Zuma refuses to budge on Zanu PF whinge

HARARE – In a firm rebuff of Zanu PF’s recent discordant statements on the Global Political Agreement (GPA), it was made clear last night that President Jacob Zuma is neither entertaining changing his approach to the Zimbabwe political crisis nor the make-up of his facilitation team.

Pretoria’s strong reaction and its confirmation of its position on the GPA and the long-running political crisis in Zimbabwe follows recent statements by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, in which they have agitated for a unilateral and premature end to the inclusive government – as well as moved, ill-advisedly, to rubbish members of Zuma’s facilitation team to the GPA.

A well-placed source in Pretoria said last night that notwithstanding Zanu PF’s “endless and dumbfounding provocation” of Zuma, the South African president remained focused on resolving Zimbabwe’s decade-old political crisis “whatever this will take”.

“The president (Zuma) has taken note of all the developments, the inconsistent moves and utterances (by Zanu PF) of the past few weeks and he is not happy. The important thing though is that he will not be distracted by this noise from his mission and Sadc mandate to help the people of Zimbabwe, not just some individuals.

“To this end too, it has not even crossed the president’s mind to change the make-up of his facilitation team to the GPA. His approach remains that all the GPA’s outstanding issues must be resolved mutually by all the parties to the GPA without further delay and destructive politicking. Only at the end of this process can legitimate and credible elections be held in the country.

“Anything that does not support this position and mandate is not on the president’s agenda and he will neither entertain it nor be swayed by it. He says it is time to end this unnecessary strife,” the source said.

Pretoria’s fresh affirmation of its stance on the Zimbabwe crisis and the GPA comes amid fears that negotiations towards an election roadmap could grind to a halt due to Zanu PF’s intransigence.

Apart from insulting Zuma repeatedly and throwing incomprehensible brickbats at members of his facilitation team, particularly its spokesperson Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu, who is also Zuma’s international relations adviser, Zanu PF has virtually sought to reverse all agreements made to date within the GPA context.

And contrary to the wishes of the former ruling party’s partners in the inclusive government, the party wants to force through an early election – and is no longer willing to negotiate crucial elements of the roadmap to democracy such as electoral and security sector reforms.

This has meant that progress has been slow and difficult. This will see Sadc leaders meeting again to deliberate on the Zimbabwe crisis in Johannesburg mid-next month.

“The roadmap, as with the entire negotiations process is a Sadc baby and cannot be abandoned at the whims of Mugabe. We wait for the summit (the June 11 meeting) on Zimbabwe to push forward our agenda. But what is clear is that we will reject any proposals to drop the roadmap,” said MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora last night.

Mugabe’s decision to abandon the elections roadmap that is almost complete is contained in a document that the party unsuccessfully tried to smuggle into last week’s Sadc summit in Namibia.

Edwin Mushoriwa, vice president of the smaller MDC faction, said Zanu PF’s “about face” on issues already agreed on was stalling progress.

“We want the matter to be resolved by fully implementing the GPA and we uphold the decision that was made by the Sadc troika in Livingstone Zambia. We are expecting Sadc to press upon Mugabe to continue participating in the crafting of a roadmap. Security sector reforms should also remain on the agenda,” he said.

Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said: “We are not going to change our position on the issues we want to be discussed. The MDC are demanding the security sector reform and that is not going to happen,’’ he said. – Daily News