The Buddy System

What the hell is Mbeki up to now?

I'm no political fundi, but it seems he's doing absolutely everything he can to keep Mugabe in power and deny the results of a democratic vote. When the news broke about a "power sharing deal signed" late last night, we got all excited thinking Tsvangirai and Mugabe had finally found a solution to this whole thing. Turns out Mugabe merely agreed to share power with his former crony - giving him once again the upper hand, even though said crony has gone over to the MDC.

And there sits Mbeki with his quiet diplomacy and his mouth full of teeth, not urging Mugabe to step down (his people voted him OUT as president), instead trying his damndest to keep him top dog! While the elected leader gets simply shunted to one side and left out in the cold.

There's democracy for you. And "mediation". It actually pisses me off considerably.

But I'm seeing all this from a particular cultural view. I'm a white South Africa, with an embedded "European" view of right, wrong, democracy and everything else. I don't come from a black African tribal heritage - where you fought your way to the top and only got there by killing the other bloke and/or his family/supporters/everyone. I don't understand the nuances of tribal bloodlines that pit one against another. It's probably the reason Mbeki's version of both mediation and democracy make no sense to me at all. Why I can't understand how the heck he can say he's mediating a solution when all he's doing is protecting his buddy.

Then again... how many African leaders wouldn't do just what he's doing? Once you reach the top you're entitled to your mansions, your shopping trips in the UK and Far East, your limo and guns outings, your personal army to send out and quell any whisper of opposition. You're entitled to squeeze the commoner for your own gain - doesn't matter if they starve or die, as long as you come out on top. And stay there.

It's Africa's trend. The Buddy System that all aspire to, knowing their peers will protect them from the Big Bad Western blokes trying to make them lead and not crush. That they'll close ranks around you, no matter what you do - simply because that's what they'd want you to do for them.

It's frustrating to watch the endless back and forth, the lack of solutions, the stuff that simply doesn't make sense anymore. And to watch the locals, the people, the folk I grew up among, continue to suffer, continue to have no clear direction as to what's going to happen next, or when things will get better.