Mbeki's future

2008-09-20 00:00

This week President Thabo Mbeki travelled from Harare to Khartoum in his increasingly prominent role as African mediator. With the African National Congress riven by factional tension, and strident attacks being made on him by alliance demagogues, the prospect of being an absent president with reason to stay away from home may have seemed attractive.

In Zimbabwe he left behind a negotiated settlement that endorsed a de facto military coup and a stolen election. During his Sudan visit, Mbeki repeated the African Union demand that the proposed indictment of President Omar el-Bashir by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity be shelved.

Exactly how many days Mbeki will remain in office is unknown. But they are numbered and rumour suggests that he might have ambitions to become another Kofi Annan, an African troubleshooter and facilitator. Given his lack of the common touch and personal warmth, a tendency to protect old political allies and his formulaic verbal responses, this role might be hard to fulfil. As mediator his approach has been low key and far too deferential to leaders with scandalous records of human rights abuse.

Mbeki once placed great emphasis on the African Renaissance project. It was greeted sceptically, but unjustifiably so as it features principles desperately needed in Africa: democratic process, entrenched civil rights, good governance and transparency. There is scant evidence to show that these have been sufficiently highlighted in Mbeki’s interventions. For a new career to be successful, he will need to take serious stock of his approach.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.