Southern Africa's Problem of Elite Impunity


Former South African deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad's support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela throws into sharp relief the acceptance by political elites in southern Africa of die-hard regional governments that crush democracy to hold on to power.

Aziz Pahad has, on these pages, attempted a defence of the murderous regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Anti-American antipathy trumps, it seems, empathy for human rights.

South Africa's former deputy minister of foreign affairs has form. The problem is that Pahad is a party hack and, for all of his liberation credentials, an ideologue more than a democrat.

Pahad was never a friend of democracy in Zimbabwe, and certainly not of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. In February 2008, for example, he announced that there would be an election the next month in spite of the lack of progress on reforms, negotiations about which he said were no longer required.

He is sadly not alone among regional elites.

Liberation ties have proven more important than the democratic process or outcomes. South Africa's favouritism towards Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF regime has planted a seed which is now flourishing like a poisonous weed across southern Africa -- explaining...

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