Mbeki in mysterious visit

HARARE - Former South African president Thabo Mbeki — who brokered unity government talks in 2008 — on Monday quietly jetted into the country on a private visit to meet with President Robert Mugabe.

His visit has fuelled speculation that the politician, who served as the second post-apartheid president of South Africa from June 1999 to September 2008, could be in Harare to persuade Mugabe to resolve the thorny succession issue.

Mbeki’s visit comes on the backdrop of serious factional fights in Zanu PF, which have sucked in the military, amid concerns that the wrangles could boil over and threaten internal and regional peace.

Several reports, including one produced by a United States-based political think-tank, have already warned of the possibility of bloodshed over Mugabe’s succession.

Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, confirmed to the Daily News that Mbeki had indeed met his boss, but declined to disclose details of their discussions.

He said: “It was a private visit and it was at his (Mbeki) request. Yes, he met the president”.

While confirming Mbeki’s visit, Mphakama Mbete, the South African ambassador to Zimbabwe, yesterday said it was Mugabe who extended the invitation to the former African National Congress (ANC) leader.

“He is here on a visit at the invitation of president Mugabe to meet him. This is a business visit but more private, really. You may recall when the former president of Botswana passed on, around that time president Mugabe indicated that he would be meeting (former) president Mbeki to discuss various things such as how former liberation movements have evolved,” said Mbete.

Sir Ketumile Masire, the former president of Botswana, died last month at the age of 91.

Mbeki and Mugabe were part of the high-profile figures who attended his funeral.

Asked whether the two leaders would discuss the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe, Mbete, retorted “of course”.

“By definition, such a discussion will take place in exchange of ideas between South Africa and Zimbabwe. The meeting is to exchange views. Remember they worked together during the global political agreement talks between the ruling party and some opposition (parties). They have not met in a long time and president Mugabe felt it was important that they meet to discuss issues,” said Mbete.

Mbeki, who continues to divide opinion in Zimbabwe following his controversial role in negotiating the geopolitical agreement of 2008 between Zanu PF and two formations of the MDC, received five-star treatment upon touching down at the Harare International Airport on Monday.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti, who was one of the negotiators of the global political agreement (GPA) in 2008, which the MDC said favoured Zanu PF, yesterday poured scorn at Mbeki’s visit on his Twitter handle.

Biti now leads the People’s Democratic Party after breaking ranks with Morgan Tsvangirai — leader of the main MDC party.

“President Mbeki, what are you doing in Harare today? Stop subjective meddling in an irredeemable sewer. Quiet diplomacy is constructive engagement,” said Biti.

Since his involvement in the coalition talks in 2007, Mbeki has proved to be a close confidant of Mugabe.

He recently revealed to South African media that the ANC had always kept a watchful eye on unfolding events in Zimbabwe.

In an interview with a South African radio station, Mbeki said even prior to the government of national unity (GNU) between Mugabe and the MDC formations led by Tsvangirai, who was the Prime Minister, and Arthur Mutambara, the ANC had written a critique on Zanu PF that, among other things, highlighting the rot in Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s watch.

Asked by his host if Zimbabwe was progressing as it should under Mugabe’s stewardship, Mbeki said “Zimbabwe is not where it is supposed to be, they have failed to implement the GPA”.

The MDC blamed Zanu PF for stalling the full implementation of the GPA, with the ruling party only implementing piecemeal concessions.

Asked whether the ANC had been approaching Zanu PF as a former liberation movement and not taking decisive action to save the situation — Mbeki said his views on other countries were based on non-interference.

“... Mugabe has every possibility to help himself, the first people to approach us were the MDC and the first thing they asked was the amendment of the Constitution and I had to meet president Mugabe at the airport when he was going to Malaysia or Indonesia and said to him president the MDC had engaged us, in the end we actually prepared a 40-page critique of what was happening in Zimbabwe and sent it to Zanu PF, the ANC wanted to say to Zanu PF you are doing wrong, but the document was leaked, in the context of resolving the conflict there the view we took was that it is the duty of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future,” said Mbeki.

Comments (7)

Mbeki, another useless regional leader,meeting Mugabe the cadarver.What will come out of such a meeting ? NOTHING. Nyika yedu irikutongwa nehure Grace. The question we should be asking as Zimbabweans is where are the man in Zimbabwe ? IT CAN`T !

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 2 August 2017

Its unfortunate that Mbeki has always been part of the problem and not the solution.. He did it in 2008 now his back trying to persuade 'President Mugabe ' to make Emmerson Mnangagwa his successor... In 2008 MDC won by 76% from the horses mouth'( There should have been a 'Transitional Government' in place ) not 'GNU' Emmerson is part of Zanu-pf Rot and failure.. Whose is running the country right now? 'Command Agriculture' gazetted as success but is a totally failure to national security in the 'long term' maize selling at $390 is the highest in the Sadc region. when Zambia is selling at between k50per 50kg per bag /$170 per tonne .. Zimbabwe is incurring a loss of [$120million] incl other factors... An election gimmick bound for failure in the long term- Zanu-pf will winning the 2018 election if they keep the momentum going but at (what cost?) you don't have the resources to incur such losts- Bond notes, Maize prices, Bonuses, Road Resurfacing (they know what I'm saying)..., vehicle purchases etc. is all about winning 2018 elections at all costs No country in the world has survived on its own (currency) after using the US$. The only reason why we using' bond notes' is Mismanagement and Corruption

The Watchmen - 2 August 2017

kwanzi mazimba akadzidza, ahh kudzidza chii? ndizvo zvinoita vanhu vakadzidza izvozvo? nyika yaora muchirwidzana kutonga, kuurayana nekutengesana. hazvishandi, njere dzacho hadzishandi chinhu. kutadza ku supporter tsenengamu tibvise harahwa iyo. madhara mahombe kutoshaya kuziva kut hamunzwi here kutukwa nana grace. makapata regai mutukwe, muchamama nekutukwa nemahure. Tsenengamu, Matemadanda you are our heroes so far, rambai makashinga. we are behind you......it cant, it cant

Chatikobo - 2 August 2017

Mbeki now back as G 40 Lacoste talks moderator.

Grace Jones - 2 August 2017

Chitikobo. supporting the war vets is misplaced. They were and are part of the rot, demanded payouts, invaded farms etc. They are just bitter bcz their choice being blocked otherwise they cant be trusted. Of the same tree with Zanu.

Zuze - 2 August 2017

Mbeki would have been a true champion of the African Renaissance had he managed to rein in Robert Mugabe and his Zanu Pf. In the end he failed to implement his own NEPAD. What a failure!

Cde Rusununguko Kwaedza - 3 August 2017

Mbeki came kuzomaira ma farms ne ma mines aakpihwa ne zanu pf during the time of his catastrophic quiet diplomacy.with the uncertainty in the zanu pf mafia party he wants to see if his loot will be safe when the old dictator is gone.The answer is simple Thabo,when your old friend is kicked out power which is most likely ,there won't be anything for you here in Zimbabwe.Enjoy it while it lasts.

Janana wa Bikaz - 3 August 2017

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.