Through the violent intimidation campaign that has forced the MDC to withdraw from the presidential run-off election, Robert Mugabe has effectively masterminded a coup in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has no legal mandate from the Zimbabwean people to govern, and he has made it clear that he will cling to power by any means necessary. He has shown that he will not respond positively either to mediation or quiet diplomacy.
South Africa must now use every available channel to create the conditions for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe through sustained diplomatic pressure on the Mugabe regime, and by motivating for the deployment of an AU peace-building force to Zimbabwe.
President Mbeki must immediately:
Publicly acknowledge that the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe is illegal and illegitimate;
Sever all formal diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe and withdraw all diplomatic representatives;
Impose smart sanctions on the Zanu-PF elite, including travel bans to South Africa and the freezing of all South African assets linked to Mugabe and Zanu-PF;
Lobby for the suspension of Zimbabwe from the United Nations, the African Union and the South African Development Community. Â
The international isolation of Mugabe may be the only way to effect change in that country. Furthermore, the cutting of diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe will send a strong signal to the international community that South Africa will not be party to the undermining of democracy in Zimbabwe.
The time for quiet diplomacy and negotiations has long gone. The only way to save Zimbabwe now is to apply serious pressure on Mugabe to accept the need for a genuinely free and fair election to be held under the auspices of an AU peace-building force.
If South Africa is ever to regain its international standing, then President Mbeki must admit the failure of quiet diplomacy and lead the charge to isolate Mugabe.
Lindiwe Mazibuko – 072 805 2220Post published in: Opinions