Zumas meek Zim mediation role slammed

jacob_zuma3South Africas President Jacob Zuma (Pictured) is facing intense criticism for his handling of Zimbabwes political crisis, with his main opposition accusing him of taking a meek approach to Robert Mugabe.

Zuma is the regionally appointed mediator in Zimbabwe, taking over the role from former President Thabo Mbeki, in what many hoped would be a positive move towards change. Mbekis softly-softly approach towards Mugabes refusal to loosen his grip on the country was even criticised by Zuma, before Zuma became president.

But Zuma has failed to live up to expectations that he would take a harder line with Mugabe, and his political opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has said he is even worse than Mbeki. The DAs parliamentary leader, Athol Trollip, said this week that there is no indication that he has done anything more than Mbeki. In fact there is every indication that he has done less. Trollip told SW Radio Africa that Zuma is walking the same path of quiet diplomacy that Mbeki paved, when dealing with Mugabe. The DA official said that Zuma has done a complete about turn over the situation, after calling for a more robust policy before he became the countrys leader.

Zuma now allows Mugabe to cock a snook at the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and Mugabe carries on like there is no Agreement at all, Trollip said. He explained that Zumas meek approach towards the political crisis in Zimbabwe will have serious consequences for South Africa and the rest of the region. Of course there are far reaching consequences. It has an effect on our elections; it has an effect on regional stability. Mugabe is a serious challenge to all of that, Trollip said.

The DA on Tuesday presented its plan for democratic reform in Zimbabwe, and expressed grave concerns that the GPA has done nothing more than give Mugabe a political life-line. The party said that both the South African government and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leadership have refused to challenge Mugabes despotic behaviour, to the point that Zimbabwe is facing a real crisis.

The DAs five-point plan includes ongoing support for targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime, and pressure on Zuma to end his tacit support for the dictator. The plan also calls for Mugabes removal from politics before free or fair elections are possible. Trollip said that the DA will attempt to take Mugabe before the International Criminal Court if he does not agree to step down.

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