Reactions to Zimbabwe’s escape from UN sanctions, thanks to its friends in Russia and China, have been multiplying. South Africa’s President, Thabo Mbeki, has been getting credit too, with Zimbabwe’s information minister thanking him for defusing a “western manipulation”.
But it is the two superpowers’ veto of sanctions that has really angered opponents of the Mugabe regime, with some saying the Zimbabwean people will “not understand” China and Russia’s actions. Both insist sanctions would go beyond UN charter provisions and allow for intervention in a nation’s politics; that would be a “dangerous precedent” says Moscow.
Vietnam and Libya added their vetoes to remove any further immediate pressure on President Mugabe to moderate his position.
Since Zimbabwe’s presidential polling began in March, the opposition says 113 of its activists have been killed and countless jailed. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai fled the country, took refuge in the Dutch embassy and eventually pulled
out of the vote to, he said, spare his supporters lives.