Harare Cool On Senegalese President’s Proposal To Widen Crisis Talks

By Blessing Zulu

Washington - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade's suggestion that the
Zimbabwean mediation process be widened beyond South African President
Mbeki and his proposal to visit Harare soon for discussions with
Robert Mugabe have not

been met with particular enthusiasm by the
government or its opposition. Mr. Wade said Monday that more African
should be involved in the resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe and said
hoped to visit Harare in two weeks. “We should have an official
about Zimbabwe, but there is no official position and this country is
getting worse and worse,” Agence France Presse quoted Wade as telling
reporters in Dakar. “We should do something, and not say brother Mbeki
please solve the problem of Zimbabwe. He cannot solve the problem
Wade said a broadened engagement by African leaders in cooperation with
Mbeki could facilitate a rapprochement between Zimbabwe and Britain.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared recently that he will boycott the
European Union-African Union summit set for December in Lisbon is Mr.
is invited. Sources said that while Mr. Mugabe will send Mr. Mbeki a
communication expressing confidence in his mediation, he would not
the involvement of a broader cross-section of African leaders, as this
suggest Harare is in disarray. Zimbabwean government sources said
Harare was
satisfied with the process as it has been led by Mr. Mbeki, and
that if Mr. Wade traveled to Harare to press for his involvement in the
crisis resolution process he would not be welcome.

The Zimbabwean opposition also expressed some perplexity with Mr.
offer to jump into the crisis resolution process alongside Mr. Mbeki,
received his brief to mediate in March from his peers in the Southern
African Development Community. But observers said it would not be a
matter for President Mugabe to overtly snub President Wade, who exerts
strong influence within the African Union. South African Foreign
Spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa refused to comment on Wade’s criticisms of Mr.
Mbeki other than to say that Pretoria has a SADC mandate. But Wade’s
initiative found support from Zimbabwean civil society leaders
National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku, who said
Mbeki has shown he cannot solve the crisis and charged that human
violations have increased since mediation began, and that it has not
included key stakeholders. Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai told
that for now the formation wants to give Mr. Mbeki a chance. South
African-based political analyst Glen Mpani said Mr. Wade’s intervention
ill-timed as Harare has made clear it wants the matter to remain in
hands. President Mugabe firmly rebuffed United Nations
Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon last week at the U.N. General Assembly when he proposed a U.N.
humanitarian role. The country’s economy is in full collapse and more
than 4
million Zimbabweans are expected to need food assistance to fend off
hunger by early 2008. VOA

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