The decision last week of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to withdraw from the second-round presidential election in Zimbabwe has acted as a catalyst. Robert Mugabe, together with a compliant Electoral Commission, is determined to go ahead with the sham event, but the rest of the world, including Africa, has seen through the bluster and the bluff. Difficult though it will be, the answer lies in mediation and it is encouraging to note that Tsvangirai, even though he has had to take refuge in Harare’s Dutch embassy for fear of his life, has indicated that he is willing to engage in talks. Thabo Mbeki’s role as mediator on behalf of the South African Development Community (SADC) is now too tarnished for him to continue. A leader of the stature of Kofi Annan needs to be brought in, strongly backed by pressure on Mugabe from the entire SADC and the African Union and United Nations.