Is Africa beginning to stand up to Mugabe?
Nigeria is unhappy at Robert Mugabe’s continuing presidency in Zimbabwe.
The opinion of Africa’s most populous nation and its second biggest economy is hard to ignore, although some may observe Nigeria’s own presidential elections last year were not above reproach. “We express our strong displeasure at the process leading to the election and its outcome,” Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told reporters, saying any negotiations over the future shape of Zimbabwe’s government should set the flawed election process to one side.
A few hours earlier, Botswana had called on southern African nations to refuse to recognise Mugabe.
Was it coincidence or the start of a concerted push by African states dismayed at the failure of South African President Thabo Mbeki to broker a deal that would end the Zimbabwe crisis? Mbeki’s role as mediator looks ever more untenable. Today’s endorsement of his role by Robert Mugabe will hardly have helped.
Are the public statements by Nigeria and Botswana the beginning of something bigger? Will more African governments speak out? And how long can Mbeki continue as mediator?