Following a failed bid by his ZANU-PF party to remove South African President Jacob Zuma as mediator in Zimbabwe's perennial political crisis, President Robert Mugabe has declared that he and his negotiators will only deal with Mr. Zuma and not with his team of facilitators who have been shuttling between Pretoria and Harare for months.
ZANU-PF had called for Mr. Zuma to step down as mediator, arguing that the role was in conflict with his new status as troika chairman. But the summit rejected the argument.
On his return to Harare from this week's Southern African Development Community summit in Angola, Mr. Mugabe said he rejects the summit resolution urging SADC's troika on politics, defense and security to name three officials to work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee to ensure compliance with the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing that is the basis of the unity government.
President Mugabe told reporters in Harare that sending a team to work with JOMIC amounts to interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. Sources said Mr. Mugabe tried but failed to block the summit’s appointment of the delegation.
From Pretoria, meanwhile, Mr. Zuma signaled that SADC leaders have had enough of the political impasse in Harare. "SADC feels we need to resolve the Zimbabwean issue because we are running out of time," Mr. Zuma said.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that SADC must know its limitations when dealing with a sovereign state.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, negotiator for the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, accused ZANU-PF of being insincere and trying to frustrate President Zuma in his mediation.
The same sentiments were echoed by negotiator Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the MDC formation headed by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, who noted that the negotiators for the power-sharing parties agreed JOMIC needs to be reinforced.
Zimbabwean civil society organizations, meanwhile, welcomed the results of the SADC summit, noting that it upheld its previous resolutions, as Benedict Nhlapho reported.
Elsewhere, in mourning ceremonies Friday at the rural home of the late Solomon Mujuru, a former commander of liberation forces and the national army who died in a fire at his Beatrice Farm Tuesday, ZANU-PF's Mashonaland East provincial chairman urged his members to win back seats lost to the MDC to honor the deceased.
Reporter Thomas Chiripasi reported from Sadza district.