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Alleged letter from Tsvangirai to Mbeki a plot to derail efforts

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 05 Jun 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Media reports that President Thabo Mbeki had received a letter from Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are incorrect and could be part of a disinformation campaign aimed at disrupting the facilitation process in that country.

Briefing the media in Cape Town Director General in the Presidency Frank Chikane reiterated that President Mbeki has not received any such letter from Mr Tsvangarai.

This follows weekend media newspapers claiming they had in their possession a letter written by Mr Tsvangirai to President Mbeki accusing the President of, among other things, not being neutral during Zimbabwe talks.

President Mbeki was mandated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to facilitate talks between the opposition leader and current President Robert Mugabe.

The letter was said to have been delivered via official channels and urged President Mbeki to step down as mediator in the Zimbabwean talks.

Reverent Chikane said no such letter was ever sent nor has any official in the Presidency or the South African government received any such letter from any member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Furthermore, the MDC has never discussed the letter with the facilitation team, the Presidency or any department of government and the MDC at any time," the director general told the media.

Reverent Chikane then cited several instances where journalists had attributed incorrect statements on Zimbabwe's mediation talks to Mbeki.

Among these was a report on the eve of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) head of states meeting in Zambia in August, where it was claimed that President Mbeki would use the occasion to attack Britain for its role in the Zimbabwean crisis.

"It was clear that these fabrications are focusing on demonisation of the facilitation process with the intention to prevent the possibility for a solution to the challenges in Zimbabwe."

Reverend Chikane warned the media to be vigilant of false statements.

"In this context, the media ought to remain vigilant by, amongst other ways, authenticating information as well as greater scrutiny of the motives of those who leak information," he said. - BuaNews


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