The turmoil which has overwhelmed South African politics and resulted in the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki has created a new problem– what will happen to the tenuous situation in Zimbabwe. After months of ignoring the crisis in Zimbabwe and allowing his friend, Robert Mugabe, to terrorize the nation, Mbeki finally displayed some concern for the average Zimbabwean and helped negotiate a compromise sharing of power between Mugabe and his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC). Mbeki persuaded both sides to agree on power sharing but failed to have spelled out exactly which Cabinet positions were allocated between the two groups. The result is confusion and an apparent attempt by Mugabe to use the resignation of Mbeki as a means to refuse giving any significant positions of influence in the Cabinet to the MDC.
Hopefully, the Southern African Development Community which designated Mbeki to serve as mediator will now play an important role to ensure the compromise is carried out by Mugabe. The African National Congress which forced the resignation of Mbeki has asked him to continue serving as a mediator.