Sovereign thinking

The status quo in Zimbabwe does indeed give great cause for concern ("Mugabe: why Africa applauds him", 7 August). Stating that Africa "applauds" Mugabe clearly shows that the west has very little understanding of the African context at play in this very complex issue. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has never supported Mugabe's unjust policies, and his diplomatic silence on Zimbabwe is a sign of his adherence to the notion of sovereignty of independent, democratic states - an example the west would be wise to adopt.

It is also no secret that Mbeki has been involved in numerous talks with the president of Zimbabwe to find diplomatic ways forward, and that these talks are ongoing.

Instead of doing justice to the cause, the piece re-emphasises just how uninformed the west is about the African socio-political context and highlights western prejudice against African governance, democracy and sovereignty.

Evan Prinsloo
London E6

This article first appeared in the 21 August 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Al-Qaeda: Britain in its sights