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President Zuma to Hold Discussions With Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Thursday


South African President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to hold discussions with Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe in the capital, Harare Thursday.

This will be Zuma's first official state visit to neighboring Zimbabwe as president of South Africa.

He met recently with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and there are reports that Washington expects President Zuma to help resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

Tensions within the unity government have escalated after Prime Minister Morgan Tvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change accused Mugabe's ZANU-PF party of failing to fully implement the agreement that led to the coalition government.

Political analyst Rejoice Mbwenya said that Zimbabweans are expressing worry about the faltering unity government.

"There is a wave of anticipation and optimism because it is very clear that many analysts know that Zuma is not exactly ideologically on the same side as Robert Mugabe. So, we always expect that he is going to say something that is likely to accept some interests from the independent and neutral commentators," Mbwenya said.

Earlier this month, Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held crucial talks with Zuma about cracks that are threatening to undermine the coalition government.

Tensions between Tsvangirai's MDC and Mugabe's ZANU-PF have recently hit a breaking point over the control of security forces and appointments of the Reserve Bank governor as well as the attorney general.

Mugabe has so far refused to rescind his decision to change his choice of both the attorney general and the governor of the Reserve Bank.

Mbwenya said Zimbabweans expect Zuma to discuss the sticky points in the implementation of the agreement that created the unity government.

"We expect that he (Zuma) is going to raise the issue that was raised by Morgan Tsvangirai because Zuma has also got his eyes on 2010 (SADC Chairmanship). So, he needs to be straightforward in terms of explaining to Mugabe that Morgan Tsvangirai had raised some issues that might need attention," Mbwenya said.

He said Zimbabweans are uncomfortable with tensions in the unity government.

"A lot of Zimbabweans are getting agitated now by the seemingly lack of interest in moving forward because we all know that there are specific key indicators that by now should have been visible," he said.

Mbwenya said partisans of ZANU-PF are to blame for the cracks in the unity government.

"People feel that Mugabe and his people are not moving fast enough. Remember that after the death of one or two people in the ZANU-PF, the camp itself is a bit unstable," Mbwenya said.

He said despite the problems facing the unity government, Zimbabweans are hopeful that it will succeed in resolving the economic crisis.

Expectations are high for President Zuma, who currently chairs the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to help resolve tensions in the Zimbabwe unity government.

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