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Senegal’s Wade says Mbeki alone can’t save Zimbabwe

EFFORTS to end the crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be left to South African President Thabo Mbeki alone and Africa as a whole must do more to prevent the collapse of the southern state, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said.

Wade ca

lled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who denies foreign accusations that he has abused human rights and wrecked Zimbabwe’s once-prosperous economy, a “bad lawyer with a good cause” to argue.

A grouping of southern African nations has mandated South Africa’s Mbeki to secure a deal on constitutional reform between Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change ahead of March 2008 presidential and parliamentary polls.

But Wade, who from his small West African country has often sparred with Mbeki in the past over leadership on African issues, said more African heads of state, including himself, should be involved in mediating with Mugabe.

“It’s a big mistake to always say that Zimbabwe should be left to Mbeki,” the Senegalese president, who like Mugabe is in his 80s, told Reuters in an interview late on Tuesday.

“Mbeki is a man who has a huge amount of goodwill but this is a situation which just one person cannot resolve alone, that much is clear,” he said.

Wade’s comments appeared to diverge from a recommendation by a leading international think-tank this week which called on the world, including Western powers, to close ranks behind the Mbeki mediation for Zimbabwe.

Wade, who has led peace and mediation missions in the past for Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia and is a strong advocate of continental initiatives, favoured a broader approach involving more than one African head of state.

“I think Africa has not helped Zimbabwe. I’m convinced that we haven’t helped President Mugabe,” he said. — Reuters.

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