Observers say they are encouraged at a report saying South African President Jacob Zuma warned in a recent report to the Southern African Development Community troika of the danger of widespread "upheavals" in Zimbabwe if democratic reform is blocked.
The Sunday Times of South Africa said that report went first to the SADC troika that met in Livingstone, Zambia, then to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara in the past few days.
Zambian President Rupiah Banda issued a similar warning in his opening remarks as host of the meeting of the SADC troika on politics, defense and security. But coming from Mr. Zuma, president of the region's most powerful state, they carry even greater weight.
The side of the Harare government controlled by President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party has shown itself to be nervous about contagion effects from the stunning wave of popular revolutions that overturned authoritarian governments across North Africa.
Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean political analyst Walter Nsununguli Mbongolwane told reporter Chris Gande that Zuma’s assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe is on target.