Southern African Development Community and South African officials have rebuffed hardliners in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party who say President Jacob Zuma should recuse himself from mediating Zimbabwe's political crisis as he will soon head SADC’s troika on politics, defense and security.
ZANU-PF hardliners led by former information minister Jonathan Moyo maintain there is a conflict of interest between the two roles Mr. Zuma will soon hold.
Sources said Mr. Zuma's ZANU-PF critics propose to approach SADC leaders to demand Mr. Zuma step down as mediator in Zimbabwe. Officials in Pretoria say the hardliners should register a complaint with the regional body if they believe there is an issue.
In Harare, the state-controlled, pro-ZANU PF Herald newspaper has floated the notion that another former regional leader should replace Mr. Zuma.
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that any aggrieved party must follow the proper channels.
Zuma foreign affairs adviser Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson for the South African facilitation team that has been shuttling between Pretoria and Harare for months, took the same line as Salomão, adding that Mr. Zuma sees no conflict of interest in his dual roles.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in a statement issued Wednesday called the complaint by the ZANU-PF hardliners baseless while urging SADC to flex its muscles on alleged human rights abuses in Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga said Mr. Zuma’s no-nonsense approach is raising the ire of ZANU-PF hardliners.
Elsewhere, Co-Minister of Home Affairs Teresa Makone has urged the arrest of army Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba over his recent political declarations, among them remarks calling Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a "security threat."
Sources said Makone issued the call for his arrest at a weekend rally in Kwekwe, Midlands, of the Tsvangirai formation of the Movement for Democratic Change.
They quoted her as saying Nyikayaramba should be charged with attempting to incite mutiny and violating the constitution.
Makone confirmed to VOA reporter Violet Gonda that she made the statement. But she declined to repeat it, saying she does not want to trivialize the issue.
Political commentator Ibbo Mandasa said the brigadier’s declarations are contrary to the Defense Act regarding military conduct, but no one has the courage to stand up to him.