Thursday, December 18, 2008

South Africa Continues to Stand With Zimbabwe at the United Nations

South Africa: Country Blocks UN Motion On Zimbabwe

Violet Gonda
16 December 2008

Despite thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing the cholera infested country to neighbouring countries and the crippling economic and human rights crisis, South Africa has done it again and blocked a motion to allow the United Nations to get a consensus on how to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis.

A closed-door session on the country by the UN Security Council on Monday ended with South Africa and Russia going against a motion to censure Robert Mugabe.

This was the first discussion on Zimbabwe by the Security Council since July, when South Africa and others vetoed an attempt by western countries to impose UN targeted sanctions on the Mugabe regime. They claimed the crisis in Zimbabwe was an internal matter

The group known as the Elders, who had been refused entry into Zimbabwe, had also been invited to physically present a report, but disappointingly they declined because 'they wanted to preserve their independence from the Security Council'. They sent a written report. However the UK Times newspaper reports an insider saying South Africa had discouraged their attendance.

Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, is quoted saying: "Despite our continued efforts, I unfortunately have to conclude that neither the government nor the mediator welcomes a UN role."

Political analysts say although shocking, this latest development is not surprising.

Alex Magaisa said a resolution would have shown an acknowledgement by the UN that there is a fundamental problem that needed to be dealt with in Zimbabwe.

He said many had high hopes when Thabo Mbeki left the South African Presidency and Kgalema Motlanthe came in, but it appears the new South African leadership has the same attitude towards Zimbabwe. This is in spite of the neighbouring country declaring a disaster zone on the border with Zimbabwe.

Magaisa believes that while international pressure is a help, Zimbabweans themselves will have to be seen to be at the forefront of their own liberation and that obligation falls on the MDC.

But the analyst said it is obvious that the options for the MDC are very limited.

So far the MDC has only said pressure must be put on the Mugabe regime to negotiate an equitable power sharing agreement, but there are growing calls for the party to pursue other options as dialogue is clearly failing and abductions and violence against civic society and the MDC is again on the increase.

There is still no news on the whereabouts of any of the 23 activists abducted in the last seven weeks.

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