The new president, Kgalema Motlanthe, may sound tougher than his ever-appeasing predecessor, Thabo Mbeki. But he seems no more willing to turn the screws on his errant northern neighbour, Robert Mugabe.
Regional leaders meeting on November 9th all but kowtowed to Mr Mugabe over the terms of September’s power-sharing deal with the opposition. This was intended to arrest the country’s political and economic collapse but has foundered, particularly over who should run the interior ministry, and by extension the police. Morgan Tsvangirai, who won more votes than Mr Mugabe in the presidential poll in March, says his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should be in charge, given that the ruling ZANU-PF controls the army and intelligence organs.