Zimbabwe OKs Mbeki's Mediation (But Not Intervention)
As elections draw closer, Zimbabwe's embattled government has allowed South African President Thabo Mbeki to "mediate" between Mugabe's ruling party and the main opposition group, Movement for Democratic Change. Without direct action, however, it is unclear what this "mediation" is meant to accomplish, as political activists and critics continue to be jailed.
Zimbabwe will cooperate with South African President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to mediate between the government and the opposition but would not welcome any "parallel initiatives", state media reported on Saturday.
Southern African leaders asked Mbeki in March to mediate between President Robert Mugabe's government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The request came at a meeting of regional leaders following international criticism of Harare over the arrest and beating of a group of MDC activists, including leader Morgan Tsvangirai, after attempting to hold a prayer rally in the capital.
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Joey Bimha as saying that Mugabe's government would cooperate with the Mbeki mediation.
"The government will therefore do its utmost to cooperate with President Mbeki in his efforts to carry out the mandate given to him by SADC [Southern African Development Community] and will thus not entertain any parallel initiatives, wherever they come from," Bimha said.
Bimha did not elaborate, but he appeared to be referring to recent moves by the Pan African Parliament to embark on a fact-finding mission.