Zuma warns Mugabe of revolts, upheavals

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has warned of revolts like those in North Africa and "unprecedented upheavals" if reforms are not implemented in Zimbabwe.

It was a warning contained in a damning report, which the Sunday Times has seen, handed to President Robert Mugabe and his partners in the unity government this week.

In the report, which was presented to the recent SADC Troika on the Zimbabwean situation in Livingstone, Zambia, Zuma admonishes the three partners in the global political agreement for failing to implement positions agreed during his mediation in the Zimbabwe crisis.

An angry-looking and frustrated Mugabe left that summit in Zambia and reportedly told a meeting of Zanu-PF’s central committee that Zuma had no business telling him what to do.

Zuma said the revolts in North Africa – where dictators in Egypt and Tunisia were toppled and where Libya’s Muammar Gaddaf i was under siege – reveal the need and importance of a speedy resolution to the Zimbabwean problem.

Zuma’s frank assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe also angered one of Mugabe’s chief spin doctors, Jonathan Moyo, who cast aspersions about the South African leader’s mediation in the crisis.

The report cites Zuma as having told the meeting that the situation in Zimbabwe could no longer be tolerated and that talk of fresh elections was counterproductive.

Zuma said once the international community’s attention shifted from the problems in North Africa and the Arab world, indications were that Zimbabwe would be the next focal point.

"It is time the SADC must speak with one voice in impressing to all the parties concerned that the situation can no longer be tolerated.

"The focus that Zimbabwean parties have placed on elections without creating the necessary climate for those elections is an unfortunate sidetrack," Zuma stressed in the document.

"The fact that Zimbabwean parties are in electioneering mode, and are more and more agitating for the holding of elections, while they have not done enough groundwork towards ensuring that the building blocks and institutions are firmly in place towards the holding of free, fair and democratic elections, is counterproductive."

Zuma said elections could not be held in the current environment as it was characterised by violence, intimidation and fear.

Despite widespread opposition from Movement for Democratic Change formations and from other Zimbabwe politicians, Zanu-PF has said that conditions in the country are conducive for polls that it says must be held this year.

If Zimbabwe proceeded with the polls, it might find itself in a worse situation than in 2008 when there was a lot of bloodshed in the country, Zuma said in the report.

He continued that there was a "lack of political will" to move the process forward by implementing issues that had so far been agreed.

"While the media commission has been established, the biggest challenge is that the board of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has not been appointed, nor has the Media Trust been constituted.

"Those matters, including the absence of enabling legislation, restrict the media commission in discharging its functions."

Zuma said there should be unbiased and equal access to the print and electronic media for all political parties and the right of reply for all aggrieved persons.

Zuma found issue with Zimbabwe’s failure to constitute important commissions such as the land audit, the anti-corruption commission and the absence of an enabling law for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

On targeted sanctions, Zuma said the call for their removal by all parties was not happening consistently and regularly. – TimesLive