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Zuma's Domestic Affairs Scuttle Discussions on Zimbabwe

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders shelved Tuesday full discussions on Zimbabwe after South African president Jacob Zuma failed to travel to Tanzania for a meeting saying he is taking care of some domestic issues.

The meeting of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security was called specifically to deal with the dispute between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

But Troika chair, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, told reporters that the organ was also keen to tackle Harare’s stalled constitution-making process.

Regional leaders have expressed concern at the slow pace of reforms in Zimbabwe. Mozambican president Armando Guebuza is attending the meeting in his capacity as SADC chairman.

The other leaders in attendance are Troika members Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and South Africa represented by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula.

The two MDC formations last week referred the deadlock over the parliamentary draft constitution to Mr. Zuma in line with resolutions of the regional body’s Maputo summit last month.

They accuse President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF of stalling the constitution-making proces by rejecting the agreed draft document.

Mr. Zuma's aide, Lindiwe Zulu, told VOA that President Zuma failed to travel to Tanzania as he had a special cabinet session.

Zulu added that a decision on the way foward in Harare has been made and Mr. Zuma is to communicate it to Harare’s three principals.

Sources though said Mr. Zuma and Mr. Kikwete might travel to Harare soon to engage the three principals - President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.

Law lecturer Alex Magaisa of Kent University said SADC leaders must be firm with President Robert Mugabe to ensure that there are democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.