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Time to get tough on Bob

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    Mail & Gurdian

    President Jacob Zuma is set to ask the Southern African Development Community to drop Thabo Mbeki as its mediator in Zimbabwe.

    It is a sign that South Africa’s stance on its northern neighbour has shifted.

    Observers said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will find there is a new sheriff in town when Zuma visits his country soon.Zuma is expected to visit Zimbabwe in response to an invitation from the Zimbabwean government, but an official state visit is not yet on the cards.

    Those around him said this week that he is keen to deal with the Zimbabwean situation as quickly as possible, in part to stem the flow of refugees to South Africa, but also to show Mugabe that Mbeki’s softly-softly approach is a thing of the past. They said Zuma is in contact with Mbeki about Zimbabwe, but that the relationship is “uncomfortable” and it would be better if the former president were out of the picture.

    Mbeki’s loss of domestic power also means he is taken less seriously in multilateral forums such as SADC, which gives Mugabe some leeway, some people fear.

    Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and Zimbabwe’s prime minister, visited Zuma last week at Luthuli House to complain about the lack of progress in implementing the settlement agreement signed in Zimbabwe late last year.

    Tsvangirai is said to have complained about Mugabe’s disregard for clauses in the agreement concerning the removal of central bank governor
    Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana, the attorney general. He also apparently complained that the public service is stalling the approval of key appointments in his office.

    Zuma is expected to be tough on Mugabe, despite a personal relationship formed in Mozambique during the struggle era. “Zuma will not allow Mugabe to parade him in front of everyone and say ‘This is my friend’,” said a close aide.

    Zuma is adamant that he must meet the leader of the other MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, before he meets Mugabe, so he is well briefed to confront Mugabe with the critical issues. “Zuma is fed up. He wants to see this thing moving,” the aide said, adding that the main contrast with the Mbeki era was that Zuma “takes Tsvangirai seriously”. Thabo used to think Tsvangirai [was] politically immature.