Thursday, December 9

President Mbeki

With what appears to be another successful African peace mission under his belt, Mr Mbeki is increasing his diplomatic clout at a steady pace (not that the west would know it, of course).

South African news services had the 6 monthly "Does Mbeki spend too much time abroad" debate, which usually points to the fact that no one in South Africa really cares what happens in the Ivory Coast, would in all likelihood not even be able to find it one a map, and you can be sure making it front page news isn’t going to sell more papers or increase ratings. Saying not enough is being done about Jobs/Crime/AIDS/Zimbabwe gets the juices flowing a lot more than peace in "Where the hell is that? West Africa. That’s north of here isn’t it?".

A halfway interesting debate on SAFM (talk radio if you don’t know the station) brought the pan-africanists and Zimbabwe-is-more-important crowds together. The panel members, and the presenters, were mostly all pan-africanists and the phone-in crowd was a bit of both. It ended beautifully with the pan-africanist basically saying the opinions of some "sections" of the community don’t matter (code word for white if you’re living on a some other planet than planet South Africa), and the more farms you have the less you’re opinions matter. Doubt whether most people in the debate would be able to find Ivory Coast on a map either.

Still, I believe this is a relatively big moment for Mbeki as he has basically stepped in to pull the French out of a tricky situation (Not that the French is ever going to admit this). He has also shown Francophone Africa that there is someone they can go to if they get into trouble with their old colonial masters trading partners.


Blogger bigblue said...

Actually, Mbeki gets more recognition from France for the positive role he has played in the region than from any other Western power.

Perspective, perspective ...

10 December 2004 at 00:50  
Blogger Richard said...

What do you mean by 'perspective, perspective'? If you have a source that shows french appreciation let me know.

I have looked before, but Ive never found any french comment on South African involvement in the Ivory Coast.

10 December 2004 at 12:51  
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