Zuma In Harare To Review Zimbabwe Talks

Business day said Zuma said before he left for Harare that while he could not “prescribe” to Zimbabweans how to resolve long-standing political and economic problems, progress on the GPA (Global Political Agreement) was crucial.

“Unless we implement, it could jeopardise what needs to be done, especially the final point, which is elections. Tensions could mount and the atmosphere would not be conducive,” he said.

Zuma would not be drawn on whether he would raise concern over apparent threats to “indigenise” companies that could involve South African companies operating there. “ I am not sure … this matter will arise,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe’s decision to strip four ministers from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of their functions and powers have raised tension in the shaky unity government .

Zuma’s visit is the first since he took on the role of facilitator, and his much vaunted skills as a negotiator will be tested.

The formation of an inclusive government last September has been bedevilled by problems, ranging from Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of the attorney-general to the re-arrest of MDC treasurer and Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett last month.

It is understood the South African government would encourage the parties to move ahead and would try to convince the MDC to not get stuck on the three issues that led to the present impasse.

MDC on Monday called on Zuma to unlock the deadlock between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations.

The visit by Zuma comes as Tsvangirai concludes a nation-wide tour to assess the food situation in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in critical need of food aid to avert hunger.

Zuma tried in vain to persuade the British government to end its sanctions on Zimbabwe during his visit to that country early this month. However Britain, USA and the European Union among others have extended sanctions on Zimbabwe, citing human rights abuses and the lack of rule of law.

Reports of violence and intimidation continue unabated in some parts of the country. Tsvangirai heard for himself during his just-ended food assessment tour how villagers are daily living in fear of their lives due to threats by war veterans, Zanu PF militia and in some cases from police and army officers.

Tsvangirai told the villagers to give him the names of perpetrators of violence so he can take up the matter with the ne unity government’s co-Home Affairs Ministers Giles Mutsekwa of MDC and Kembo Mohadi of Zanu PF.

Civic society members have also been threatened while some journalists have been tortured or harassed. Radio VOP/Business Day