Now Mbeki wakes up to admit deteroriating situation in Zimbabwe
Posted by African Press International on April 5, 2007
Pretoria (South Africa) President Thabo Mbeki Wednesday acknowledged that the time to find a solution to the Zimbabwe impasse was running out.
”This is a matter that all of us must approach with great seriousness because the pain that is felt by the people of Zimbabwe is the pain that we feel, and it is really our task to walk together with them to resolve the problems that they face,” Mbeki said.
Speaking at a session of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Pretoria, Mbeki said the Provincial and Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi and the director-general in the Presidency, Frank Chikane, were part of a delegation that met with Zimbabwean opposition leaders Tendai Biti, general secretary of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Welshman Ncube, general secretary of a faction that split from the MDC, on Tuesday.
Mbeki indicated that the facilitation process should be speeded up in order to ensure free and fair elections next year. “In reality, we don’t have much time, because normally those elections in Zimbabwe take place in March. So that means that Zimbabweans probably have 11 months to do everything that is necessary to ensure that those elections are free and fair and that the outcome is not contested by anybody.”
President Mbeki, who has been criticised for his “quiet diplomacy” strategy towards Zimbabwe, said he was pleased that both the ruling Zanu-PF of Zimbabwe and the opposition had welcomed the decision by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders in Tanzania last week to appoint him as a facilitator.
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