Soccer Is Key to Get S. Africa to Play Ball on Zimbabwe

Use 2010 World Cup to pressure Mbeki: writer
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2008 8:37 AM CDT
President Robert Mugabe, right, welcomes South African President Thabo Mbeki, left, of South Africa at Harare International Airport, Saturday, April, 12, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The last few weeks have further exposed Robert Mugabe as a tyrant—and Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, as a "vacillating, dithering, morally compromised figure," writes Peter Godwin. In an op-ed for the New York Times, the Zimbabwe-born author says that the West must force Mbeki to act by playing its trump card: threaten to take away the World Cup, which South Africa hosts in just two years.

While the West must move to delegitimize the Zimbabwean regime and support Morgan Tsvangirai, it must also lean on its southern neighbor, which provides a "protective cloak" for Mugabe's crimes. Zimbabwe must become for the South African World Cup "what Tibet has been to the Beijing Olympics—the pungent albatross that spoils every press conference and mars every presentation with its insistent odor." (Read more Zimbabwe stories.)