Zimbabwe's two main political leaders, President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had talks with outgoing South African
Development Community (SADC) chairman and President of South Africa
Jacob Zuma into the early hours of Friday morning. Mr. Zuma came to Harare to try and unblock
outstanding issues from the political agreement which is nearly a year
old and which brought the unity government in Zimbabwe to power in
Mr. Zuma has had one-on-one talks with both Mr. Mugabe
and Mr. Tsvangirai and then with both of them together since he arrived
in Harare late Thursday.
Mr. Zuma seemed confident that outstanding political roadblocks to fulfillment of the political agreement could be solved.
Mugabe and his closest lieutenants have told Mr. Zuma that existing
European Union and U.S. visa and business restrictions against the top
ZANU-PF leadership, were an outstanding issue from the political
agreement. Mr. Mugabe blames these restrictions for Zimbabwe's economic
"Those very countries who have hitherto imposed
sanctions on us still maintain these illegal punitive measures in spite
of the progress we have made as an inclusive government. One is tempted
to conclude, your Excellency, that regime change on the part of our
detractors is still an active policy option," he said.
talks between the three political leaders, Mr. Zuma opened the Harare
Agricultural Show and in his speech mentioned the work done by
Movement for Democratic Change finance minister Tendai Biti, who he
said had ensured an end to hyper inflation by introducing multi
currencies in to the economy at the beginning of the inclusive
He said Zimbabwe's economy had been built on
agriculture and that it had been the bread basket of the region and he
hoped the sector would recover soon.
He also spoke about the need for Zimbabwe to resolve the outstanding issues in the political agreement.
appeal to the international commnity to remove any remaining
hindrances to Zimbabwe's economic recoverery including sanctions and
at the same time we also emphasize that the parties in Zimbabwe should
work together to remove any remaining obstacles to implementation of
the agreement," said Mr. Zuma.
Political sources say that Mr.
Tsvangirai has an easier relationship with Mr. Zuma than his
predecessor, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was the
facilitator of the political agreement on behalf of SADC.
Mr. Tsvangirai's colleagues say Mr. Zuma's approach and conduct in the talks which have now ended was "very fair."
the talks, Mr. Tsvangirai highlighted that Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) provincial governors have not been sworn in, nor has his
deputy agriculture minister, Roy Bennett, and senior civil servants in
key positions were appointed by Mr. Mugabe after the political
agreement was signed in Harare in September of last year.
week, an MDC political source said, will be a crucial test for the
inclusive government as SADC is holding a summit in Kinshasa and the
chairmanship passes from Mr. Zuma to Democratic Republic of Congo
President Joseph Kabila.
Also on the agenda at the summit, is a
ruling against Mr. Mugabe, accusing him of contempt of the regional
group's tribunal last year, which ordered him to leave the few
remaining white farmers in peace.
Mr. Zuma toured the Harare Agricultural Show before opening it Friday.