Wade Heads for Harare for Possible Mediation Role (5-10-07)

SW Radio Africa (London)

NEWS
2 October 2007
Posted to the web 2 October 2007

By Henry Makiwa

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade will finally meet Robert Mugabe this month to recommend multilateral mediation by African heads of state to try to solve the political cri


sis in Zimbabwe.
Wade, revered as a beacon of democracy across Africa, made public his opinions last week that South African President Thabo Mbeki alone could not handle negotiations between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC. Wade said any mediation for Zimbabwe should bring in former colonial power Britain, which had been party to a 1979 accord on reforms to end land ownership imbalances between blacks and whites in former Rhodesia.


Wade was originally meant to pay Mugabe a state visit last month, but withdrew for undisclosed reasons. On Monday he told journalists in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, that he wanted to discuss with Mugabe how African leaders, himself included could mediate between the Zimbabwean leader and his opponents, both domestic and international.
Much scepticism has however arisen as to whether Wade should be roped into the negotiations, given his documented rivalry with the current broker, Mbeki. In June, ahead of a summit of the Group of Eight nations in Germany, he accused the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) – a brainchild of Mbeki – of wasting money and achieving nothing for the world’s poorest continent.
Wade said Nepad was proved no more than a talking shop.
“I have decided to no longer waste my time at meetings where nothing gets done,” he said at the time.
Kenya-based political commentator, Brian Kagoro, says Wade’s involvement in the ongoing negotiations between the MDC and Zanu PF might become a “dilatory process that will hinder progress”.
He said: “Negotiations are already at an advanced stage so they should allow SADC (the Southern Africa Development Community) and Mbeki to see through the process otherwise things will be slowed down and will benefit Mugabe.”
“We have already tried this forum-shopping for mediators into the Zimbabwean crisis and it hasn’t helped. We have to do everything that works to the benefit of ordinary people who are suffering. Not put Mbeki and Wade on the catwalk as if this is some beauty contest,” Kagoro added.
Wade came to power in March 2000, winning presidential elections at the fifth attempt and defeating Abdou Diouf’s Socialist Party. He ran for president four times beginning in 1978, before he was elected seven years ago.
An advocate of democratisation, Wade (80) helped to launch Nepad – the plan that aims to foster economic recovery through African-led reforms and good governance.



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