Zuma frets over Zim political dialogue

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HARARE – South African President Jacob Zuma has vowed to maintain tough mediation on Zimbabwe as dates for elections draw closer.

In his state of the nation address, Zuma, the Sadc-appointed mediator said the region will maintain the spotlight on President Robert Mugabe and his coalition partners, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube.

“South Africa will continue supporting Africa’s peace efforts including through mediation, troop contribution for peace-keeping, and by providing material and financial assistance,” Zuma said.

“In this regard, we look forward to the conclusion of political dialogues in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.”

The completion of the constitution-making process, as required by the Global Political Agreement (GPA), will ultimately lead to polls where Sadc is yet again expected to play a major role.

The cash-strapped coalition has already gone begging for a massive $250 million from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Zuma has refused to give Mugabe preferential treatment notwithstanding Zanu PF and the ANC’s lon- shared liberation history.

“I deal with issues as they come as ANC and as an individual,” Zuma said in a recent interview.

“What we need in Zimbabwe is to ensure that Zimbabwe is democratic, that’s why we talk to all of them, let the Zimbabwean people decide which party leads them. We can’t interfere.”

Botswana’s President Ian Khama, a fierce critic of Mugabe,  is pushing Sadc to send observers ahead of polls amid fears that Mugabe might yet again use violence to win elections.

Khama said those responsible for the “brutality and intimidation” of the bloody 2008 elections which led to the formation of a unity government, have not been brought to book.

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