Sunday, July 27, 2008


Well, the big stories for us are Zimbabwe and Sudan. Of course issues still remain around the continent including the ongoing war in the DRC and the problems in Somalia to name a few.

But Mugabe and Tsvangirai were able to sign an agreement to work out the details of a government of national unity between the two groups. It’s a concession for Tsvangirai who probably won the first election outright, but he is conceding for the betterment of his people and country. This deal was worked out under the mediation of Mbeki. So he is feeling very happy right now since many people have been upset with him for not doing something more. The wonderful thing is that such a government possibly suggests the end of the road for Mugabe. There will be a day when he won’t be in power. And there will be a day when his people and military heads will not be in power. So change is happening and people are exuberant even if in part.

People criticize Mbeki a lot. Adrianne pointed out that (I think it was her) that if you are mediating a certain situation it would not be wise to speak out and denounce one of the parties. This is the problem or the conflict between the two roles he holds as the SADC appointed mediator in the Zim crisis as well as the president of South Africa. Denouncing Zim could have hurt his negotiations. Now, in all honesty, he probably would not have denounced them even if he wasn’t the mediator, but it does bring up an interesting point.

In Sudan, Omar al-Bashir has been indicted. It’s the first time the ICC has gone after someone in office, though other tribunals have gone after people while in office. Most news sources say the wars in Darfur are between different ethno-religious groups, the Arabic one (doing the killing) being backed by the government. But my Sudanese friend says everyone is the same religion, so it’s completely tribal. He also says that the government is supporting one side; he says it’s just officials in the government that are supported (financially) one side. A friend and I (to make a point) asked him if the president knew about such support. He didn’t say anything. So the silence is like consent. The problem in Sudan is that I’m not sure what would happen if al-Bashir goes away. He has been described to me like a fall guy or a dummy. But hopefully the ICC will continue with others, though they are very busy. Here’s a list/chart of current leaders in trouble.

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