'Mbeki's quiet diplomacy was a choice of stability over democracy in Zimbabwe'

Former Zimbabwean finance minister Tendai Biti on Tuesday accused former president Thabo Mbeki of failing to negotiate fairly between Zanu-PF and MDC by advocating for a coalition government after the 2008 elections.

702/CapeTalk's Redi Tlhabi spoke to Biti and Zimbabwean scholar and activist, Dr Brian Raftopolous, on the recently published Mbeki letter, which addresses South Africa's policy on Zimbabwe.

President Mbeki's rationale was that given the kind of aggressive attitudes of certain western governments in other parts of the world, he didn't want to see them taking over in any kind of process.

Dr Brian Raftopolous, Zimbabwean scholar and activist

The problem with the Mbeki position and letter is that there's glaring silences. Central to the South African strategy was the question of stabilisation more than democratisation in Zimbabwe.

Dr Brian Raftopolus, Zimbabwean scholar and activist

Listen to the conversation below:

Within the mediation process, there was a huge silence around the manner in which Zanu-PF blocked the reform agenda even under the global political agreement and the violence of the 2000s.

Dr Brian Raftoppolus, Zimbabwean scholar and activist

In the case of Zimbabwe, the policy of quiet diplomacy was a disaster. If you want proof that it was a disaster you just have to look at Zimbabwe now.

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's former finance minister

Quiet diplomacy meant a preference for stability over democracy... The energy should have been focused on setting conditions to allow for free and fair elections.

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's former finance minister

The MDC won the 2008 elections fair and clean, there was no need for a run-off... How can you go for a run-off when presidential results were not out?

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's former finance minister

Mbeki wanted President Mugabe to have a second chance. Mugabe knew he would win because he was going to unleash violence on the people.

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's former finance minister

This article first appeared on 702 : 'Mbeki's quiet diplomacy was a choice of stability over democracy in Zimbabwe'


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