Botswana leads the way
More African states join the protest against Mugabe
As the Zimbabwe crisis deepens, the African tradition that one country does not comment on the internal affairs of another is beginning to crumble. Yesterday saw a momentous move by our neighbouring country, Botswana. Its Vice-President, Mompati Merfahe, took the rare step of addressing Mugabe directly across the floor at the African Union (AU) conference in Egypt.
Merfahe told the Zimbabwean President that the presidential re-run vote last Friday, which Mugabe won against no opposition, had been so flawed with violence that it "did not reflect the will of the people." He demanded that Zimbabwe should, as a result, be excluded from the AU.
The Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, also urged the AU to suspend Mugabe until he allowed free and fair elections. And Sierra Leone President Ernest Koromo commented that the people of Zimbabwe had been "denied their democratic rights."
However, these three stood out from the majority of the African leaders, who instead eased their consciences on the issue by adopting a milk-and-water resolution calling for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe.
Observers in Zimbabwe are sceptical that this laudable aim can ever be achieved, especially after the Zanu-PF violence of the past few weeks.
Morgan Tsvangirai has already stated that any negotiations between his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's people would have to be on the basis of the first presidential election, which Tsvangirai won by a clear margin.
And at the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said that the crisis would be solved in the "Zimbabwean way." He also said that the West had no basis to speak about the situation, and "could go hang a thousand times."
Meanwhile the terror and persecution across Zimbabwe continues, with Mugabe's militia hunting down an ever-widening range of targets.
The western media is widely reporting than an elderly white farmer, Mike Campbell, 75, his wife and their son-in-law were badly beaten and thrown off their Harare farm on Sunday. Similar assaults and worse continue to be inflicted on black Zimbabweans on a daily basis.