Zim talks: Mbeki 'must be fair'
27/05/2007 16:49 - (SA)
Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe must reflect fairness and an understanding of government and opposition alike in that country, said the Democratic Alliance on Sunday.
Reports that Mbeki had given pre-conditions to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change before the dialogue could resume were disturbing, said DA spokesman Joe Seremane.
"Unfortunately, there are no conditions given to the other side (the government), and that is unfair."
Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a mediator to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
According to Seremane, the MDC was required to accept and recognise that Robert Mugabe was the president of Zimbabwe and that he won the 2002 elections.
"Mbeki is also asking the opposition to denounce violence."
Needs even-handed approach
When that was done, an enabling environment (for mediation) could be created.
The MDC had to comply with the conditions, while the ruling Zanu-PF continued to brag about the free rein Mbeki had given to Mugabe, said Seremane.
"What Zimbabwe needs so desperately is an even-handed approach by its mediator, President Mbeki.
"Both parties must be committed to designing a new road map for democracy in Zimbabwe, and the approach to the mediation and dialogue taken by Mbeki must reflect fairness and an understanding of both sides," said Seremane.
He said it was widely known and accepted that the 2002 elections, during which Mugabe was re-elected as president of Zimbabwe, were anything but open and fair.
The MDC was engaged in a daily struggle for survival in Zimbabwe, submitted to extreme police violence, arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses.
"President Mugabe has become increasingly dictatorial and undemocratic in his reign. The number of refugees from Zimbabwe to South Africa attest to that.
'Both sides must commit'
"The situation in Zimbabwe cannot be turned around if the opposition is forced to accept and adhere to undemocratic elections and the whims of a dictatorial leader."
If Zimbabwe was to re-establish democracy, then both sides should commit to democratic principles and practice, said Seremane.
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