Zuma’s pledge to Tsvangirai

tsvangirai__zumaPresident Jacob Zuma has promised Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) that he will take up his complaints about the unity government with President Robert Mugabe and other regional leaders.

Tsvangirai, the leader of the larger faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), met Zuma in Joburg on Sunday and, according to sources, complained about breaches by Mugabe’s Zanu(PF) of the political agreement that the parties signed last year.

This agreement was the framework for the unity government established in February.

Although Zuma and Tsvangirai refused after their meeting to disclose the areas of disagreement, it is understood that Tsvangirai focused on Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of two key officials, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana, which he has refused to reverse.

Another complaint was about Mugabe’s tardiness in implementing an agreement to redistribute provincial governorships – all held by Zanu(PF) appointees – among the three parties in the government.

Tsvangirai had also been expected to complain about Mugabe’s officials arresting at least six of his MPs in what the MDC-T believes is a deliberate campaign to regain the parliamentary majority that Zanu(PF )lost in elections in March 2008.

Several of the MPs have been given sentences of six months or more, leading to their dismissal from parliament and weakening of the MDC-T’s slim majority.

Zuma said at a press briefing with Tsvangirai after their meeting at Luthuli House that Tsvangirai had told him about areas of progress in the inclusive government “and what areas are a little bit difficult”.

He said he was pleased that there had been an agreement on a majority of issues among the three parties in the unity government.

“There are a few issues on which there is disagreement, but these are weighty, important issues, but they don’t seem to be issues that cannot be resolved.”

Zuma said he had told Tsvangirai that former president Thabo Mbeki, the facilitator of the Zimbabwe negotiations, had had a letter briefing him on the situation, and had given his opinion that the outstanding issues were “not deadlocking until the end and that we are actually in a position to move forward”.

“I have indicated to the prime minister that, given his briefing, I will be contacting President Mugabe on the matter as well as (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) Mutambara, (leader of MDC-M) on the issues that the prime minister has raised.

“But I will also contact our colleagues in the region to (tell) them what the prime minister has briefed me on, with the sole aim of saying how we can continue working together to make quick progress in Zimbabwe.”

The regional colleagues to whom Zuma was referring are understood to be the leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is the chief guarantor of the unity government.

The SADC is to hold its annual summit next month, at which it is expected to assess the government’s progress.

Tsvangirai said it had been five months since the establishment of the inclusive government, so he had given Zuma an update “on areas of progress and areas of slow progress”.

He said he was glad Zuma understood the situation and that he would do everything in his power to make sure Zimbabwe moved forward in a positive


The Mercury (SA)

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