Friday, April 18, 2008

Get South Africa OUT of the Zimbabwe affair!

Here's another one the Bush administration is getting wrong. Both Shrub and Condi have called for more action by Zimbabwe's neighbors. But Zimbabwe's main neighbor, South Africa is nothing more than a Mugabe sock puppet. SA president Thabo Mbeki has consistently enabled Mugabe's tactics even saying at one point that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

Now the Mbeki government has allowed a Chinese arms shipment bound for Zimbabwe to dock at the South African port of Durban:

The South African newspaper Beeld said a copy of the ship’s cargo documentation showed it was carrying almost 3m rounds of ammunition suitable for AK-47 assault rifles. There were also reports that the shipment contained mortar bombs and rocket-propelled grenade equipment.

Police confirmed that the shipment included arms, sparking an outcry and demands from the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, for it to be impounded. The discovery comes at a sensitive time for South Africa’s government as it faces international criticism of its “quiet diplomacy” towards Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president.

Wow. It had been reported that SA would block this trans-shipment. However:

Themba Maseko, the South African government’s chief spokesman, said the authorities could not prevent the shipment reaching its destination. Mr Maseko said South Africa had to be seen to be “treading very carefully” in its relations with Zimbabwe, given its role as chief mediator between the MDC and Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF.

And of course by "treading very carefully" he means "ensuring Mugabe stays in power"!


John Thacker said...

Of course, what the US (and the UK, and the rest of Europe) really means is: "More action opposing Mugabe, the opposite of what you're doing." But there's this white guilt over colonization in Africa and Rhodesia and everything else that really, really makes the US and the West want African cover. Mugabe has long denounced any criticism as "evidence" that the MDC is merely a British-backed coup agent. But you knew that, of course.

Interestingly, it seems there's a little civil disobedience in South Africa. The transport workers union is refusing to unload the ship; in South Africa, the unions apparently despise Mugabe. Good for them.

John Thacker said...

Update: The ship has apparently left South Africa and is headed for Mozambique. Also, Mbeki has chimed in calling for election returns to be released. Seems like the union's action spooked him a bit; apparently there's also been a bit of a dispute within the ANC about it, with chairman Jacob Zuma wanting more action.

None of this means that international pressure did much, but it seems that domestic politics are causing problems for Mbeki in his snuggling up to Mugabe.