It would appear the South African leader has been so patient with Mugabe and his unwillingness to fully implement the GPA and share power with the MDC that he felt his own credibility was at stake, both at home and abroad.
In several meeting with the three principals in the Zimbabwe unity government, Zuma has been led down the garden path by the wily octogenarian leader. He has told Mugabe that his obstinacy in refusing to implement the power sharing agreement had endangered his economy and that of the region.
The violence Mugabe appears to condone has threatened foreign investment in his own country, and the snowball effect of his indigenisation drive is beginning to be felt in SA.
Zuma's envoy to Harare, Vusi Mavimbela, has made public statements appealing to Mugabe and Zanu (PF) to curb the excesses of his war veterans on land protected by bilateral agreements, as well against other political parties and the independent press.
By last week Zuma's envoy had reached the end of his tether with Mugabe, who had done little in response to the concerns.
In the meantime, Zuma's foreign chief, Lindiwe Zulu has gone public, in language more explicit than ever before – there would be civil conflict if the next election was not held in a free and fair atmosphere and if the independent media was not allowed to play its proper role in covering the campaign.
Stunned by this blow to the chin, Mugabe's spokesman called on Zanu (PF) to send Ambassador Simon Khaya-Moyo to call the fire-fighting SA diplomat to order.
"I would want to believe that the new South African ambassador has made a misstep that is attributable to his newness and nothing else," Charamba wrote under his pseudonym Nathaniel Manheru. "In which case it would really help if the National Chairman of Zanu (PF), himself our former ambassador to the envoy's sending sister State of the Republic of South Africa, can invite the good ambassador for a solidarity chat. A solidarity chat I must emphasise.”
But the government in South Africa made it clear that their President had indeed toughened his stance against the stubborn Mugabe.
What is amazing is that back home in Zimbabwe itself, many of his fellow citizens and even some in his own party, have told Mugabe precisely what Zuma has told him: he is heading for the jagged rocks of political disintegration if he continues on his present wild course.
Everybody who recognises the great potential of Zimbabwe to be a great united country with a booming economy has warned Mugabe to halt his present pursuit of power through violence. But he seems determined to reap the whirlwind of his folly.
Zuma, long the target of domestic criticism for failing to bring President Robert Mugabe to heel, has expressed deep concern about the apparent refusal to follow a SADC-backed election roadmap to ensure a free vote.
He has insisted on the implementation of the election plan without fail, otherwise there will be no fresh poll. This all stands in sharp contrast to his much-maligned "quiet diplomacy" towards Mugabe of the last year.Post published in: News