South Africa's new President Jacob Zuma
is coming under criticism after his administration refused to release a dubious
report that alleged military complicity in Zimbabwe's post-election violence
The alleged involvement, which was supposedly instigated by former
President Thabo Mbeki, was conducted by retired army generals as Zimbabwe's
violence left scores dead.But
President Zuma's office has rejected requests to
release the document, saying it does not exist, as the generals who
commissioned it never reported to him in writing.
South Africa and neighboring Zimbabwe dismissed the claim, calling it a
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni told VOA that it
is unlikely Pretoria would cave under pressure and release the alleged
do think that it had to be understood in the context of the current impasse
within the government of national unity in Zimbabwe where the parties in
coalition, ZANU-PF and the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), are having
challenges over appointment of the governor of the Reserve Bank,"
said the nongovernmental organizations have been opposed to Zimbabwe's
coalition government brokered by Mr. Mbeki.
NGO'S in the very first place were never very happy with the arrangement with
the government of national unity," he said.
said the NGO'S were of the view that Zimbabwe's long-time ruler President
Mugabe should have been left out of the coalition government.
"They wanted to see Mugabe
either tried at the International Court of justice or removed from power,"
He said there are indications
that the demand for the release of the alleged report is a pretext to compel
Pretoria to have a change in policy towards neighboring Zimbabwe.
"They are using the issue of
this report as one way of pressurizing the South African government, which is
part of a SADC (Southern African Development Community) arrangement to resolve
the impasse," he said.
Fikeni said it is unlikely
that President Zuma's administration would be forced to release the report.
"I doubt they would curb
under pressure… suffice it to say that they will say that the previous
government had sanctioned the investigation into what was happening in
Zimbabwe," Fikeni said.
He said it is likely the
NGO's will seek to use the country's freedom of information act to compel the
new administration to release the report.
"The NGO's are aware that
there is the access to information law in South Africa, which would try to put
pressure on government, but I doubt that the government would release such a
report in its entirety," he said.
Fikeni said the aim of the
NGO'S to show Pretoria's bias to the world.
"They would try to
demonstrate that the South African government under the leadership of the ANC
(African National Congress) governing party has actually being favoring the
ZANU-PF side and therefore supporting Mugabe," Fikeni said.
He reiterated that the NGO'S
would want a policy change towards Zimbabwe.
"They would use that as a
way pressurizing the South African government to take a different cause of
action to put pressure on ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, especially under the current
impasse," he said.
President Mbeki, who was instrumental in the formation of
the coalition government in Zimbabwe, allegedly instructed six
retired generals to assess the extent of the army's involvement in the
rights groups, however, maintain that after the investigations, which were
carried out in May and June of last year, former President Mbeki and his
immediate successor Kgalema Mothlanthe refused to release the report.
Groups backed by South Africa's main opposition party, the
Democratic Alliance, have invoked the Promotion of Access
to Information Act to force President Zuma to release the alleged document.
Some of the nongovernmental organizations say although
violence and fear levels in Zimbabwe had sharply declined after formation of
the ZANU-PF - MDC unity government, light should be shed on last year's reign
of terror to prompt a transformation of the military and prevent future abuses.
Human rights groups have often accused President Mugabe of unleashing a
systematic campaign of violence against opposition supporters after his ZANU-PF
lost control of parliament to the MDC in March, 2008 elections.