; they said it was not fully representative because they think that some people did not get on to the voters' role and, maybe, you should have extended the time on the voting day by a few hours, or something. (Note: The Commonwealth Mission wrote: "the conditions in Zimbabwe did not adequately allow for a free expression of will by the Electors")

New York Times, 17 November 2002

  Referring to the penalties, Dr. Zuma, speaking as she stood next to Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge of Zimbabwe during the news conference in Pretoria, said, "We don't think that's a situation (Commonwealth sanctions) which should continue for a long time."

DECEMBER 2002

ZWNEWS, 26 December 2002

  President Mbeki makes much of the apparent contradictions between the Commonwealth Observer Group's report and that of the official South African observers, but makes no comment on the fact that the conclusion reached by the South African observers was solely that of the ANC and was wholly repudiated by the members from other South African parties. This piece of obfuscation is continued by Azziz Pahad.

JANUARY 2003

The Sunday Times (UK), 19 January 2003

  To Mbeki's dismay the Commonwealth observers' report made action against Mugabe inevitable. The only concession he won was that Zimbabwe's suspension from the organisation was limited to a year. Mbeki returned to South Africa making furious comments about the "white Commonwealth" and declaring that "if the decision-making process within the Commonwealth is to be informed by this kind of thinking, it is not worth maintaining the association".

MARCH 2003

The Sunday Times (SA), 30 March 2003

  "Otherwise there is no consistency and the outcome is a consequence of a political and procedural travesty," Mabuza (SA High Commissioner London) raged. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad went further to say that South Africa wanted a review of the decision. South Africa seems confident that Africa and other developing nations are willing to back Zimbabwe to the hilt, as South Africa does.

APRIL 2003

The Guardian (UK), 10 April 2003

  The Guardian has obtained a copy of the confidential report by Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth secretary general . . . The report, which was commissioned in March 2002 when Zimbabwe was first suspended from the Commonwealth, categorically refutes assertions made last month by Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, and Nigeria's leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, that the situation in Zimbabwe had improved.

SEPTEMBER 2003

ABC News Australia, 16 September 2003

  A spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki, Bheki Khumalo, says Zimbabwe should be included in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). "We are very disappointed because we don't think that excluding Zimbabwe from CHOGM in Nigeria will achieve anything," he said, "We would have hoped that Zimbabwe would have been invited to attend the meeting." Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth last year when it failed to contain political violence and intimidation.

The Times (UK), 17 September 2003

  However, Bheki Khumalo, President Mbeki's spokesman, insisted that there was nothing to be gained from barring Mr Mugabe from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja. "We want to appeal to the Australians to understand that megaphone diplomacy will not produce results," Mr Khumalo said. "Sanctions have been imposed against Zimbabwe now for a number of months with no result at all, and we don't think that using megaphone diplomacy will work."

Business Day (SA), 19 September 2003

  There was no additional sanction barring Zimbabwe from attending the Commonwealth summit to be held in Nigeria in December, President Thabo Mbeki said yesterday. Mbeki reminded the National Assembly that Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth had been for a period of a year, which had passed in March. He said the decision to suspend Zimbabwe for a year was taken within a very specific mandate. "The troika decided to impose a maximum sentence of suspension for a year and that has been served. I am not aware of any additional sanctions."

Mail and Guardian (SA), 20 September 2003

  "Our view is that the Commonwealth imposed the maximum penalty on Zimbabwe by suspending it. for one year. We do not understand this business of Australia saying that Zimbabwe [should still be] excluded. You cannot impose a specific punishment on a country and then, because you don't like it, simply decide to continue that punishment."

OCTOBER 2003

ZWNEWS, 1 October 2003

  Nigerian President Obasanjo, the Commonwealth summit host, said in an. interview Monday with allAfrica.com. That only a sea change in Zimbabwe would get Mugabe an invitation. Of the ban on the Daily News he added, "I will say that if it qualifies as a sea change at all, it is a negative sea change."

DECEMBER 2003

Mbeki article in ANC Weekly Newsletter, 12 December 2003

  During the Abuja CHOGM those accustomed to the practice of disinformation described as "spin" did everything to communicate false reports to the media. They campaigned and lobbied to ensure the continued suspension of Zimbabwe. We deliberately avoided engaging in any of these activities. We fed no stories to the media. We did not campaign. We lobbied nobody. Yet the story is put out that we lobbied, blocked agreements, and dismally failed to achieve our objectives.

CHAPTER 3

SOUTH AFRICA AND THE WEST

MAY 2002

News24 (SA), 21 May 2002

  The European Union has reportedly called on Southern African Development Community governments to refrain from "normal diplomatic relations with the Mugabe Regime."

NOVEMBER 2002

New York Times, 17 November 2002

  The South African foreign minister. Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, said it was time for Western nations to consider ending penalties they imposed on Zimbabwe for intimidating opposition party supporters, judges, journalists and white farmers, and manipulating the presidential election. "We don't think that's a situation which should continue for a long time."

  Asked whether South Africa was condoning lawlessness, Dr. Zuma said it was important to look ahead. "Even if Zimbabwe made a mistake the point is that we need to move to the future," she said.

Business Day (SA), 25 November 2002

EU: ACP at odds over exclusion of Zimbabweans

  SA delegates to the conference want the Zimbabweans to attend. Last week Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said SA would seek to have international sanctions against the beleaguered state lifted.

OCTOBER 2002

Sunday Times (Johannesburg), 13 October 2002

  In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mbeki said the West's suggestion that "the worst crisis in the world is Zimbabwe" was not helping to solve that country's problems.

CHAPTER 4

PLAYING THE RACE CARD

MAY 2002

SABC News, May 2002

  "We should work towards bringing the Zimbabweans back from the brink. We should not be the ones that push them to the precipice," Dlamini-Zuma also expressed concern about the "fast-growing right-wing trend in the developed world" that was being manifested through xenophobia, Islamaphobia and racist policies. South Africa's hosting of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to stem the tide of this rabid racism was correct, she said. "It is our hope that the international community will implement without further delays the programme adopted at the conference to push back the frontiers of racism," she said.

MAY 2003

Business Day (SA), 22 May 2003

  In his weekly letter (ANC Today, May 9-15), Mbeki incredulously claims that "(c)ontrary to what some now claim, the economic crisis currently affecting Zimbabwe did not originate from the actions of a reckless political leadership or corruption" and blames Zimbabwe's ills on abstract historical forces and economic inevitability, not on Mugabe's rotten leadership.

  No, according to Mbeki, Zimbabwe's economic decline has to do with a racist negotiated settlement with London, that" quarantined the matter of land redistribution because of agreements reached" and that "sought to counterbalance the principle of black liberation with the protection of white property, inserting into the settlement the racist notions of black majority rule and white minority rights".

JUNE 2003

SAPA News, 5 June 2003

  Last week Mbeki defended Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in an article in The Guardian in Britain entitled "Don't blame Mugabe for everything".

  Mbeki's analysis of the crisis in Zimbabwe was full of evasions and half-truths. Nowhere in his article did he ever mention abuses of human rights or the destruction of democracy. lie ignored Mugabe's virulent racism and blamed London for any "racist notions" that might exist in Zimbabwe.

SEPTEMBER 2003

The Daily Nation (Kenya), 18 September 2003

  When it comes to Zimbabwe, South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki seems determined to split the Commonwealth along racist lines by insisting that President Robert Mugabe be invited to the Club's December summit in Nigeria. This is only the latest intervention by the South African leader on behalf of the Mugabe regime. Last year Mr Mbeki attacked "white supremacists" within the Commonwealth who dared criticise the collapse of law and order in Zimbabwe.

DECEMBER 2003

Mbeki article in ANC Weekly Newsletter, 12 December 2003

  In time, and in the interest of "kith and kin" (British), the core of the challenge facing the people of Zimbabwe, as identified by the Coolum CHOGM, has disappeared from public view. Its place has been taken by the issue of human rights. Those who have achieved this miracle are not waiting passively for free institutions to evolve.

  The Sunday Independent (SA), 14 December 2003

  President Thabo Mbeki has shocked foreign diplomats and some local observers by justifying Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's forcible seizure of white farmland as "perhaps inevitable", They have also reacted with dismay to what they called Mbeki's "deeply offensive" remarks written in his weekly electronic letter in his party's website journal, ANC Today. These include the charge that Britain opposed Zimbabwe's readmission to the Commonwealth this week merely to protect its "white, settler, colonial kith and kin". And that western powers are using the demand for Mugabe to respect human rights merely as a tool for "regime change" in Zimbabwe.

CHAPTER 5

THE HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE

NOVEMBER 2002

New York Times, 17 November 2002

  Referring to the penalties, Dr. Zuma, speaking as she stood next to Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge of Zimbabwe during the news conference in Pretoria, said, "We don't think that's a situation which should continue for a long time."

  Many African officials are also suspicious of all the Western talk about human rights in Zimbabwe when there is little talk about human rights in other African countries. "In other African countries where human rights are ignored, it's business as usual," said Claude Kabema, the acting director of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. "That's why many people have failed to embrace the Western position. They see it as hypocrisy."

APRIL 2003

SABC News, 16 April 2003

Sudan and Zimbabwe escape censure at UN rights meeting

  The United Nations top human rights body rejected an European Union motion condemning abuses in Sudan today and blocked a bid to put Zimbabwe in the dock . . .

  However, African countries led by South Africa voted to prevent any further action being taken on the EU call, a similar outcome to last year.

JANUARY 2004

Mail and Guardian (SA), 5 January 2004

  But what is most revealing in Mbeki's ANC Today commentary is his resentment of any foreign policy that is driven by concern for human rights.

CHAPTER 6

THE LAND ISSUE

NOVEMBER 2001

Justin Pearce—News Online November 2001

  Instead Mr Mbeki- with the support of Namibia's Sam Nujoma and Mozambican President Joachim Chissano—affirmed his support for the land reform process in Zimbabwe, without censuring Mr Mugabe for failing to stop the violence which accompanied the seizure of land.

MAY 2002

The Guardian (UK), 31 May 2002

  He (Mbeki) declined to criticise Mr Mugabe and defended Zimbabwe's land redistribution programme as a "correction of a colonial legacy", dismissing opposition assertions that the land seizures were a cover to crush political opponents.

  "The land redistribution in Zimbabwe cannot be called an excuse," Mr Mbeki said. "To turn around and say the land redistribution is an excuse is very unfeeling. There are people in Zimbabwe who are very poor, who don't have land." He said the country's crisis was the result of a century's old wrong which Mr Mugabe had been unable to address sooner because he was constrained by a constitution imposed on him by Britain two decades ago. The solution to Zimbabwe's problems would take some time," Mr Mbeki said, `just as the solution to the Palestine problem won't take just a day."

NOVEMBER 2002

The Financial Gazette, 14 November 2002

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: Seized Farms

  "We think it would be nice to end this matter in a neater way, in a way that does not leave a sector of the Zimbabwean population bitter and that all those who lose land are compensated," she said, referring to Mugabe's land seizures. "We are looking to countries like Britain to try and assist (in compensation)." She then urged the international community to aid Zimbabwe regardless of the government's mistakes. "Even if Zimbabwe made a mistake, the point is that we need to move to the future," she said. "No one can change yesterday, no one can change today, but we can change the future."

JANUARY 2003

The Guardian (UK), 11 January 2003

  The South Africa labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, said in Zimbabwe yesterday that his country had a lot to learn from President Robert Mugabe's programme of land reform, The political opposition in South Africa denounced his remarks as "chilling". Mr Mdladlana said during a tour of farms that it was "important that black people should also own land that they till, and know how to produce food and be self-sufficient and sustainable". The South African Press Association also quoted him as saying that South Africa had a lot to learn about land reform from its neighbour. His comments were trumpeted by Zimbabwe's state press as strongly supportive of Mr Mugabe's land seizures, which are widely seen as the primary cause of the country's current famine.

DECEMBER 2003

Mbeki article in ANC Weekly Newsletter, 12 December2003

  With everything having failed to restore the land to its original owners in a peaceful manner a forcible process of land redistribution perhaps became inevitable.

CHAPTER 7

MISCELLANEOUS

ELECTIONS

MAY 2002

Business Day (SA), 31 May 2002

  The Zimbabwean authorities "inadequately adhered" to their country's laws when conducting the March 9-11 election that saw Robert Mugabe re-elected as the president, according to the SA observer mission's final report. The report which was recently submitted to President Thabo Mbeki but not yet made public also says that the will of Zimbabweans was demonstrated by the poll only "to a degree". The 50-member multi-sectoral observer mission appointed by Mbeki and headed by businessman and African National Congress member Sam Motsuenyane declared the poll "substantially free and fair" when it announced its verdict immediately after the poll. The finding was repudiated at the time by some members of the mission and other observer missions, such as the one from the European Union. After some damage control, the mission then "clarified" the report, saying it was an interim one and that other members of the mission had yet to make their input.

  A more elaborate criticism of the election lies hidden in the mission's 13 "recommendations" in which voices of dissent point out that there is an explicit acknowledgment of all the issues raised by other missions, and which led to other international observers raising questions about the credibility of the election.

  "Without these fundamentals, allegations of fraud can easily be made resulting in a situation that casts doubts and aspersions on the integrity of the elections," the report notes, concluding nevertheless that the election outcome represented "the legitimate voice of the people of Zimbabwe".

MARCH 2003

The Sunday Times (UK), 2 March 2003

  Mbeki made strenuous efforts to ensure that observers from both South Africa and the Organisation of African Unity declared the poll free and fair. Last month he used his presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement to steer its 115 members into giving Mugabe a unanimous vote of confidence.

JANUARY 2004

The Mail and Guardian (SA), 5 January 2004

  When the team's chair Sam Motsuenyane was asked why there had been insufficient polling stations in Harare, an opposition stronghold, he replied that it was an "administrative oversight".

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IN ZIMBABWE

FEBRUARY 2003

The Star (SA), 18 February 2003

  Last year Mbeki told the world Mugabe would scrap the new press restrictions. Instead Mugabe has seen to it that they are tightened and the Daily News is out of business—to the delight of our foreign minister.

MARCH 2003

The Mail and Guardian (SA), 3 March 2003

  First was Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. "But what's wrong with registering journalists?" was the bottom line of her message. Then came Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Penuell Maduna. The gist of his theme: "Why assume that registration of the media is necessarily bad?" Their mantra has been making many media people angry, because it whitewashes Zimbabwe's repression of the press via registration.

  On the contrary, its ministers are now actively defending Zimbabwe's violations of basic rights. "We accept the Aippa," says Dlamini-Zuma.

Zimbabwe Independent, 28 March 2003

  Mbeki has made a number of statements suggesting Zimbabwe would amend POSA and the Access to information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the last as recently as this week. "We have agreed with the government of Zimbabwe that they should attend to the pieces of legislation that are said to offend human rights (and) the press," he told African clerics meeting in Midrand on Monday.

TREASON TRIAL

FEBRUARY 2003

The Mail and Guardian (SA), 18 February 2003

  South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, has said Zimbabwean law should be allowed to take its course, and that it would be premature to dismiss the charges against Tsvangirai as bogus.

EPILOGUE

DECEMBER 2003

New York Times, 19 December 2003

  On Thursday, Mr. Mbeki stood solidly with Mr. Mugabe in public. Speaking to about 200 supporters of Mr. Mugabe's governing Zanu Party, Mr Mbeki emphasized their countries' history of white minority rule. "In the African Revolution, we shared the trenches together," he said, according to Zimbabwean state radio

The Sunday Independent (SA), 21 December 2003

  Mbeki said: "Our countries have shared common problems. As they shared the common problems of oppression, they share common problems today. President Mugabe can assist us to confront the problems we have in South Africa so that we can assist you to solve the problems that face Zimbabwe."

23 March 2004




 
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