This Saturday saw a Progressive Governance Conference of centre left leaders in leafy Watford.
And Thabo Mbeki, the single person with most influence on Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe was there, surreally opting to be in the Hertfordshire county rather than in Southern Africa.
What on earth could he achieve there, the lamest of all lame duck presidents with no support of his party ain't going to get to do allot of progressive governance in his last remaining year.
At least Zimbabwe presents an opportunity to salvage a bit of his reputation before he retires. But that is proving a forlorn hope.
Mr Mbeki did tell eager journalists that the present situation in Zimbabwe is “manageable” and this is “not the time to interfere”.
He refused to criticise Zimbabwe's conduct of the elections and rejected a call by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change for international intervention to prevent bloodshed.
Mind you, Mbeki did claim that a previously dubious election was free and fair. Mr. Mbeki is consistently unfathomably horrendous in matters of morality, governance and statecraft if nothing else.
According to AP the closing press conference he became increasingly exasperated at the repeated questions on the issue, declaring: "Zimbabwe is not a South African province, Can we agree about that?"
Nope, but Mbeki will most certainly be au fait with what a previous South African leader, John Vorster, did in precipitating regime change across the Limpopo. He simply cut off all supplies but in particularly oil.
Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa, but the power to do something about this tragedy lies within Mbeki's hands.
In today's UK Guardian the MDC makes a credible claim that Mbeki is seeking to protect Zanu PF.
The MDC feels badly let down by South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, and other regional leaders, in particular. In the party's view, Mbeki has played a deceptive role in which he has projected himself as an honest broker but sought to engineer a result in which Mugabe leaves office but Zanu-PF remains in power.
A summary of Mbeki's legacy can now be headlined:
- Responsible for at least 300,000 avoidable aids deaths;
- Leader of the ANC and Government when it became infested with corruption;
- Leader of the Government when it mismanaged the countries power supply, health and educational system;
- Second most responsible person after Robert Mugabe for the crisis in Zimbabwe.