Monday, December 08, 2003

M&G has an interesting article on the threat that Mbeki's support of Mugabe poses for the 'African renaissance'.

I'm sceptical, but as far as I can see the 'African renaissance' died some time ago, in theory if not quite yet in fact. The premise, that Africa would exchange good governance for support from the West was a good idea. What was especially impressive was the fact that Mbeki and co managed to persuade the powers that be that the best way to enforce good governance in Africa would be to leave it to African states themselves. No more meddling by wealthy former colonial powers. It also appeared to mark a change in the thinking of African states themselves: no longer would they support dictators simply because they were fellow Africans. From hence forth support would be contingent upon good behaviour. And to round it all off, these principles had been formulated and were being most clearly espoused by South Africa, the major continental power and a country with considerable moral authority. How ironic then that it should be South Africa that leads the coterie of countries junking these ideals. The African renaissance was considerably weakened when Mbeki failed to offer even token condemnation of Mugabe's theft of the last election. It was further damaged when our Foreign Minister stated recently that the govt would 'never' condemn the Mugabe government. If any doubts remained, they were put to rest by South Africa's shameful, and ultimately humiliating, effort to get the suspension lifted. If the African renaissance happens, it appears that it will be in spite of and not because of South Africa.


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