MDC slates Zuma for accepting Mugabe’s man as ambassador

SOUTH AFRICAN President Jacob Zuma’s receipt of credentials from the new Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko, will “weaken” Zuma’s mediation efforts in the country, says the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).\r\n

The Presidency yesterday confirmed that Mphoko would present his credentials to Zuma on Thursday.

The MDC’s spokesman in South Africa, Austin Moyo, told The New Age that the party was unhappy about Zuma’s decision to allow Mphoko to be in South Africa, describing Zuma’s decision to accept Mphoko’s credentials as “unfair.”

The New Age learnt through the Presidency that Mphoko, who was appointed by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, would be among 10 ambassadors who will present their credentials of appointment to Zuma.

Mugabe also appointed various ambassadors and high commissioners in July, allegedly without consulting MDC leader and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Moyo said Zuma’s acceptance of Mphoko’s credentials would also “disregard” Zimbabwe’s waning Global Political Agreement (GPA).

“Zuma should have actually reinforced what has been agreed between the three principals to say that any embassy that becomes vacant will be taken over by [an appointee of] the MDC until there is a balance in the embassies.

“He should have made sure that whatever was done, Zanu-PF did not act unilaterally on ambassadors outside the agreement.”

Moyo said the GPA, signed in 2008 by Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the two factions of the MDC, the MDC (T) headed by Tsvangirai and MDC (M) headed by Arthur Mutambara, was clear in that any new vacancies for ambassadors and high commissioners would be filled by MDC, and not Zanu-PF, appointees.

“Zuma is actually supporting a unilateral decision taken by Zanu-PF.

“We think that, as a mediator, he is not acting fairly.

“What he should have done was to call all the three principals (Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Mugabe) and find a common solution and actually read them the Riot Act because they made an agreement and now it will be broken,” said Moyo.

Mphoko was appointed in June after former Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, stepped down.

The MDC said Zuma’s mediation efforts would take a blow.

“Mphoko’s appointment actually weakens President Jacob Zuma’s mediation efforts because as a mediator he should act in a way that respects what has been agreed in the past.

“If he acts in a way that does not respect what has been agreed in the past it actually weakens his position as a mediator.

“The agreement was that any embassy that becomes vacant would become an MDC embassy.

“So what we have done in Pretoria is in total disregard of that agreement.

“The MDC will never recognise that ambassador in Pretoria,” said Moyo.