Zuma, Mugabe collide


President Robert Mugabe is on a collision course with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma as the Zimbabwean leader insists there is no need for reforms despite a pledge to Sadc that he would implement key reforms.

Report by Staff Reporter

Zuma, the mediator to the Zimbabwean crisis, insists that Zimbabwe should reform before credible elections are held, but Mugabe has remained obstinate, insisting that there was no need for reforms.

The South African President’s international affairs adviser Lindiwe Zulu yesterday reiterated that they hoped the courts would extend the election period as Sadc favoured a delayed poll.

She said she was hoping the court would be sensitive to the process of the resolution of some of the tensions in the build-up to elections.

“We hope the court will approve the extension for at least a month because a lot of the new reforms are mentioned in the new Constitution,” Zulu told Bloomberg.

“Considering that elections are around the corner, there must be enough time to implement at least the basic reforms to prevent a repeat of 2008.”

The 2008 elections produced a disputed outcome that was characterised by violence and intimidation.

“Some of the reforms needed before elections can take place are a conducive environment for electioneering,” Zulu said. “There must be free political activity where there’s no intimidation and violence. All political parties, even beyond the three who are party to the Global Political Agreement, must have the freedom to run in the elections without any harassment.”

Among key reforms that Sadc wants implemented before polls are security sector realignment and media reforms. But Mugabe insists that there is no need for reforms, setting him on a collision course with Sadc and Zuma.

“Which reforms? They want us to destroy the army for example. They don’t want the army as it is,” he said in an interview with Namibia’s New Era.

“They complain about the media and the media, you know, look at this paper it has: ‘Intra-party violence dogs MDC,’ this is what they don’t want about The Herald.”

The Zanu PF leader’s coalition partners accuse senior army officials of being partisan towards Mugabe, arguing that this undermined democracy. Despite telling

Sadc that he would ask the securocrats to make statements indicating their neutrality, Mugabe said he could not tamper with the army.

“Then, who really is there to say the army as it is, is not well organised? It must have another . . . there must be another arrangement and certain persons must go, certain commanders . . . you don’t play with the army that way,” he said.

“Every one of the commanders from the police, air force, army, then combined forces, prison service, they all are commanders deriving from the struggle.

“All of them, they fought the struggle. (Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai ran away from the struggle. He actually ran away.”

Mugabe also said there was no need to extend the election date from July 31, which he proclaimed unilaterally, despite again reassuring Sadc that this was the best course of action.

“Yes, we approached the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, for it to make a decision at the request of those who wanted an extension,” he said.

“But we didn’t want an extension as Zanu PF, no, and so our Justice minister just facilitated the others if they want to make their request . . . appeals to the court to do so.”