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S. Africa's Zuma: Zimbabwe Political Reform Lagging

South African President Jacob Zuma (L) speaks with SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao (R) at the closing ceremony of the 31st SADC summit in Luanda, Angola, August 18, 2011

With increasing civil unrest in some member states in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a SADC summit in Luanda, Angola debated leadership problems in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar and Swaziland. South African President Jacob Zuma presented a hard-hitting report on the lack of progress in Zimbabwe regarding negotiations for political reform ahead of fresh elections.

As SADC-appointed facilitator on Zimbabwe, Zuma presented an updated report on the country's political progress which analysts in Luanda described as "frank."

The report concentrated on a roadmap of reforms ahead of fresh elections that might take place later next year.

Negotiators from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC formation, and Welshman Ncube's small MDC party, have not yet found solutions to several longstanding obstacles in the path toward reform.

While some of Mugabe's colleagues routinely say elections will be held later this year, SADC has ruled that no polls can be held before a new constitution is in place, and insiders say that constitution is unlikely to be ready for a referendum this year.

Ahead of the summit Mugabe tried unsuccessfully to block Zuma's appointment as SADC's chairman of the key three-nation committee on politics, security and defense.

Zuma has not been popular with Mugabe's ZANU-PF since he made stinging criticisms of the party to the committee in March.

This is the committee within SADC in which member states' acute political problems are managed. It is currently dealing with political unrest and governance issues in Malawi, Swaziland, and Madagascar in addition to Zimbabwe.

Mugabe left Luanda ahead of the closing ceremony Thursday to attend a military parade in Harare in honor of retired general Solomon Mujuru, his former military commander, who died in a fire at his farm house late Tuesday.

Mujuru was married to Zimbabwe's current vice president Joice Mujuru.