Mbeki slammed over Zimbabwe 'quiet diplomacy'
Publish date: 17 July 2017
Issue Number: 734
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Former President Thabo Mbeki has angered Zimbabwean opposition parties after he claimed that the British regime change policy on Zimbabwe was not for the benefit of the local majority but for the welfare of its 'kith and kin'. In a media interview last week, Mbeki said Britain's criticism of South Africa for its 'quiet diplomacy' towards Zimbabwe was part of Downing Street's regime change strategy on Harare. Mbeki was appointed by the SADC to broker a political deal that resulted in the formation of a unity government following disputed elections in 2008. A report on the News24 site notes that Mbeki maintained that the stance taken by South Africa on Zimbabwe during that time was to allow the country to solve its own problems. 'You still had a significant number of white people in Zimbabwe after independence. Part of the argument used by (former UK PM) Margaret Thatcher when she was against the imposition of sanctions against the (Ian) Smith regime was that "we have a lot of kith and kin in Zimbabwe. If we impose sanctions which actually work, you will then get half a M i l or quarter of Zimbabweans or whatever emigrating to England and suddenly we will be landed with a large refugee population".' MDC official Nelson Chamisa said Mbeki was diverting from the real issues affecting Zimbabwe. 'Mbeki is burying his head in the sand by ignoring the fact that the problem in Zimbabwe is Mugabe and not the British,' Chamisa is quoted in the report as saying.