Zuma in Zim for fresh mediation bid

2010-03-16 15:03

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma was expected in neighbouring Zimbabwe today,

for a three-day visit aimed at resolving the disputes that have hobbled the

country’s power-sharing government for the past year.

The visit is Zuma’s first since he took over as mediator in

Zimbabwe from former president Thabo Mbeki last year, and comes amid growing

pressure on him to take a firm hand with strongman President Robert


Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party in February last year relented to form a

coalition government with the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change

(MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai as a way of rescuing the country from economic


The MDC had won violence-marred elections the previous year.

The unity government did succeed in halting the downward economic

spiral in the first few months but that progress has juddered to a halt as the

parties become bogged down in bickering.

The MDC accuses Zanu-PF of failing to honour its commitments to

implement governance and rights reforms while Zanu-PF accuses the MDC of not

doing enough to have Western countries’ targeted sanctions lifted.

Zuma’s visit comes amid reports of skirmishes between Zanu-PF and

the MDC supporters in the east of the country and a row over the introduction of

new laws on white business ownership.

Under a new indigenisation law gazetted last month by one of

Mugabe’s ministers, without apparently consulting the MDC, companies with assets

of over half-a-million US dollars are required to hand control of the company to

“indigenous” black Zimbabweans.

The law, which came into effect on March 1 but the cabinet is

currently reviewing, would affect several South African mining companies

operating in Zimbabwe.

When he became president last year, Zuma was expected to take a

firmer hand with Mugabe than Mbeki, who had taken a softly-softly approach to

the iron-fisted 86-year-old.

But Zuma, too, has appeared timid. In meetings with Western

leaders, he has been more vocal in support of Mugabe’s campaign to lift

sanctions than the need for further reforms in the country.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.