ISSUES AFRICA WORLD PHILOSOPHY AFRIKAANS LEISURE GENERAL

Complete and utter Failure of Mbeki´s "Silent Diplomacy"

Taking on the Government Information Service (GCIS)

Jaco Strauss vs Mbeki´s Office
April-May 2000 E-Mail this page to a friend

Around the time the Zimbabwean Collapse started in earnest, I read a book by Judith Todd entitled 'Rhodesia'. What struck me was the fact that the back cover on 1967 Rhodesia had been as applicable to the Zimbabwe of 2000. I pointed this out in an email and copied Mbeki's Office. I publish the response of the SA Government here as well as my subsequent reply to them. Amazing to think this took place more than a decade ago and still nothing is being done about it.

It should be noted that Judith Todd remained true to her principles and in time she bacame a fierce critic of Mugabe's regime too, culminating in the loss of her Zimbabwean citizenship. In 2007 she wrote a book Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe and as I understand she is back in exile.


The Wheel has Come Full Circle

Jaco Strauss

"Judith Todd is the daughter of former Rhodesian Premier Garfield Todd and a fierce, uncompromising opponent of the (current) regime. In this highly controversial book she . . . paints a vivid eye-witness picture of the realities of life under the present regime - a government whose policies are based on naked racialism, propaganda, detention centres, restrictions, censorship, brutality, and mass hysteria - and grimly warns Britain of the terrible consequences if we continue to ignore our responsibilities."

Back cover of "Rhodesia"
Published by Panther Books
1967

Add murder, rape, disregard for property rights and the Rule of Law, homophobia; anti-Semitism, xenophobia, cronyism, nepotism and madness - and she could use this same 1967 piece to promote a book on "liberated" Zimbabwe in 2000!!!

Rather than an "African Renaissance", Zim is slipping into the Dark Ages

As you are aware Zimbabwe is on the verge of total anarchy, while our government (as indeed all African governments) remains quiet. Rather than an "African Renaissance", we're fast slipping into the Dark Ages.

Jaco Strauss

20 April 2000

Cape Town


How do you rate the views of Jaco Strauss?
Pathetic Rediculous Unclear Average Good Brilliant Unbeatable

Not yet enough votes for a realistic average ...

Reply from Govt Info Service (GCIS)

Reply from Mbeki's Office

Hilda de Jager

About a week later I received this standard email back that had been sent to a number of people critcizing Mbeki's failure to act on Zimbabwe. The short email basically referred us to a media article and I include both here.

As can be imagined no response had ever been received from the "President's Office"

- Editor


Dear Addressees.

"I have forwarded your letters to the Office of the Presidency..."
We at GCIS take note of your concern regarding the state of affairs in Zimbabwe, and have forwarded your letters to the Office of the Presidency.

In the meantime, please take note of the following SAPA report, based on an article in "Sunday Times".

Regards

Hilda de Jager

MBEKI IN SECRET DEAL WITH MUGABE

JOHANNESBURG April 22 2000 Sapa

The Sunday Times reported that Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had made behind the scene concessions to South African president Thabo Mbeki to end the illegal occupation of white-owned farms and to hold free and fair elections.

South African oppositions parties reacted with outrage on Saturday after it was reported that Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, Namibian president Sam Nujoma and Mbeki came out in support to Mugabe at a press conference at Victoria Falls summit referring to him as a "champion of the rule of law".

According to the Sunday Times, the statements were aimed at publicly committing Mugabe to sticking to the agreement.

"In a private meeting with Mbeki, Mugabe agreed to order war veterans to end their occupation of farms, hold free and fair elections and tone down his inflammatory rhetoric..."

Mbeki lobbied leaders of the US, Europe, Britain and Southern Africa to back a dramatic rescue plan for the strife torn country, which he presented to Mugabe at the summit on Friday.

In a private meeting with Mbeki, Mugabe agreed to order war veterans to end their occupation of farms, hold free and fair elections and tone down his inflammatory rhetoric.

In return, Britain has agreed to fund Mugabe's land reform programme, hundreds of millions of rands in loan finance for Zimbabwe through the International Monetary Fund are to be unlocked and South Africa will lobby international finance organisations and local businesses on its neighbour's behalf.

The deal followed a week of intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy in which Mbeki spoke by telephone to US president Bill Clinton, British prime minister Tony Blair and European Union leader Romano Prodi to get their undertaking to support land reform in Zimbabwe. The evacuation of the 10,000 illegal squatters on farms in Zimbabwe is expected to begin this week.

A delegation of Zimbabwean ministers will fly to London this week to finalise details of the deal, which will see funds pledged by Britain and others in 1988 released to the country.

Friday's deal followed a bloody week in which two farmers and two opposition supporters were killed.

Source : Sapa /cb

How do you rate the views of Hilda de Jager?
Pathetic Rediculous Unclear Average Good Brilliant Unbeatable

Not yet enough votes for a realistic average ...

Complete and Utter Failure of Mbeki´s "Silent Diplomacy"

Reply to Mbeki's Office

Jaco Strauss

Mbeki's blind naivity struck me at the time, but reading this a decade later really shows how completely out of touch Mbeki had been at the time!

I answered their mail and (of course) never heard from them again.

The criticism below was written around 11 years ago and the situation in Zimbabwe actually deteriorated quite a bit since then. Unfortunately SADC and the Mbeki and later Zuma Governments still treat Mugabe with kit gloves. As such there still cannot be optimism for any kind of "African Renaissance" any time soon...

- Editor


Thank you for taking the time to respond to my writing as well as the article you included.

I have taken note of these reports and looking back over the last two weeks, you have to agree with me that my skepticism was (and is) justified.

"farms are still being occupied, opposition activists are still being tortured, maimed and murdered ..."

Take the following paragraph in your supplied article dated 22 April as an example:

“In a private meeting with Mbeki, Mugabe agreed to order war veterans to end their occupation of farms, hold free and fair elections and tone down his inflammatory rhetoric.”
Today (2 May) the farms are still being occupied, opposition activists are still being tortured, maimed and murdered and the opposition still has no access to the state controlled electronic media.

During the Apartheid years we were frequently told that things are being done "behind the scenes" ...

During the Apartheid years we were frequently told that things are being done "behind the scenes", negotiations were taking place "behind the scenes" and criticism of the government is based on ignorance because of a lack of knowledge of what is happening "behind the scenes". This latest "behind the scenes" backslapping doesn't convince me of anything.

The Orwellian Newspeak reference to Mugabe as a "champion of the rule of law" is utterly laughable in the light of his ignoring of high court orders to stop these illegal occupations. Not only is he ignoring the courts, constitution and popular will of the electorate, but his party is actually bankrolling the destabilization campaign as well as providing its logistical support.

Mbeki must choose between the sensitivities of a madman, or an open course differentiating us from the average banana republic...

Even the most casual of observers recognize the fact that the current chaos has very little to do with the redistribution of land. In spite of all the election fraud and gerrymandering committed by his party during the referendum - that was supposed to be his pre-election trump card - he was handsomely defeated. It was clear that his party was about to be annihilated at the next general election.

His subsequent actions are merely the last desperate attempts of a power hungry third world despot, hell-bent on retaining political power, no matter what the cost. The total economic destruction of his country is a price he will gladly pay in order to steal another term in office.

The bottom line is that whatever President Mbeki is doing “behind the scenes” is not working. It is important for our government to decide quickly what is more important: The sensitivities of a madman, or an open course of action that will help foreign investors differentiate between the average banana republic and us.

Economic observers already claim that South Africa’s projected growth rate of 3.5% this year will now probably come down to 1,5%.

Quite frankly we cannot afford such diplomatic mismanagement.

Looking forward to your reply

Jaco Strauss
Cape Town
2 May 2000


How do you rate the views of Jaco Strauss?
Pathetic Rediculous Unclear Average Good Brilliant Unbeatable

Not yet enough votes for a realistic average ...


Previous Visitor Comments

Name Email Subject Location
Boedyimerino_at_mcn.mcSvDnjndiIUIP
Jeremy, You imply that there is a simple bniray division between the apologists and the Mugabe-haters. If only... In my understanding, Mugabe is a problem. Of course. He should go. But it is a great mistake to view the situation in Zim today as simply about the errors and madness and power-hunger of one man. And regarding the western media, of course, a lot of what they report represents a serious truth - the levels of violence et cetera. But most of the western media is running its reporting on Zimbabwe from an extraordinarily hypocritical stance. It is worth pondering whether the British and Americans would speak so loudly against Mr M if Chevron and BP, for example, were there pumping hundreds of barrels of oil from the ground. You cannot support the western media’s coverage of Zim without looking at its coverage of the southern African region as a whole, and IMHO, of the globe. In Angola, from where I have recently returned from a 3 month trip, people wonder why a man who has held power for 28 years is so much more of a villain than their own leader - Jose Eduardo dos Santos - who has been around for 29 years as President, heading a party that has ruled for 33 years AND also killed thousands. I think it is critical that consistency and integrity are factored into the equation when analysing the media. It’s not a pick ’n’ mix sweet parade at Woolies!Because of their lousy coverage of the continent in general, they have lost influence over Zim. Sadly. Very very sadly.

Jaco Straussfeedback_at_strauss.za.comNew functionality
I’ve now added the comment and voting functionality to this old page as well. So, please feel free to join the debate - the issue is as relevant today as it had been a decade ago. Probably now even more so!

P L E A S E   P A R T I C I P A T E

No active contact accepted
Name
E-mail Address
Subject
Comment



Previous Article Zim crisis makes mockery of African "Renaissance"
Next Article West's Racism in dealing with Africa

HOME Top Back Print E-Mail Page E-Mail us Guestbook