Crisis? What crisis?

How would most people describe a nation with 150,000% inflation, massive unemployment, a collapsed agricultural system, and an election for which the ruling government refuses to release the results? “Crisis” would be an understatement for everyone — everyone except Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s president and ally of Robert Mugabe. Mbeki says we just need to patiently wait for Mugabe to get around to letting people know who won:

South African President Thabo Mbeki says “there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.”

Speaking in Harare after meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Mr Mbeki said Zimbabwe’s electoral commission must be given time to release the results of a presidential poll held two weeks ago.

The South African leader has been a key mediator in attempts to resolve the country’s economic and political plight.

“I wouldn’t describe that as a crisis. It’s a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe. We have to wait for ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) to release (the results),” he said.

Mbeki may want to explain how long Zimbabweans must wait for those results. The ZEC has had two weeks to release the totals, and in court could not give any indication how much longer it would be. In fact, they claimed that releasing the results would release dangerous forces in Zimbabwe.

The ZEC believes this to be a crisis, anyway, even if Mbeki busies himself with spinning for dictators.

Mugabe has chosen not to attend the SADC summit on the crisis, which could be a big mistake. Morgan Tsvangirai will attend at the invitation of President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, an unprecedented welcoming of an opposition figure by the commission.  Mugabe usually gets red-carpet treatment and almost no criticism at these meetings, but that may not be the case if he snubs the SADC.  He may find himself further isolated in southern Africa, putting more pressure on him to leave Zimbabwe and find a retirement plan.