South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday criticized the Zimbabwean ruling and opposition parties locked power-sharing talks as “lackadaisical” in that effort, urging them to push on more energetically to launch a long-delayed national unity government.
Motlanthe, currently chairman of the Southern African Development Community, spoke out as it emerged President Robert Mugabe had shot down a proposal by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to meet one-on-one in the presence of Mr. Motlanthe.
Mugabe spokesman George Charamba told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the president does not want to meet with Tsvangirai and Mr. Motlanthe as that would undermine the mediation role still held by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change has accused Mbeki of holding a brief for Mr. Mugabe, whereas some observers believe Mr. Motlanthe would be more inclined to push the Zimbabwean president to go further in sharing his powers with Tsvangirai.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe’s stance places Tsvangirai in a dilemma.