Mutambara meets Mbeki

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Arthur Mutambara met with South African President Thabo Mbeki at his Union Buildings offices in Pretoria last week to discuss the current Zimbabwean crisis.

Diplomatic sources said the MDC team – comp

rising Mutamabara, deputy leader Gibson Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube and deputy secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, met Mbeki for more than two hours. Mbeki has been involved in the Zimbabwe issue since 2000 although he appeared recently to have washed his hands of it.

“Mbeki met the MDC last Thursday and they discussed the state of the opposition and other issues in relation to Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems in which South Africa has an interest,” a senior diplomat said yesterday.

“The meeting was part of Mbeki’s efforts to help Zimbabweans to find a solution to their challenges.”

It was the first time the MDC group has met Mbeki since Mutambara became its leader in February. Mbeki had last met Sibanda and Ncube in October following the MDC split over the senate election.

Sources said Mbeki was happy with Mutambara’s attempt to “rebrand” the MDC to shed its  alleged “Western puppet image” which discouraged many African governments from supporting its agenda.

“Mutambara told Mbeki his faction was Pan-Africanist, anti-colonial, anti-imperialist and supported regional and African economic integration as well as Nepad, and he was very pleased,” a source said.

“Mutambara also said his political allies in Africa included the ANC, PAC, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party. He said he had nothing to do with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and its leader Tony Leon. Mbeki liked it.”

Mutambara told a public meeting in Harare on Tuesday evening the ANC and its alliance partners were his faction’s political allies. He said South Africa’s main opposition, the DA, was not his ally.

Founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who now leads the other faction, refused to attend last October’s meeting with Mbeki. — Staff Writer.