27 November 2009

Mbeki out of last position

Mbeki out as facilitator of Zim power-sharing deal

Sipho Masondo, The Times, Johannesburg, 26 November 2009

Former president Thabo Mbeki's role as the facilitator of the Zimbabwean power-sharing deal is over.

President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday appointed a new facilitation team that includes his political adviser, Charles Nqakula, special envoy Mac Maharaj and international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu.

The appointments mean Mbeki will not have any role to play in mediating between the partners in the unity government headed by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Appointed by the SA Development Community as facilitator in March 2007, Mbeki has been widely criticised for being too lenient with Mugabe.

But his efforts did result in a Zimbabwe breakthrough during his last days as president last year when Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who leads a breakaway MDC group, signed the historic power-sharing deal that resulted in the formation of a "unity" government.

Even after his ousting from the presidency, Mbeki continued to play a facilitation role as the SADC's pointman.

Earlier this month, Zuma, who was asked by the SADC to step in as the new facilitator in Zimbabwe, made it clear that Mbeki's services were no longer needed by appointing a facilitation team headed by Nqakula.

Presidential spokesman Vusi Mona said: "Mbeki was mediating as head of state, he did so on behalf of South Africa. It shouldn't be confusing, Mbeki is no longer head of state. The SADC asked South Africa to mediate, and that still stands. Zuma runs the country and he is the one to determine who should mediate."

But Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said he had not spoken to the former president and did not know that his boss had been replaced.

When The Times asked him to ask Mbeki if he had been told about the move, he said: "I know he is not in a position to talk right now, he is in a meeting, and I am also in another."

From: http://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/article210878.ece


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