Zuma to tackle Zim's concerns

2009-08-27 17:01

Cape Town - South African President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday he would discuss concerns over Zimbabwe's unity government raised by the new prime minister, when he meets leaders of the neighbouring country.

Zuma was due to leave South Africa on Thursday afternoon for a two-day visit to meet veteran President Robert Mugabe and his partner in the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

"I am going to Zimbabwe on invitation," Zuma told reporters in parliament.

"But of course the fact of the matter is the prime minister had come here to raise certain issues," he said. "Certainly I will also have to raise those issues with the leaders in Zimbabwe."

Another setback

Tsvangirai visited Zuma earlier this month and complained about a crackdown on members of his Movement for Democratic Change, including arrests of its lawmakers and harassment of ordinary members.

Zimbabwe's political rivals formed a unity government in February in a deal brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki. But they remain deadlocked notably over the appointment of the Reserve Bank chief and the attorney general.

Mugabe's party, however, blames western sanctions for undermining the government and sees the MDC concerns as a distraction, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said earlier on Thursday.

The unity government suffered another setback last weekend when Mugabe-aligned ministers walked out of a cabinet meeting meant to review the performance of the fledgling government.