Mbeki's 'quiet diplomacy' lashed

HARARE - Zimbabwe's ex-Finance minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti has accused former South African president Thabo Mbeki of having failed to negotiate a fair Global Political Agreement (GPA), which ushered in Zimbabwe’s short-lived coalition government.

The fiery lawyer told South African Talk Radio Station 702 yesterday that Mbeki had seemingly been obsessed with fostering a unity government between Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after the hotly-disputed 2008 elections — in which Morgan Tsvangirai beat President Robert Mugabe — rather than helping to find a lasting solution for the country.

Biti was responding to Mbeki’s weekend opinion piece in which the ex-African National Congress (ANC) leader  — who was hounded out of office by his party comrades for his alleged “Zanufication” of his administration — attempted to explain South Africa (SA)’s so-called “quiet diplomacy” on Zimbabwe while he was in power.

“Quiet diplomacy meant a preference for stability over democracy ... The energy should have been focused on setting conditions to allow for free and fair elections,” Biti said.

“The MDC won the 2008 elections fair and clean. There was no need for a run-off ... How can you go for a run-off when presidential results were not out?

“Mbeki wanted president Mugabe to have a second chance. Mugabe knew he would win because he was going to unleash violence on the people,” he added.

Speaking on the same programme, Zimbabwean scholar and activist, Brian Raftoppolus said Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy had been a disaster.

“If you want proof that it was a disaster you just have to look at Zimbabwe now,” he said.

In the meantime, the British High Commission in SA has responded to claims by Mbeki that the United Kingdom wanted to invade Zimbabwe, saying that the troubled country’s future was for the people of Zimbabwe to decide, not Britain’s.

The former ANC leader had said in an online newsletter at the weekend that ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair had wanted to send soldiers to Harare to effect regime change, before the 2002 elections — claims he first made in an interview in 2013.

The ex-president said SA Human Settlements minister, Lindiwe Sisulu — who was then Intelligence minister — was told directly by the London and American governments that there were western plans to overthrow Mugabe.

Mbeki said it was his opposition to these plans that had led to the strong criticism of his controversial quiet diplomacy policy.

“...Sisulu had to make a number of trips to London and Washington to engage the UK and US governments on their plans for Zimbabwe, with strict instructions from our government to resist all plans to impose anything on the people of Zimbabwe, including by military means,” he said.

“Accordingly, it was not from hearsay or third parties that we acquired the knowledge about Western plans to overthrow (Mugabe), but directly from what they communicated to a representative of our government,” Mbeki — who has come under stinging attack in SA for his “lopsided” missives — wrote.

On his part, Blair has denied pressuring the then Pretoria government for help to remove Mugabe militarily.

“...Blair has long believed that Zimbabwe would be much better off without Robert Mugabe and always argued for a tougher stance against him, but he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any such military intervention,” a spokesman for the ex-Downing Street leader said in 2013.

Mbeki also suggested in his letter that London had a major part to play in Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reforms, which are widely believed to have precipitated the country’s economic collapse.

Comments (33)

Mbeki is just a stupid fool. More stupid than any other fool like Zuma. See today what he dreamt for Zimbabwe, national suffering.

dhurun'aru - 24 February 2016

Shame and shame on some of us who does not understand the story behind "Quiet Diplomacy" I am arguing all those ignorant folks insulting Thabo Mbeki to go and grab a book by the title "Eight days in September" authored by Frank Chikane. In this book, Frank took a brave and commendable step by documenting the events of the week leading up to, as well as the immediate aftermath of the removal of Thabo Mbeki as the South African President. In many respects, South Africans and Zimbabweans in general needed an insider's perspective of what happened on that fateful and frightful week when the ruling party eventually and angrily turned on one of its own. a long serving member and dedicated cadre, Thabo Mbeki who previously served as a deputy to Mandela. In actual fact, Zuma wanted Zimbabwe to burn because of ZANU PF and MDC. It is Thabo who did all the works for the Zim's GNU. Hence, Thabo creating enemies within Zuma's circles. Insiders and those in the know, knows fully well why Thabo was impeached....They wanted to see his "Quiet Diplomacy"falling apart. To me, he succeeded in the Zimbabwe's case because, Zuma wanted to see Zimbabwe burning with violence. We have short memories as stupid Africans anyway. Don't quickly jump into insulting Thabo all because you have no information. Haibo. Cdes, so far, look at the current RSA situation, the country is burning and ask all those making noise, they are regretting about Zuma's action. Ask Juju and he is on better standing of telling you the story behind the story" Ini murozvi.

Clemence Tashaya - 24 February 2016

Morgan Tsvangirai deserves more blame than anyone else for agreeing to sign that stupid GNA a move that greatly assisted Mugabe full recovery politically and otherwise. Remember, too, how Mbeki attempted the same trick on President Alassane Ouatarra of Cote D Ivoire but at least President Ouattara had the presence of mind and courage to tell Thabo Mbeki where to stick his GNU agreement,. Thabo Mbeki was always a close ally of President Mugabe something that many in the MDC failed to see and recognize much to the detriment of our country. So Tendai Biti is actually right in what he says and I applaud him for having the courage to speak up.

Mbewa - 24 February 2016

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you are entitled to that @ Clemence Tashaya. We are as Zimbabweans what we are now because of Thabo Mbeki. Thabo Mbeki once claimed on ZTV that everything was normal in Zimbabwe when people were being killed and maimed. All he needed to do was speak against violence and the un even playing ground. I don't know which information you have that we don't have. It sounds like you read this book you are yalking about and that doesn't mean the book has facts. Those are his own opinions. I don't even understand where you get this notion that Zuma wanted Zim to burn when he actually became a mediator later and continued from where Mbeki left. Could you also please expound more on South Africa burning.

Jaluo - 24 February 2016

Biti shut the hell up, u were one of the principal negotiators so why did you misled the stupid Tsvangirai to sign the agreement? We cant have a crop of leaders like you and your cronies coz u r cry babies.

Zanuyeropa - 24 February 2016

the reason why i hate the actons of mbeki is that he chose to ignore the outcome of the elections and went for rather stupid diplomacy that solidified zanu's rigging and casted it in stone when he was supposed to have called a spade a spade. he rather generalised the spade a garden tool (adapted from malema). mbeki was paid to solemnise zanu's rigging,and president Tsvangirayi was gullible to the trickery albeit Biti's fierce opposition to the notion of GNU. mbeki held numerous meeting with rhobhati in the absence of tsvangirayi,much to the chagrin of luxton and MDC. mbeki cheated on zimbabwe & tsvangirayi in broad day light. SA impeached him because he failed to mediate in a manner that would have ushered in a new lease of life for zim. A new lease of life for zim will have helped SA from the scourge of illegal immigrants that is still infesting SA today. that is the reason mbeki, or his actons, are hated home & away. he is a maggot that promoted the rot in zim for his selfish ends at the expense of both SA & zim. pasi na thabo mbeki!

SaManyika Chaiye - 24 February 2016

@zanuyeropa, kana musingaziwi zvirikuitika kana kuti zvaiitika muMDC during the talks time teererayi tikutaurureyi. luxton vehemently denied all the negotiating variables that were briught by zanu because they were favouring zanu the losers and the talks nearly broke down, only for president tsvangirayi to cinvince luxton that we needed a GNU for the sake of suffering people. luxton continued to deny the idea of GNU because he knew that MDC had beaten zanu hands down, a fact that was confirmed by the loser himself at a congress. again tsvangirayi insisted on talks because he was promised the premier's position to which luxton denied again! when luxton saw that he was not in agreement with his boss, he decided to change his position and thats when he started to push for influential ministries( remenber the stalement on who was going to take home affairs & finance etc etc). luxton once said,' when we got into the GNU I knew we were going into the sewer.' And indeed we are in a sewer thanks to mbeki's stupid diplomacy! saka ziwa zveropa renyu rekuzanu iroro wotisiya nemaleaders edu wana biti.

SaManyika Chaiye - 24 February 2016

One of the worst ills I have noted as being a major impediment is man's appetite for fleeing responsibility. In the Bible Adama replied that " it is the woman you (GOD) gave me" We do not want to take head on this very glaring fact the WHATEVER OUR SITUATION OR POSITING IN LIFE IS A RESULT OF DECESIONS AND ACTIONS WE OURSELEVES TOOK. As long as we dont take responsibility that we are the ones who lacked or acted badly we will continue to chase our own shadow..THE SITUATION THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN IS A RESULT OF DECISIONS AND ACTIONS THAT WE TOOK. to get out of the muck WENEED TO MAKE OTHER DECISIONS AND

MALI - 24 February 2016

One of the worst ills I have noted as being a major impediment is man's appetite for fleeing responsibility. In the Bible Adama replied that " it is the woman you (GOD) gave me" We do not want to take head on this very glaring fact the WHATEVER OUR SITUATION OR POSITING IN LIFE IS A RESULT OF DECESIONS AND ACTIONS WE OURSELEVES TOOK. As long as we dont take responsibility that we are the ones who lacked or acted badly we will continue to chase our own shadow..THE SITUATION THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN IS A RESULT OF DECISIONS AND ACTIONS THAT WE TOOK. to get out of the rut we are in WE NEED TO MAKE OTHER DECISIONS AND TAKE DIFFERENT ACTIONS THAN THOSE THAT landed us here. We will only ignore taking responsibility to our own peril.

MALI - 24 February 2016

Thabo Mbeki is trying to justify his quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe 8 years later. He is trying to justify the unjustifiable. What sucks most Zimbabweans is that Mbeki knows that in 2008 Mugabe lost the first round Presidential elections outright. Mbeki having waited for 5 weeks for those elections to be announced he connived with Mugabe and manipulated the election results to create a run off where there was none. Even Mugabe is hounded with that cheating such that he mistakenly hinted 2014 that Morgan Tsvangirai had won those elections in 2008 with 73%. Thabo Mbeki created a monster in Zimbabwe and must take responsibility for the economic mess in Zimbabwe today. The lie and chicanery Mbeki played in 2008 is still hounding him 8 years later and that is why he cannot make sleeping dogs lie.The guilty are always afraid!

Peter - 24 February 2016

@mali, our responsility in the matter under review was to vote, of which we did. the vote was disputed after we had discharged our responsibilty. in such a case a law abiding citizenry could not take matters into its own hands but welooked up to those who are charged with the governance of states, which mbeki happened to be one by that time. I think he was the SADC chair or was appointed by SADC to mediate. so it was his responsibility baba. thank you for quoting the HOLY BOOK but i thonk you quote it out of cintext here. down with mbeki; he is responsible for our woes as he convinced the international community that zim situation was ok when he was literally smuggling bob back into state house. As a man of integrity and a high office bearer, he was taken for his word by most valuable stakeholders much to the dismay of us the real beneficiaries of our crucial and potent vote at that time. because of mbeki bob was blessed and sworn in while we watched helplessly.

SaManyika Chaiye - 24 February 2016

Mbeki was just an opportunist who came to power through the legacy of his late father's contribution in the liberation of SA. He is an idiot and a political disaster and there is nowhere he could have solved the complex Zimbabwe crisis.

Ziziharinanyanga - 24 February 2016

I total agree that Mbeki created a monster in Zimbabwe, but i think the most unfortunate perspective of 2008 was that Tswangirai presented himself as the worst politician of all times. Tswangirai sold the soul of Zimbabwean people who had trusted him as their leader. I remember very well that when the so-called Global negotiations ( with Mbeki as the architect of the criminal idea), Biti was locked up in Harare Remand prison for his insistent that MDC had warn the election. I was a prison officer myself at the time and stationed at the mentioned remand section of the Harare prison complex. I was talking to Biti always when i was on shift and Biti was total opposed to this nonsensical GNU talks. He nevar supported the idea at all. Tswangirai is simply not an ideal leader when it comes to intelligence and strengths. He betrayed us all and he did it again in 2013 he will do it again in 2018. He is arrogant but not clever.

Frank Kunaka - 24 February 2016

Who doesn't know that Mugabe was beaten by Tsvangirayi despite the elections being neither free nor fair, was there any Britain or America in those polling booths? He should just keep quiet and leave us with our poverty that he helped to create. These are the same club members that protect each other while hounding their citizenry but good riddance he was recalled and almost cried when announcing his resignation

Qawe laMaqawe - 24 February 2016

Mbeki is just an idiot...its better he keeps quiet! His quiet diplomacy was a way of siding with Bob and Zanu PF. This is the truth, no matter how much he tries to sugar quote his damn quiet diplomacy....the truth will never change or be hidden...!!

HaTina - 24 February 2016

Tsvangirai as a leader was always trying to find a way to rescue his brothers and sisters.The people were suffering that's why he went into the GNU.So what is the stupidity here if a leader cares about his people.All of us since the eighties were trying and failing.So what wrong thing has Morgan failed to do?He tried everything for us risked his life by calling for a march to state house all this he meant to free us from dictatorship.So why do we blame him.If you were the ones leading you would also do the same.In truth we owe him all our support because the man put all could.He is consistent lets rally behind him.

midlands patriot - 25 February 2016

You are right midlands patriot. Tswangirai suffered for our freedom we all know that, but when the opportunity for the actual realisation of our freedom, Tswangirai weakened and failed to stand firm against that criminal Mbeki and his friends. That was the biggest ever chance for Tswangirai. He should have refused all the shenanigans by these evil people and declared his readiness to rule, full stop. Yes, they would have increased their brutality against the people but at last, even the docile world was going to come to our rescue, rather than what we are having now. What was needed under those circumstances was a strong and resilient leader who just stood by peoples' mandate, full stop. Indeed Mbeki should live the rest of his life knowing that he annihilated Zimbabwean people's chance to free themselves from evil. He deliberately chose to side with evil so as to perpetuate people's suffering. Thanks to the entire world because, except Botswana, they all listened to Mbeki's lies.

Frank kunaka - 25 February 2016

It's clear Mbeki was getting paid big bucks for the worst crime ever.....I wonder if he has a conscience. Ian Khama Seretse Khama is the man, that's why mugabe hates him with a passion.

misty - 25 February 2016

kkkkkkkkk Poor mbiti better keep quiet.

mhofu - 25 February 2016

It is amazing that the same Tendai Biti who enjoyed the fruits of the GNU is the one coming out in the open to try and convince people what a disgrace the GNU was. Tendai Biti is now acknowledging how rotten the same fruits he enjoyed were. The MDC completely forgot about the people when they were in the GNU. The question is,, why is Biti trying to blame Mbeki for his own shortcomings (why did he and the MDC sign or be part of the Global Political Agreement). Biti is just a greedy and selfish individual. You thought you were going to be the President of Zim kkkkkkk. Biti your time is up, Zim needs young blood and energetic people to takeover and drive the country forward, Biti is as rotten as everyone in ZANU PF

Yago - 25 February 2016

Mr Biti you failed the people and you were there in the GNU and ate, drank and drove first class cars. Mbeki has nothing to do with your failures. you attack every politician who does not think like you. We need people who are selfless not you. you failed to protect people's wishes

batsiranayi ngugama - 25 February 2016

Mr Biti you failed the people and you were there in the GNU and ate, drank and drove first class cars. Mbeki has nothing to do with your failures. you attack every politician who does not think like you. We need people who are selfless not you. you failed to protect people's wishes

batsiranayi ngugama - 25 February 2016

Mr Biti you failed the people and you were there in the GNU and ate, drank and drove first class cars. Mbeki has nothing to do with your failures. you attack every politician who does not think like you. We need people who are selfless not you. you failed to protect people's wishes

batsiranayi ngugama - 25 February 2016

Former President Thabo Mbeki shall always remain a great African statesman and intellectual

Biggie Taapatsi - 25 February 2016

Biggie,to idiots like you,Mbeki shall always remain a great African statesman and intellectual.

Nduna - 26 February 2016

If Mbeki is a true statesman, South Africans would not have dragged him kicking out of power. He is simply a criminal not a statesman. he owes Zimbabwean people their freedom.

Frank kunaka - 26 February 2016

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