Zuma steps up pressure

South African President Jacob Zuma is set to hold talks with the three principals in the unity government next week as part of a fresh offensive to compile a roadmap for free and fair elections.

The international community is relying on President Zuma to force change in Zimbabwe.
The international community is relying on President Zuma to force change in Zimbabwe.

Following this, a team from the SADC Troika will be deployed to join the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee – a suggestion that Mugabe has rejected. If the deadlock continues, a crucial SADC Troika Action Group will have to meet where Zuma will set timelines for the election roadmap.

South Africa broke cover this week in its diplomatic wrangle with Mugabe when South Africa's new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela Zuma, made it clear Pretoria had finally lost patience with Mugabe and his increasingly oppressive regime.

Mugabe on the spot

In a policy dialogue forum organised by political thinktank, SAPES Trust, Ambassador Zuma pledged that the SA President would now put Mugabe on the spot by pushing him to implement all the outstanding issues from the GPA.

"He (President Zuma) shall arrange an interface programme with the political principals and how best we can expedite the full implementation of the GPA and help create conditions for a smooth election in Zimbabwe," he said.

South Africa's new stance will inflame the already combustible stand-off between Harare and Pretoria, blamed by Mugabe for undermining his rule and contriving with Western powers to topple him from power.

Participants to the forum said the tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe was driven by one man's ruthless campaign to hang on to power whatever the process.

"He's making wretched the lives of his people," said one participant.

Zanu position

Zanu (PF) spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the only thing holding up a fresh poll was the Constitution-making process and not the election roadmap.

"Our position as Zanu (PF) is very clear, general elections should be held after the completion of the constitution-making process," Gumbo said.

Zanu (PF) has shot down calls by the MDC to re-staff the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission secretariat which the party says is a "rathole for CIO officers”.

Political commentator Dewa Mavhinga of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said: "Not only should citizens reject elections in the absence of proper, credible reforms, we must demand the implementation of those reforms. Only significant pressure from within will yield desired results, otherwise Zanu (PF) will not voluntarily reform."

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