Zuma Shrugs Off MDC-T Concerns On Inclusive Government

Jacob Zuma at a press briefing with Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai earlier today. The South African president says he will speak to Mugabe and Mutambara about the lack of progress on some issues within Zimbabwe's coalition government. He says he will also brief SADC heads of State. And that is all that will happen, apparently.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 03 August 2009

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who is current Chairman of the Southern African Development Community, has essentially shrugged off the concerns raised by Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, in their meeting today.

The meeting was held at Shell House, the ANC Headquarters.

After the meeting, Zuma told journalists that he would be contacting Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, President "The Solution" Mugabe and other SADC Heads of State to "brief" them.

Zuma said he was "very happy" with the progress made by the Coalition government in Zimbabwe so far. This echoes Tsvangirai's own repeated words of contentment with his role in government, a government he says is "a train without a reverse gear."

It appears there is no urgency to the matter as far as Zuma and SADC are concerned.

Even though the MDC-T has previously said that SADC would convene a summit to discuss Zimbabwe (the summit was supposed to be held last month, according to what the MDC-T told the media), Zuma made it clear that he was not going to convene a summit.

His promise to speak to Mutambara and to Mugabe only reveals that what I have been telling you for some months now is the correct position:

Zuma and SADC insist that all the parties to the agreement, as well as JOMIC, the internal monitoring body for the Inclusive Government, have to agree that there is a stalemate on any issue before it is referred to the regional body.

Mugabe and Mutambara insist that "it is too early to declare a stalemate" and have made this position public. JOMIC remains a toothless body which, just last week, complained that its operations were being hampered by "lack of funds".

It is almost certain that, when contacted, both Mugabe and Mutambara will insist that there is no stalemate and that all issues are being resolved according to the letter of the agreement.

The other SADC will only be told by Zuma what Tsvangirai says and that will be the end of the matter.

Tsvangirai himself, in briefing journalists, was careful to avoid saying he had tabled "outstanding issues" to Zuma. Instead, he says he briefed Zuma on the "progress" of the Global Political Agreement and the Inclusive Government.

Within the MDC-T, there has long been suspicion that Tsvangirai is pursuing an agenda more aligned to his new "special relationship" with Mugabe. He disagreed with the decision to send a letter of complaint to SADC and in fact dragged his feet on doing this until his party forced his hand two weeks after the resolution at Macheke Stadium.

So, as far as SADC is concerned right now, there are NO outstanding issues and only issues that are not being implemented as quickly as the MDC-T would like.

They have no way of relating Mugabe's dragging of feet to his strategy of waiting until September 15 so that he can contest by-elections against the MDC-T and wipe out thei majority in parliament, at which point the basis for the distribution of posts will become obsolete and Mugabe can, once again, do as he pleases, saying he has the majority in parliament to do this.

Nothing has changed, then.


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