Mugabe takes war with Zuma to SADC summitBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Monday, August 20 2012 at 16:47
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has renewed attacks on his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, accusing him of interfering in the country’s internal politics and thus "abusing" his role as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) facilitator.
The unprecedented attack followed the rejection by the SADC summit in Maputo, Mozambique, of a bid by President Robert Mugabe to keep deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara in his post after he was recalled by his party last year.
Prof Mutambara lost the leadership of the smaller formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Industry and Trade minister Welshman Ncube.
The minister – whose son is married to President Zuma’s daughter – has been battling to replace the DPM as a principal in the coalition government to represent his party after President Mugabe refused to appoint him.
But Prof Ncube received a boost after the South African leader refused to entertain Prof Mutambara during a visit to assess the power-sharing agreement in Harare before his stance was endorsed by the summit.
Zanu-PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo described the move by President Zuma as “illegal, unconstitutional, intrusive and impolitic.”
"Mr Zuma used his much-awaited night visit to Harare ostensibly to review [coalition] progress ahead of Friday’s SADC summit in Maputo to unilaterally install Welshman Ncube, who is also an in-law of his, as a [coalition] principal in a manner that shockingly violated Zimbabwe’s constitution and sovereignty,” he wrote in the state owned Sunday Mail newspaper.
“Welshman Ncube has had his say on the Copac draft constitution as one of its drafters.
“He must now let the [coalition] principals do their work unhindered and he certainly must refrain from pushing his in-laws in South Africa to bid for his politically hopeless and illegal cause.”
Giving a brief on what transpired leading to the SADC decision, Prof Ncube said President Mugabe was told by Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Botswana President Ian Khama that he was violating the power-sharing agreement by protecting Prof Mutambara.
“When President Mugabe sought to draw a distinction between party leaders and GPA (Global Political Agreement) principals, the summit firmly rejected that distinction insisting that Mutambara did not sign the GPA in his personal capacity but in his representative capacity as the leader of the MDC,” he said.
“By the end of the day even President Mugabe was forced to concede that on political matters, such as that of the negotiations for a new constitution, he was duty bound to deal with the MDC leadership as elected at the party congress.”
“Only President Michael Sata of Zambia argued that the issue of Mutambara was an internal issue which should not concern SADC.”
The regional body has been mediating in the Zimbabwean talks since 2007 when SADC appointed former South African President Thabo Mbeki to be the facilitator.
A deal was brokered in 2008 and President Mugabe formed an inclusive government the following year.
President Mugabe last year threatened to reject President Zuma as the facilitator claiming he was biased against Zanu-PF.
- Why Obama is visiting Tanzania
- Kisumu, where some folks are eating well, while others are going hungry
- Another politician for the Kenya Cabinet
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Achebe’s body arrives home
- Eritrea's Afeworki: reviled and revered ex-rebel
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Equatorial Guinea to finance key Liberian projects
- After Berlin Man, two reported cured of HIV in Kenya
Beyond the ballot