From blog: http://tanzaniamonitor.blogspot.com/ Tuesday, July 1, 2008 The Zimbabwe Issue Zimbabwe issue is indeed a sad one. The old man Robert Mugabe, the older he gets, the more draconian he becomes. Yet, African leaders are content to live with the current situation, again it is sad. Truly, they don't make them as they used to, any more. I mean leaders. Mandela, is the only one left from the original band of courageous leader from the African continent. He has spoken against what is going on in Zim, but this giant is old now, so he deserves the rest from dirty politics. Mr. Mandela has passed the torch to the the younger generation who have utterly failed to do the right thing on Zim issue. Mugabe could have well retired and be included in the list of African giants such as Nyerere, Nkrumah, Samora Machel and Kenneth Kaunda, but that opportunity is lost forever. What I want to share with you is an article as it was written back in 2003, but still so relevant to this day . The article was addressed to Mr. Mbeki who clearly is a failure by any standard of imagination. Now since President Jakaya Kikwete is current chairman of AU(Africa Union); the ball is in his court. If you subsitute the name Mbeki with Kikwete, this article is as relevant today as it was then. This is so relevant as is poignant, the kid born as Zimbabwean then, is or would have been 5 years old now. Now, this kid if lucky, is probably a refugee never have been free on his/her own country. Mbeki should follow Nyerere's lead Date: 01 May 2003 THE MAIL & GUARDIAN "Quiet diplomacy is the African way." Though this is a common refrain from the government, it's not necessarily so as the African leader and statesman Julius Nyerere showed in the late Eighties. His action is a pointer for President Thabo Mbeki to how he could better assist the Zimbabwean people in deciding their future. At the time, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had declared a "State of emergency" to avoid an election. It was a move not unlike President Robert Mugabe stealing both the general and the presidential elections in Zimbabwe. In the midst of Gandhi's emergency, Nyerere was awarded India's highest honour, the Nehru Peace Prize. Nyerere was duly invited to New Delhi to receive the prize from Gandhi. She, no doubt, looked forward to the legitimacy his presence would lend to her declared State of Emergency that had curtailed rights of all Indians. Many doubted that Nyerere would accept the prize and most Indians thought that he might at the very least refuse to travel to India to receive it from Indira Gandhi. To the disappointment of the Indian public, Nyerere announced that he would travel to India. He crossed the Indian Ocean and, to everyone's amazement, he used the occasion to help change the course of Indian history. The Nehru Peace Prize was an evening ceremony in the biggest hall in New Delhi. On the stage were two ornate chairs and two lecterns. In the audience was the cream of Indian society, government and military, and international diplomats. Gandhi introduced Nyerere, spoke of the purpose of the prize and of previous winners and then handed the prize to Nyerere. Nyerere then quietly and determinedly, building the drama as he went, set about reminding Gandhi and all Indians of the values that Jawaharlal Nehru had stood for, of his interminable talks to vast audiences around the whole of India in which he explained the what, the why and the how of democracy. Having laid out the national goals of India, Nyerere then turned and addressed Gandhi directly across the large stage. He told her, to her face and in front of the VIP audience present and the radio and TV audiences in every town and village of India that, with her State of Emergency, Gandhi was, he implied, "burying her father". This was not quiet diplomacy. As a close and old family friend, one who had known her as a child, he did not, could not approve of her emergency. Her father deserved better from his daughter and heir. It was a great, a courageous and a dramatic speech. The audience was transfixed. No one dared breathe. Gandhi sat grim faced, her usually haughty beak-nosed face turned ashen. When Nyerere finished, there was rapturous applause during which Gandhi quickly ended the evening and strode from the stage. A few days later, Gandhi lifted the emergency and, by so doing, faced elections she would undoubtedly lose. After Gandhi and Nehru, Nyerere is the most revered hero among Indians. As chair of the African Union Mbeki has the same opportunity as Nyerere to demonstrate courage and to place his and South Africa's authority behind the immediate restoration of the rights of all Zimbabweans. It is an historic opportunity, a moment that cannot be engineered at will. It must be used, especially as Mugabe this week began to show signs of fallibility. _________________________________________ The article was witten by Norman Reynolds is a Johannesburg-based development economist. All material copyright Mail&Guardian. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission.