Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wants President Robert Mugabe to immediately fire his deputy Arthur Mutambara in order to fully comply with the recent Sadc resolution confirming the country’s GPA principals, MDC leader Welshman Ncube has disclosed.

Ncube told The Standard on Saturday that although he was yet to directly speak to the MDC-T leader, the party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti had informed him that Tsvangirai had told Mugabe to fire Mutambara.

“My understanding after a meeting with Biti is that Tsvangirai insisted Mugabe should respect the Sadc resolution and immediately remove Mutambara from the position of DPM,” he said.

Ncube said other senior MDC-T officials among them Biti, Minister of State in the PM’s Office, Jameson Timba and Energy and Power Development minister, Elton Mangoma, were all in agreement that Mutambara had no business in government.

Timba yesterday said each party had the prerogative to nominate or recall its members.

Contacted for comment, spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Luke Tamborinyoka could neither confirm nor deny that Tsvangirai wanted Mutambara to be fired so that Ncube could replace him.

“I have not spoken to my principal about the issue,” said Tamborinyoka. “So I am not aware if that is the position.”

But sources insisted Tsvangirai really wanted to go by what Sadc said, to have Mutambara replaced by Ncube.

Biti and Mutambara could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Ncube said he met Mugabe on Thursday and the Zanu PF leader finally agreed to have him as a principal but on a limited role.

“He agreed that the correct person to deal with on the political processes is myself and not DPM Mutambara,” he said. “He made it clear that when discussing government programmes, he will only talk to Mutambara and Tsvangirai. This is wrong because Mutambara represents no one and has no single minister in cabinet.”

Sadc at its 32nd heads of state and government summit in Maputo, Mozambique confirmed Ncube as the third principal in the country in addition to Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The South African facilitation team, which is expected to arrive in the country on Tuesday, has said it would no longer deal with Mutambara as a principal.

Mutambara, who is contesting the leadership of the MDC in the courts, was said to have attacked Zuma during the Sadc Troika meeting, accusing the South African leader of sidelining him when he visited Harare recently.

He accused Zuma of bias towards Ncube who is his in-law. Ncube has however rubbished the claims that Zuma favoured him.

Zuma recently refused to meet Mutambara during his visit to Harare to engage party political leaders ahead of the Sadc summit in Maputo, saying the deputy premier did not have a party and was not involved directly in the constitution-making process as he had no negotiators and a Copac co-chairperson.

A fuming Mutambara followed Zuma to Maputo where he confronted him and launched a tirade at the Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Mutambara is said to have demanded to know why he had not been invited to a meeting of government of national unity (GNU) leaders in Harare where Zuma met Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube.


THE just-ended Sadc summit in Maputo, Mozambique has urged Zimbabwe’s warring parties to complete the constitution-making process and put it to a referendum in order to allow for free and fair elections to be held.

But analysts and civil society organisations have dismissed the summit as a disappointment as it failed to come up with concrete mechanisms to enforce the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and all the other outstanding issues, including an agreed election roadmap.

 The summit reiterated that the facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma should have a hands-on approach in dealing with the impasse stalling progress in the implementation of the GPA.

The latest stalemate is on the draft constitution, which Zanu PF wants renegotiated, yet the two MDCs say it should not be changed and should be taken to the all-stakeholders’ conference as it is.

“If there are any difficulties with regard to the constitution and implementation of agreements, the facilitator is called upon to engage with the parties and assist them resolve such issues, bearing in mind the timeframes and the necessity to hold free and fair elections,” reads a communiqué issued after the summit.

The resolutions were adopted from recommendations by the Sadc troika which met on Friday.

Sadc, in Angola two months ago, asked Zuma to be more involved in the negotiation, but the three parties, Zanu PF, MDC and MDC-T, failed to find common ground, delaying the South African president’s visit to Zimbabwe.

Regional leaders commended the progress that leaders had made on the constitution, saying this should be followed by an agreed road-map on elections.

“(Sadc) commends the parties for the efforts they have put into developing the constitution and urges them to spare no effort in ensuring that they put before the people of Zimbabwe at the referendum, a constitution whose main focus is the interests of the nation as a whole,” the communiqué continued.

“(Sadc) urges the parties to the GPA to develop a roadmap together with timelines that are guided by requirements of the processes necessary for the adoption of the constitution of conditions for free and fair elections to be held.”

Zanu PF wanted elections held this year, but the party has toned down its rhetoric after Sadc insisted that all provisions of the GPA be met.

The regional body also urged the parties to establish a mechanism in cabinet that would ensure the coordination and implementation of outstanding issues and that Zuma should be kept informed on any developments.

Sadc also encouraged the strengthening of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic).

Three technical people were seconded by Sadc to Jomic, but they are yet to be accredited to work in Zimbabwe.

Sources who attended the summit said Mugabe was happy with the outcome as Sadc did not lash out at him for being responsible for the lack of progress in the implementation of the GPA, unlike at the previous meetings.

They said Mugabe promised to soon summon other principals for a meeting to discuss the issue of elections and his party’s position on the proposed draft constitution.

“The only minor setback for him (Mugabe) is that Mutambara is no longer a principal and this may leave him outnumbered when it comes to meetings of principals,” said the source.

But Political analyst, Dewa Mavhinga said again Sadc has failed to effectively resolve the crisis in the country.

“Sadc has not moved beyond mere encouragement of Zimbabwe political parties to fully implement the GPA to look at possible enforcement mechanisms of Sadc resolutions that have repeatedly been ignored, particularly by Mugabe and Zanu PF,” he said.


South African President Jacob Zuma has dumped his country’s traditional “quiet diplomacy” and is instead going for full “confrontation” with President Robert Mugabe to force free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, a cabinet source has said.

Ebrahim Ebrahim, the South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation said Zuma, who was mandated by Sadc to mediate and ensure credible polls in Zimbabwe, was taking a hard-line stance because regional leaders could no longer stomach Harare’s status quo.

He was speaking to South African newspaper, The Sunday Independent at the weekend. The sensational claims confirm the view that Zuma, the SADC-appointed facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis wants a quick solution to the ongoing wrangling in government.

“There has been notable difference but it is true that… even as president of ANC, President Zuma began to take a harder line on Zimbabwe and he continued as president of the country to do so.”

“South Africa has been given the responsibility of taking the situation in hand. Now it is open… I will not say condemnation but confrontation. President Zuma is prepared to have open confrontation with Mugabe,” said Ebrahim.

Ebrahim is a senior political and economic advisor to Zuma and sits on the powerful ANC National Executive Committee.

He has also chaired the parliamentary foreign Zuma threatens Mugabe affairs committee. ANC’s top brass partly decides the country’s foreign policy.

His statements to the Sunday Independent this week are significant as they highlight how South Africa and SADC have shifted policy on Zimbabwe since former mediator and Zuma’s predecessor Thabo Mbeki was booted out in 2008.

Mbeki was seen by many observers as ineffective because of his closeness to and bias towards Mugabe.

The statements also show how the SADC summit set for Angola mid-next month could be explosive as regional leaders battle Mugabe’s intransigence. Mugabe is likely to continue pushing for elections this year as demanded by his party.

Welshman Ncube, leader of the breakaway MDC formation, told a public meeting last week that SADC leaders had threatened to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe should Mugabe proceed with a unilateral call for elections this year.

South Africa has largely followed a policy of quiet diplomacy, which started during Mbeki’s tenure, on dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis. However under Zuma, the country has gradually shifted its approach with Zuma taking a measured but firm approach to the crisis.

The shift was first noticed at the Zambia SADC Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation meeting in Livingstone, Zambia end of March this year.

Zuma presented a scathing report which rebuked Mugabe for refusing to implement the GPA at the meeting, a position endorsed by his regional peers.

Zuma warned that Zimbabwe risked international intervention if the political crisis in the country continued.

This stance was reinforced at the last SADC summit in Johannesburg where, according to media reports, Zuma and Mugabe openly clashed.

Ebrahim said Zuma believed Zimbabwe’s prolonged crisis was draining SADC and the only possible way of bringing it to an end was by confronting a belligerent Mugabe to force him to play by the power sharing agreement he signed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.

SADC was also losing patience hence the tough stance, Ebrahim said.

“The difference now is that SADC and our president are saying (to Mugabe) this status cannot continue, you have to implement your own agreement and accept free and fair elections under the new constitution,” said Ebrahim, adding that although the country’s three political parties agreed to an agreement under Mbeki, “Mugabe is saying they can have elections under the old Lancaster House constitution.”

Mugabe has threatened to call for elections regardless of whether the country’s new constitution has been completed.

A new constitution is a pre-condition for polls in Zimbabwe’s as agreed in the power sharing agreement.

Zuma has openly criticised Mugabe before.

During his tenure as ANC president in 2008 before he took over the position of the presidency of Africa’s biggest economy, he described the disputed and violent June 2008 elections as “suspicious.”

“We cannot agree with ZANU PF. We cannot agree with them on values. We fought for the right of people to vote, we fought for democracy,” Zuma said at an ANC dinner in July 2008. He rebuked Mugabe for refusing to step down after losing the March 2008 election to Tsvangirai.

In December 2007, Zuma had also criticised Mbeki for his soft approach on Zimbabwe.

“It is even more tragic that other world leaders who witness repression pretend it is not happening, or is exaggerated. When history eventually deals with the dictators, those who stood by and watched should also bear the consequences. A shameful quality of the modern world is to turn away from injustice and ignore the hardships of others,” said Zuma at the time.

ANC is historically a natural ally of ZANU PF but has recently been critical of its erstwhile ally because of the pressure from its ANC Youth League, South African Communist Party and Congress of Southern African Trade Unions allies.

It is from these organisations that Zuma derives much of his support. Zuma met UK Prime Minister David Cameroon met on Monday at his Union Building in Pretoria where the two discussed the Libyan and Zimbabwean crisis.

Zuma expressed happiness with the progress in Zimbabwe while Cameroon said he was willing to look into the issue of sanctions but would only do so if agreed reforms were implemented.

Meanwhile, ZANU PF says the 87-year-old leader will table the sanctions issue at the Angola SADC summit.

The party’s spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said 2,2 million Zimbabweans had signed a petition to be tabled at the meeting and presented at other international forums such as the AU and UN meetings.

It could not be established how ZANU PF hopes to do it given that the issue of sanctions is already being dealt with by SADC.


President Jacob Zuma must encourage the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to halt elections in Zimbabwe until key democratic reforms are made, the DA said on Monday.

“Zuma, as SADC-appointed mediator to Zimbabwe, must encourage the SADC to use the mechanisms at its disposal to ensure that elections do not go ahead until key democratic reforms have been made,” said the party’s Parliamentary leader Athol Trollip.

This follows the arrest of Jameson Timba, a cabinet minister and key aide to Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Timba, who is the minister of state in the prime minister’s office, was detained on Friday under Zimbabwe’s security laws, for accusing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe of lying about the outcome of a recent SADC summit in Joburg.

During his detention, Timba was allegedly denied food and access to his lawyers. A high court Judge ruled on Sunday that he be released, saying his rights had been violated.

“These are not the actions of a regime that is keen to embrace democratic reform, nor is this the behaviour of a state that is ready to hold free and fair elections,” said Trollip.

“South Africa needs to play a central role in taking a decisive stand against ongoing political repression in Zimbabwe as reports of intimidation, violence and voter fraud continue.”

He said the arrest was an illustration of Mugabe’s determination to entrench “repressive, tyrannical rule” in Zimbabwe.

Zuma should see to it that the tougher approach adopted by the SADC security organ at its March meeting in Zambia was maintained.

“Mugabe’s attempts to undermine political progress in Zimbabwe are decisively addressed by the appropriate SADC structures,” said Trollip.

In the light of continued political instability in Zimbabwe, the decision taken at last month’s SADC summit to extend a moratorium on the hearing of new cases at the SADC Tribunal was of grave concern, he said.

“This decision effectively dissolves this crucial body, which is responsible for adjudicating disputes between citizens and governments of SADC states when all domestic legal avenues have been exhausted.

“The tribunal was an important legal resource for Zimbabwean citizens, whose domestic legal system is deeply flawed,” said Trollip.


President Robert Mugabe mistakenly referred to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma as Nelson Mandela, and then in an attempt to correct his mistake suggested South Africa’s first black leader was DEAD, reports said on Friday.

Mugabe made the gaffe while addressing SADC leaders at a weekend summit on Zimbabwe hosted by South Africa, the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported, quoting “unimpeachable” sources.

After Zuma, SADC’s point man on Zimbabwe, had presented a report, Mugabe took the floor and began: “May I compliment our facilitator for the report given verbally. We would want it in writing. This is different from Livingstone [SADC troika summit] where we didn’t see the report.

“We were not happy with what happened. I have spoken to Mandela, sorry Zuma, about it. We would want to rebut some allegations.”

In an attempt to brush aside his mistake, Mugabe is alleged to have said: “May Mandela’s soul rest in peace.”

Mugabe, 87 this year, is said to have quickly realised his mistake again and added: “I hope he is in good health.”

The Independent said Mugabe’s “slip-ups suggested loss of memory or confusion due to pressure”.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, is set to lead his party into the next elections now expected next year even as media reports suggest that his health is failing. Zanu PF is believed to want early elections while Mugabe’s health can still hold.


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has made the potentially devastating decision to dissolve the regional human rights court, for at least another year.

The Tribunal has already been suspended for more than six months, after SADC leaders last year decided to review the mandate and functions of the court. This was the result of Zimbabwe’s refusal to honour the Tribunal’s 2008 rulings on the land grab campaign, which the court said was unlawful. But in a clear sign of allegiance to Robert Mugabe, SADC leaders suspended the Tribunal, rather than force Zimbabwe to abide by the rulings.

The review, sanctioned by SADC, has been concluded, and an independent report on its role and functions was presented to SADC leaders at the Summit in Namibia last week. But despite this review upholding the court’s rulings on Zimbabwe, and also reasserting the court’s jurisdiction in the region, SADC leaders have still refused to fully reinstate it. Instead, they have given its Council of Justice Ministers and Attorney Generals at least another 12 months to review the court, again.

The Tribunal was set up as an impendent legal body that would provide SADC citizens with a platform to seek justice, when all other legal avenues in their own countries had been exhausted.  Critically, the court is supposed to give SADC citizens the chance to hold their own governments to account, when their human rights are infringed upon.

The decision to dissolve the court is now being described as ‘devastating’, ‘regressive’, and a clear sign that SADC does not have the rights of its hundreds of millions of citizens at heart.

The Southern African Litigation Centre has called the decision an act of sabotage that could have a “devastating impact on human rights and peoples’ ability to access justice.” The group said that SADC leaders have now shown where their loyalties lie, because they would rather protect Robert Mugabe than protect human rights or the rule of law.

The group’s Lloyd Kuveya told SW Radio Africa on Monday that SADC leaders have “dealt a potentially fatal blow to the rule of law across the region.”

“This decision is a violation of the independence of the court, a violation of the rights of SADC citizens to access to legal recourse. SADC citizens will now not be able to seek relief if their rights are infringed in their countries,” Kuveya said.

He continued saying that the loyalty to Mugabe that is being put on display is a sign of the “shocking lack of leadership in the region.”

“Instead of sanctioning Zimbabwe, SADC leaders have imposed legal sanctions on all of its citizens, preventing them from seeking legitimate legal redress at a regional level,” Kuveya said.

Further proving where SADC’s loyalties lie were comments by the regional bloc’s Executive Secretary, Tomaz Salomão, who said that the media and the general public would have no access to the details of the Tribunal’s expected restructure. SADC’s Justice Ministers are thought to have recommended amendments that will protect member states from cases brought against them by their citizens.

But Salomão told journalists that neither the media nor SADC citizens needed to know what the ministers had said about the fate of the Tribunal.

Zimbabwe civil society groups have slammed last week’s harassment and intimidation of activists at the regional leaders Summit in Namibia, which resulted in the prolonged detention and interrogation of key figures.

The civil society groups, including representatives from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, traveled to Namibia to lobby SADC leaders and pressure them to lay out a clear plan for democratic change in Zimbabwe. But their efforts were quickly thwarted by Namibia security officers and members of Zimbabwe’s CIO, who led a crackdown on the activists.

First to be targeted were about ten activists, including National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) chairperson Dadirai Chikwengo, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition officials MacDonald Lewanika, Pedzisayi Ruhanya and Dewa Mavhinga, and other representatives from the Zimbabwe Election Support.

The state security agents also briefly detained Jelousy Mawarire for taking pictures and chased away Shastry Njeru of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum from the venue of the SADC Summit. Mawarire, who had his pictures deleted from his camera, was later released after the intervention of Namibian human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe.

Also targeted were Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) head, Irene Petras, Joy Mabenge from the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe, Lloyd Kuveya of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, and Makanatsa Makonese of the SADC Lawyers Association. The four were force-marched into the hotel’s parking area by two armed Namibian police who took them to the local Chief Inspector. They were then interrogated separately by Zimbabwe’s state security agents.

The Crisis Coalition’s Mavhinga told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the activists were only allowed to leave well after the SADC summit had ended on Friday night. He explained how Zimbabwe’s state security agents were directing Namibian police to individually target activists who were calling for real democratic change in Zimbabwe.

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms the treatment of the activists at the Summit. Clearly Namibia is not committed to human rights, and they are putting their relationship with ZANU PF before the rights of SADC citizens,” Mavhinga said.

Meanwhile the ZLHR said it “strongly condemns this despicable conduct.”

“The actions of the state security agents highlights the need to urgently reform the security sector players as enunciated in the Global Political Agreement as they continue to be a law unto themselves even beyond the borders of Zimbabwe,” the group said in a statement.


President Robert Mugabe has intensified his fight against an emerging consensus among Sadc leaders for him to go, by among other tactics, trying to sideline and remove no-nonsense facilitator President Jacob Zuma.

Well-placed Sadc sources told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe had now identified Zuma as his biggest problem.

This was because the South African president was “unshakeable in his impartiality and determination” to see an election roadmap in Zimbabwe that would usher in a credible election next year or in 2013, that would be devoid of violence and rigging as happened in the disputed 2008 presidential election runoff.

The sources also said their own intelligence had established that Mugabe and his Zanu PF party were pushing for Zuma’s isolation because they were aware that they could not win a fair election.

To that extent, Mugabe and his Zanu PF viewed Zuma’s drive for a mutually agreed roadmap within the Global Political Agreement (GPA) context as an attack on Mugabe and the former ruling party.

Mugabe last week made two remarkable moves. Firstly, the 87-year-old – who has been to the Far East for medical reasons five times since December – effectively declared himself fit to rule for life.

He then unsuccessfully attempted to foist his agenda for an early election at Friday’s Sadc summit in Namibia that Zuma did not attend.

Sadc firmly rebuffed the bid.

“We are totally against the idea of a new election roadmap as it means re-negotiating the Global Political Agreement instead of implementing it,” read Zanu PF’s position paper that was circulated in Windhoek.

Mugabe had, through the position paper, tried to take advantage of Zuma’s absence to overturn resolutions of the Sadc troika on politics, defence and security which called for an end to violence, the full implementation of the GPA and elections only after the roadmap has been completed.

But one of the top Sadc officials who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mugabe’s attempts to attack and weaken Zuma and his facilitation team was “backfiring badly”.

Among other “ill-considered moves” by Zanu PF, the former ruling party had written to Zuma demanding the removal of Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu from the facilitation team, “alleging rather ridiculously” that she was biased against Zanu PF.

The Sadc insider said this move was being interpreted by the region as a very direct way by Mugabe and his party of asking Zuma to step aside from his facilitation work.

“This is surprising because Mugabe is literally biting the hand that feeds him. What future is there for Mugabe, Zanu PF and Zimbabwe without South Africa’s immense sacrifice for its neighbour.  Without Zuma and the GPA that he has kept together at great cost to him personally and his country, Mugabe would not be president anyway.

“Nevertheless, Mugabe is wasting time because Sadc is sick and tired of his machinations. He wants to trick us into believing that President Zuma is biased but it’s far from it.

“We are aware that Zuma’s frankness has rattled Mugabe and that is why he brought in his position paper which was ignored. Now they are spreading propaganda that it is Mugabe who said Zimbabwe must be discussed in the presence of President Zuma and other political players,” the official said.

Another official said part of the war against Zuma had resulted in Mugabe and Zanu PF gunning for the South African president’s focal person, Ambassador Zulu.

Zulu is not just a key member of Zuma’s facilitation team, she is also his international relations adviser.

She is on record stating that it is impossible to hold elections this year because of the slow progress in implementing GPA reforms such as a new constitution.

The State-controlled Sunday Mail, which rarely touches on sensitive political issues without direct instruction from Mugabe’s press office yesterday, reported that Zanu PF had formally lodged a complaint to South Africa about Zulu.

The former ruling party is holding Zulu responsible for recent comments made by Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC), raising fears that Mugabe’s potential death could spark chaos because of unresolved succession issues in the party.

“Negotiators are also concerned about the succession law should Mugabe die or retire before the adoption of a new constitution, which is still being negotiated,” read the ANC comment that Zanu PF now seeks to conveniently use against Zulu and the whole facilitation team.

However, the ANC never attributed the comments to Zulu – raising the question of why Zanu PF has sought to vilify her thus.

In the meantime, Mugabe insists he is staying put.  He recently sent envoys to regional countries to drill this message through and to court support from his regional peers.

In an interview with the Southern Times, Mugabe said there was no need to prolong elections. He also said that demands for security sector reforms by Sadc, other political players and civil society were without basis.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who leads Zanu PF’s GPA negotiating team, confirmed that Mugabe wanted to stay in power despite his advanced age and waning public support.

“And as far as Zanu PF is concerned, even at his age we know that he commands majority support among Zimbabweans,” Chinamasa told The Windhoek Times in a separate interview.


ZANU PF’s spin doctor, Jonathan Moyo, is once again causing strain on the already tense relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe, after another written attack on President Jacob Zuma.

Moyo once used the state media this week to trash Zuma’s ongoing mediation efforts, stipulated by regional leaders as the key to solving Zimbabwe’s political crisis. Moyo said these efforts “created a treacherous opportunity for weakening the state in Zimbabwe by rendering it vulnerable to hostile foreign interests.”

He accused Zuma and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) of being puppets of Western states like the UK and the US, which he accused of “hostile manipulation.” He also slammed ongoing negotiations towards a SADC endorsed election roadmap, as pointless and a guise for the “destabilisation of the state.”

“These puppets and their masters will not be allowed to reform something they did not form using the cover of the negotiations under misplaced SADC facilitation which the UK government apparently wants to use to dictate regime change in the country,” Moyo said.

South Africa has since dismissed Moyo’s latest rant, which also argued for fresh elections in Zimbabwe this year. Zuma’s International Relations Advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, is quoted as saying that neither SADC nor South Africa had time for “people who are outside the negotiation ambit.” “We have said it before that we will not comment on opinions of people who are not part and parcel of the negotiation process,” Zulu said.

Zuma has for weeks been the target of ZANU PF’s anger, following the surprisingly stern rebuke by the SADC Troika in March, which cornered Mugabe over his refusal to fully implement the Global Political Agreement. The Troika later issued a statement demanding an immediate end to violence, intimidation, hate speech and harassment, and pledged to develop a roadmap towards credible elections.

It’s widely understood that it was a scathing report by Zuma on the state of Zimbabwe’s political crisis that spurred SADC to change its tone towards the situation. Zuma reportedly had harsh warnings about the political stalemate, saying that “unprecedented upheavals,” seen in North Africa recently, would happen in Zimbabwe if there weren’t major reforms.

A furious Mugabe then accused SADC of trying to interfere in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. He claimed Zuma was just a facilitator to the dialogue and “cannot prescribe anything,” while saying that SADC has no business ‘meddling’ in Zimbabwe’s affairs. The state owned Sunday Mail newspaper then took its cue from Mugabe and published an editorial branding Zuma ‘erratic’ and ‘disaster-prone’ They described him as a “liability, not only to South Africa, but also to the rest of the continent.”

Moyo also followed Mugabe’s lead, writing in an opinion piece published in the same paper, that “Zuma is now tainted beyond recovery by the Libyan situation”, after his country voted on the UN Security Council in favour of imposing a no-fly zone.

ZANU PF was then forced to backtrack on this criticism, apparently worried about being isolated in the region. Moyo was last month summoned by Mugabe’s deputy Joice Mujuru and sharply reprimanded for his opinion piece that blasted Zuma. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, was also tasked with making amends, taking out a full page supplement in the state owned Herald newspaper, claiming the views of the Sunday Mail editorial did not reflect the views of the government.

Moyo’s fresh attack is now believed to be a sign of ZANU PF’s growing concern that SADC will follow through on its apparent change in stance towards the Zimbabwe situation, and stop appeasing Mugabe at every turn. ZANU PF has never needed to criticise SADC before, because the bloc’s ‘quiet diplomacy’ towards Zimbabwe has always suited the party very well.

Commentators have said that the comments by Moyo, which will have been sanctioned by ZANU PF, are indicative that the party is very worried.

Other commentators meanwhile have questioned if these attempts to undermine Zuma could be related to an alleged plot in South Africa to oust the President from his position. Billy Masethla, a top official in South Africa’s ruling ANC party, last week said the plot is real. He told the Mail & Guardian newspaper: “I know who they are talking to and how they want to do this. I am not going to keep quiet and watch people destroying the organisation.”

Some commentators have said that ZANU PF might be preempting the results of this ‘plot’ by cutting ties with Zuma, while remaining on good terms with the ANC. The two parties are traditionally supportive of each other as former liberation parties, and the ANC has, on more than one occasion, voiced support and respect for Mugabe.

But exiled Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta, who is now based in South Africa, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that there is very little support for the alleged plot, saying “Zuma is very strong in his position.” He also insisted that the ANC would not risk jeopardising its position in the Southern African region by throwing in its lot with a party like ZANU PF, which is increasingly isolated.

“They wouldn’t want to be associated with a discredited, anarchistic, destructive regime that no longer even has the support of the region,” Peta said. Peta meanwhile welcomed Moyo’s vitriolic attack on Zuma and SADC, saying: “These sentiments reflect the whole party and it continues to push them further out of favour with SADC. This is what campaigners for real change in Zimbabwe have wanted to see for a long time.”


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party made a U-turn on previous criticism it made of South African President Jacob Zuma and the South African Development Community (SADC), according to comments published by state media on Friday.

Mugabe in a speech to party members two weeks ago accused Zuma and the South African Development Community (SADC), the 15-nation regional alliance, of interfering in Zimbabwe’s affairs. State-run media also launched attacks on Zuma, accusing him of ‘bungling’ and being a ‘primitive leader.’

‘Government has never and will never attack SADC. We are friends and allies,’ Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was quoted as telling SADC ambassadors in the Herald newspaper. ‘If there was any attack, it was not from government but from somewhere (sic).’

SADC is the guarantor for Zimbabwe’s two-year-old coalition government between Mugabe and pro-democracy Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Zuma is its official facilitator.

A meeting of the SADC committee on security and politics on March 31 had demanded that Mugabe stop violence, intimidation, hate speech and harassment of opponents.

It also asked him to carry out a wide range of political reforms outlined in the coalition deal he signed Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party, but is accused of refusing to carry out.


In their first public response to Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s campaign to lobby them about violent attacks on his supporters by those of President Robert Mugabe, Southern African leaders have called for an immediate end to “violence, intimidation, hate speech [and] harassment”.

In a communique issued at the end of a summit in Livingstone, Zambia, the security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also expressed its “impatience” at delays of the implementation of the accord which created Zimbabwe’s unity government, and noted its “grave concern [at] the polarization of the political environment as characterized by, inter alia, resurgence of violence, arrests and intimidation”.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who is facilitating SADC mediation of the Zimbabwe crisis, reported on its efforts to other regional leaders, including President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, who chairs the security organ, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique.

Zimbabwe was represented by Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and the deputy prime minister, Arthur Mutambara.

In the weeks leading up to the summit, Tsvangirai toured southern African capitals, complaining at the violence of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and calling for action.

The SADC leaders told Zimbabwe’s unity government that it should implement all the provisions of the Global Political Agreement which set it up, and “create a conducive environment for peace, security, and free political activity”. They also decided to appoint a team of officials to supplement Zuma’s facilitation team and to intensify the monitoring of the implementation of the agreement.


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