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article imageMbeki Could Find Himself Stripped Of Being Key Mediator of Zimbabwe Crisis

By Can Tran     Jul 3, 2008 in World
As a result of what happened in Zimbabwe, South African President Thabo Mbeki could possibly be removed as the key mediator of the crisis.
At the end of it all, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF Party mobs and militiamen have stolen the elections in Zimbabwe. That’s right kiddies; Robert Mugabe still remains the president of Zimbabwe. Despite the leaders of the African nations giving condemnation towards Mugabe, they were silent when Mugabe joined them at the African Union (AU) Summit in Egypt.
It was like someone squeezed their groins so hard they couldn’t speak. The only African leader to speak out against Mugabe was Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Kenya is currently recovering from the post-election violence. Mugabe had some things to fire back at Odinga in return.
Right now, there is nothing that can be done about Mugabe stealing the election.
However, South African President Thabo Mbeki is under hot water from the international community. Mbeki has been criticized for his way of approaching the Zimbabwe crisis. As a result, Mbeki had even clashed with United States President George W. Bush several weeks back. Mbeki had sent a letter to Bush telling him to “stay out of it.” He criticized Bush for attacking Mugabe.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Party leader and former opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said Mbeki was no longer fit to be mediator. After the elections in March, Zimbabwe was plunged into chaotic violence. Members and supporters of the MDC were the victims.
Right now, the United Nations is looking for more involvement. The United States wants worldwide travel sanctions and freezing of assets for Mugabe and his supporters. Britain is contemplating possible military intervention into the country.
The African Union (AU) may play a much bigger role this time.
Ironically while Mbeki is criticized for the way he handled the crisis, South Africa has not acknowledged and recognized the reelection. Nevertheless, Mbeki is in hot water with both the UN and AU.
In the United States, there is a 12-name blacklist being circulated around. The twelve people named on the list will be slapped with sanctions. At the top of the list would be Mugabe himself as the one being responsible for the mess.
General Constantine Chiwenga is also on the list. Chiwenga is the head of the Zimbabwean Army. However, Chiwenga also runs the shadowy government agency called Joint Operations Command (JOC). Many have said that it is because of the military and JOC that Mugabe has stayed in power. Chiwenga himself said that Tsvangirai will never take power.
Chiwenga and his wife have already been slapped with travel sanctions.
George Charamba, the spokesman for Mugabe, is also listed. Recently, Charamba told the Western nations to go “hang.” After the AU meeting, Charamba snubbed the Western nations.
Mugabe could possibly end up being tried in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. But there is one major obstacle: jurisdiction. The ICC does not have any jurisdiction in the country.
It would have to be approved by the UN Security Council. However the council has been divided on the matter. It is also divided on slapping Mugabe and his supporters with further sanctions.
South Africa, Russia, China, Libya, Vietnam, and Indonesia oppose such a move. Perhaps South Africa may change its mind because Mbeki is the country’s president. Further opposition by South Africa might not be a good thing. Keep in mind that Vietnam is one-fourth into its two-year trial membership into the UN Security Council.
While China opposes it, it might not be good for it to cast a veto. If China does cast a veto, it would be added onto a list of things that can culminate into a PR nightmare for the country as it hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Right China is hurting politically and economically. China’s security arrangements for the games have made it difficult to near impossible for foreigners to enter the country. Therefore, it’s hurting business. Asides from the potential terror attacks, China is bracing itself for various protests.
There will be protests for the treatment of Tibetans. China has been criticized for its treatment of the Tibetans back in March. China received international backlash for its actions.
There will possibly be protests for the treatment of North Korean refugees. That issue came to light during the Olympic Torch relay in Seoul, South Korea.
There will be protests against China for not doing enough to stop the violence in Darfur. It has been established that China has economic control of Sudan. This is mainly due to China being Sudan’s number one buyer of oil. During the CNN Democratic Debates back in 2007, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson highlighted the connection. Hollywood director Steven Spielberg resigned his post as a creative adviser to the Olympic Games because of Darfur.
There will be the obvious protests of China’s record on human rights.
There could possibly be protests because of what has happened in Burma.
The issue of Zimbabwe could be added the list of such issues. If China gives a veto to sanctions, it could possibly hurt.
However, the AU, EU, UN, and the United States may not have to do much in the near future. While Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe, he has to deal with the economic crisis with the hyperinflation. Hyperinflation could possibly be the thing that will ultimately do Mugabe in.
More about Mbeki, Mugabe, Zimbabwe
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