Zuma to intercede in Zim

2009-08-03 16:06

Johannesburg - South African President Jacob Zuma said on Monday he would intercede with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to try to resolve the "few but very weighty issues" that have marred five months of power-sharing in Zimbabwe.

Zuma was speaking after meeting with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the headquarters of South Africa's ruling African National Congress in downtown Johannesburg.

South Africa currently chairs the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc) political bloc that brokered a power- sharing agreement to end months of post-election violence in Zimbabwe last year.

The agreement, which sees Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) share power for the first time, was implemented in February but the MDC accuses Mugabe of not fulfilling his end of the bargain.

Among the sticking points are Mugabe's refusal to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his alleged cronies to the key posts of central bank governor and attorney general.

A renewed campaign of arrests against MDC members of parliament, which the party claims is a plot by Zanu-PF to overturn the MDC's parliamentary majority, have added to tensions between the parties in recent weeks.

Weighty issues

While refusing to be drawn on the contents of their talks, Zuma said he would be contacting Mugabe "on the issues the prime minister (Tsvangirai) has raised" and would also be briefing his fellow Sadc leaders.

While few, the issues that divided Zanu-PF and the MDC were "very weighty issues, very important", Zuma said, while noting the two parties had already resolved many of their differences.

Tsvangirai meanwhile said he was glad Zuma "understands our situation".

Over the weekend, Zuma met with business leaders in South Africa and a group of Zimbabwean exiles, whom he encouraged to return home.

From South Africa, Tsvangirai will travel to Botswana on Tuesday to meet President Ian Khama, MDC sources told the German Press Agency dpa.

The meetings come ahead of an upcoming Sadc summit in Democratic Republic of Congo in September, where Zimbabwe's peers will review progress in the power-sharing deal.