DA leader Athol Trollip told reporters the threat to prosecute Mugabe for human rights abuses including torture would be the last option of a five-part plan to speed up a peaceful resolution of the Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
"The DA will, where appropriate, exert legal and political pressure on Zimbabwe itself," Trollip said.
"Until President Robert Mugabe is removed from politics, possibly through an amnesty agreement for him and his henchmen, free and fair elections cannot be staged. Should President Mugabe fail to commit to such an agreement, the DA will seek to bring him before the International Criminal Court to be tried for human rights abuses and acts of torture committed during his rule."
Without the protection of his position and his government, Mugabe could be held to account for atrocities in Matabeleland soon after he came to power as well as for human rights abuses since a referendum on his constitutional proposals in 2000 demonstrated the extent to which he had lost popular support.
Mugabe was widely reported to be considering retirement with an indemnity from prosecution about six years ago when former Liberian leader Charles Taylor was arrested in Nigeria, where he had been living under the terms of a 2003 amnesty deal, and ended up on trial in The Hague.
South Africa’s support for Zimbabwe’s government of national unity had thrown Mugabe a political lifeline, Trollip said.
"By abusing state resources for political gain, retaining control of key components of the state, such as the military, and failing to comply with the provisions of the GPA (global political agreement), President Mugabe has, using a combination of violence, rhetoric and deft political maneuvering, staged a successful political comeback," he said.
Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was reported this week to have told President Jacob Zuma he had lost his appetite for power sharing and wanted to return to running the country without any regard to Morgan Tsvangerai’s Movement for Political Change.
The country is scheduled to hold elections early next year after agreement on a new constitution, but Mugabe has baulked at implementing almost all the obligations of the GPA, which was supported by South Africa and other countries in the region.
"The South African government needs to move towards playing a central role in positively shaping Zimbabwe’s political fortunes and galvanising support from SADC and the (African Union) to compel the GNU to work towards democratic reform," Trollip said.
He said the DA would launch a campaign early next year to draw attention to Zimbabwe’s plight and would update its own 2009 "roadmap to democracy in Zimbabwe".
The DA would crank up the pressure on South Africa as well as regional and continental organisations to ensure that free and fair elections are held soon.
Trollip said the party would, at the same time, increase the pressure on Zuma to deal more effectively with the Zimbabwean coalition partners to ensure that all of them stick to their promises.
He said the DA would continue to support targeted sanctions against Zimbabwean leaders until there was concrete evidence of significant movement towards a credible election.
The DA’s final tactic would be to exert legal and political pressure on Zimbabwe itself, including the threat of Migabe’s prosecution. – Times Live