Jump to navigation

Vol 44 No 25

Published 19th December 2003


Zimbabwe

The cost of Mugabe

Poor diplomacy allows the Zimbabwe row to weaken the Commonwealth and divide Africa

Like a slow-motion train crash, from 5 to 8 December Commonwealth leaders allowed a bad-tempered discussion on Zimbabwe to dominate their summit, ending in the continuation of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government and its predicted withdrawal from the 54-member club. Other important business, such as ending agricultural subsidies, trade reform, more cooperation on anti-HIV/AIDS strategy and regional security, was sidelined as the Zimbabwe row divided the summiteers. Commonwealth staffers dismissed such worries: the theme of the summit was 'democracy and development' and the row focused attention on both. Two questions emerge from the debacle in Abuja: could more astute diplomacy have secured a better result? Will the fall-out cause lasting damage to the Commonwealth and its African members? The answer is a double'yes'.

End of preview - This article contains approximately 1504 words.

End of preview

Subscribers: Log in now to read the complete article.

Account Holders: Log in now and use your Account Credit to buy this article. No Credit? Top up your Account now.


If you have a print subscription already, click here for a password that gives you full access to the website.

If you are logged in, but still cannot access the full text of this article, email customer services or telephone us on +44(0)1638 743633.