South Africa's Mbeki in Zimbabwe to meet Mugabe
Mbeki arrived in the capital Harare just before 1 pm local time (1100 GMT) and was meeting with the South African ambassador, sources from both the South African and Zimbabwean governments told AFP.
Later he was to travel to the southwestern city of Bulawayo to meet with Mugabe, the sources said.
South African foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said earlier Mbeki would meet the Zimbabwean leader "in continuation of his SADC-mandated facilitation process."
The South African president, appointed to mediate Zimbabwe's crisis by the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), has often come under fire for his policy of quiet diplomacy towards the neighbouring country.
But things are not as they seem (is that any surprise given who we are dealing with?)
In the past month, there have been numerous grusome and violent attacks on foreigners in South Africa; many of whom were from Zimbabwe.
Roughly five million of the fifty million people who live in South Africa are migrants from elsewhere on the continent—Malawi, Nigeria, Congo, Mozambique, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. They came in the years since apartheid, seeking political refuge or economic opportunity or both, and their presence could be seen as a measure of South Africa’s success: the nation that once produced asylum seekers had become a place of asylum. But the banishment of white-supremacist rule did not bring an end to South Africa’s divisiveness and inequality; the terms were merely reconfigured. In the place of political violence, the nation has been plagued by one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world.
But President Mbeki just stood by and did nothing to prevent any of this happening.
Even when President Thabo Mbeki, who sat silently by during the first ten days of the pogroms, called out the Army, the violence continued, and once again the photographs of the confrontations recalled the township showdowns of yore: uniformed sharpshooters firing into the throng, albeit with rubber bullets.
So some three million people have fled Mugabe's regime, only to be met with violence and death in their place of refuge.
In fact, even as they are hounded in the streets of South Africa, more of their compatriots are risking their lives to escape Zimbabwe and join them.
Now it seems, Mbeki is fighting back, although he doens't really have a leg to stand on. Some critics are critical of Mbeki actually making a difference. The following is a post from the satirical website 'Hayibo.com'.
Flanked by the Pahad brothers, a selection of ministers, Presidency spokesmen and a soft toy given to him by Robert Mugabe as a Valentine's present last year, Mbeki told the nation's media that he had "less than nothing to be accountable for".
"To those who say I should have handled the xenophobia crisis better, or should have led the fight against HIV-Aids instead of obstructing it, or should have taken a firm stand against Mugabe instead of holding hands with him in French pavement cafes, or should have fought poverty instead of buying weapons, or should have unified the ANC instead of heading clandestine witch-hunts against political opponents, or should have spent more time worrying about the African Dark Ages than banging on about the African Renaissance, I say to those people: stop being such assholes.
"Contrary to what my critics insist, I have never been briefed on anything, of any sort, regarding claims or actions concerning any sort of thing, about anything, in connection with what-have-you, ever, at any time, at all.
"Likewise I have never been told anything by anyone connected to any person involved with any other people, ever.