Zuma Zooms to Zim

August 31, 2009

First off, apologies for the title. I couldn’t stop myself. That being said, South African President Jacob Zuma traveled to Zimbabwe last week for either one of two reasons, depending on who you were asking. According to South Africa and the current majority political party MDC, Zuma was there in his role as Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), guarantors of Zimbabwe’s unity government, to encourage resolution on outstanding issues of contention between MDC and the former ruling party ZANU-PF regarding the political agreement structuring the unity government. However, according to President Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF, Zuma was only in town to open an agricultural show.

Zuma met privately with the three signatories to Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement (GPA)-President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara-and offered absolutely nothing productive to break the on going stalemate, which is pretty much as expected. Despite prior assurances that he would speak strongly against any “deviant behavior,” he failed to hold any of the signatories accountable for the continuing human rights violations in Zimbabwe or demand an immediate resolution to the political difficulties hampering the State. In the meantime, Mutambara of MDC-M is facing increasing difficulties as he is challenged within his own party and heckled by the official State paper.

SADC meets this week in Kinshasa, DRC where the Chair will transitition to President Kabila, who has failed dismally in managing catastrophic human rights violations within his own borders. But you can do you part to let SADC and President Kabila know you are watching what happens in Zimbabwe by sending a message to the SADC leadership urging them to protect women in Zimbabwe.