Visiting Maputo for the first time since he was stripped of the South
African Presidency, Mbeki told reporters on Friday that the work on
drafting the constitutional amendment has been completed, and now it is
simply a matter of the Zimbabwean parliament approving it.
Mbeki, who is still the facilitator on Zimbabwe for SADC (Southern
African Development Community), said that once the constitution was
amended, the new government of national unity with members appointed by
both the ruling ZANU-PF (which lost the March elections) and the
Movement for Democratic Change (which won) can be set up.
"You know that SADC agreed at its last extraordinary summit that the
Zimbabwean parties should draw up amendments to the constitution in
order to apply the agreements that have been reached", he said. "The
amendment has been drafted and the main thing now is to approve the
The power sharing agreement reached in September envisages MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai becoming Prime Minister – yet this post does not
exist under the Zimbabwean constitution. The amendment will introduce
the posts of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
Mbeki also insisted that the solution to the Zimbabwean crisis lies in
the hands of Zimbabweans themselves and that nobody else should make
demands on them. "The parties think and have decided that what is
important for them is to work together to form an inclusive government
and seek together to solve the problems of Zimbabwe", he said.
Here Mbeki is swimming against the tide, with an increasing
international clamour, not merely from European and American
politicians, but also from African leaders such as the Botswanan
government and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, demanding that 84
year old President Robert Mugabe should retire from the Zimbabwean
Mbeki only took a handful of questions and said nothing about the
cholera epidemic sweeping Zimbabwe, which has led the South African
government to declare an emergency along its border with Zimbabwe.
Mbeki spoke after a meeting with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza.
No details of the meeting were made public. Mozambican Foreign Minister
Oldemiro Baloi merely said they two men spoke of "peace and security"
in the region.