Mbeki's Lost Letter Focuses Scrutiny on Zimbabwe Role

Denies Tsvangirai note; impartiality questioned
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2008 9:55 AM CDT
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, right, and his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, left, in Harare, Friday, May 9, 2008. This is Mbeki's third visit to Zimbabwe as mediator on behalf of the Southern...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Last month Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader and the victor of March's elections, sent a 4-page letter to South African president Thabo Mbeki asking him to step aside as mediator. But when South African media reported the story last week, Mbeki's camp denied that the letter even exists, much less that he'd received it. The New York Times investigates doubts about Mbeki's impartiality.

Throughout the Zimbabwean crisis Mbeki has supported Robert Mugabe, a policy that has led to denouncement internationally and from his South African opposition. “By appeasing Mugabe and endorsing every flawed election in Zimbabwe,” one leader wrote, “you are complicit in the tyranny that has befallen that country.” And regardless of whether Mbeki received his letter, Tsvangirai says, he'll be getting another copy.