Mugabe to meet Zuma today

jacob_zuma_presidentHARARE - President Mugabe has left for South Africa for a meeting with his counterpart President Jacob Zuma (pictured) ahead of a crucial SADC summit tomorrow.

Mugabe has mounted an international political lobby to improve his image ahead of the crucial summit that is set to define Zimbabwe’s future.
A delegation of the President’s attack dogs, led by Prof Jonathan Moyo has been in South Africa since Tuesday to counter the “misunderstandings” and “recriminations” that Mugabe blames for his portrayal as a despot and for his country’s growing international isolation. The delegation also includes other Zanu PF officials such as Tafataona Mahoso and Goodson Nguni. The move is the latest attempt by Mugabe to sideline his critics ahead of the summit, whom he has
accused of unwarranted attacks on him. The president has run a violent campaign to intimidate political opponents and has banned foreign investment in the Zimbabwean media to keep out “colonialist views”.
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba confirmed the meeting with President Zuma. “He will be meeting with President Zuma on Friday afternoon,” Charamba said. Mugabe’s reputation in the regional bloc has been in freefall since he was accused of encouraging violence and refusing to share power in contempt of SADC. His Zanu-PF party is said to have orchestrated the killing, torture and beating of opponents. Mugabe has said the accusations are lies and that he is the victim of an organised campaign that is depriving Zimbabwe of foreign aid and investment.
The meeting with President Zuma is important because the South African President has taken a hard line stance and insisted on the full implementation of the GPA. He has rejected moves by Mugabe to go for an early election before the necessary political reforms.
The agenda for Mugabe’s meeting are still sketchy. But the meeting comes amid mounting pressure on the 87-year-old President.
There are firm indications that the summit tomorrow is set to censure the octogenarian for abusing his coalition partners and showing open disdain and contempt for SADC.
The summit tomorrow has flagged the Zimbabwe issue as the major item on the agenda although it will also deliberate on the proposed Free Trade Area.
At least four dossiers will be tabled before the summit, a review of the GPA, the Draft Election Roadmap, a report by the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee on political violence and other toxic issues arising from the GPA and a facilitators report crafted at a workshop held in Cape Town charting the way forward.

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