LILONGWE — President Robert Mugabe has reportedly apologised to South African President Jacob Zuma’s international affairs advisor Lindiwe Zulu for calling her a “street woman”.
Sources said Mugabe made the apology during one of the closed door Sadc summit meetings on Saturday as the 89-year-old went on a charm offensive to mend bridges after his disputed July 31 elections victory. The summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi, from Saturday ended yesterday.
Mugabe, who at a campaign rally in July appealed to Zuma to rein in Zulu reportedly gushed: “I love you Ms Lindiwe. I love you. I don’t hate you.
“It was a time when everyone was campaigning and one can do anything in order to win the elections.”
Zulu, who did not attend the meeting, said she was surprised to hear that Mugabe apologised for the remarks that were condemned as chauvinistic. In an interview with Southern Eye, Zulu said her involvement in Zuma’s mediation role in Zimbabwe taught her some very important lessons in life.
“I wasn’t in the meeting, but everyone is telling me that I missed my love letter,” she said. Zuma, who spoke to Zulu in the presence of this reporter, conveyed Mugabe’s apology.
“You missed your new love proposal from Mugabe yesterday (Saturday), but well he now loves you,” Zuma said.
Zulu also said she was not deterred to do her work by Mugabe who wanted a win-win situation.
“We were supposed to do our work impartially and Mugabe felt we were doing it the wrong way,” she said. “Our wish was to see the roadmap implemented only.”
Mugabe often complained that Zuma’s mediation team was interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs everytime the South Africans openly demanded that South Africa must fulfil its obligations in the Global Political Agreement.
At the summit, Zuma presented a report on ZImbabwe, his office said yesterday. South Africa started the facilitation role in 2008.
Meanwhile, Mugabe was yesterday elected Sadc deputy chairperson in what is seen as part of efforts to rehabilitate Zimbabwe after the country held a peaceful election in July 31.
Sources said Sadc member States unanimously agreed to give the post to Zimbabwe.
This post means Harare will become part of the Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Co-operation.
The post also means Zimbabwe will host the next Sadc summit in 2014.