South Africa's Zuma Tries to End Political Paralysis

Published on Saturday 27th November 2010

South African President Jacob Zuma is in Zimbabwe to try to end power-sharing disputes between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed to share power after disputed elections in 2008 but their unity government has been rocked by rifts over posts and privileges.

Zuma has tried to resolve differences between the two with little success since coming to office last year.

An increasingly confident Mugabe now has his sights set on new elections he plans to call in the middle of next year.

Mugabe says he will not bow to Tsvangirai's demands until Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party convinces its allies in the West to lift sanctions imposed on the veteran leader and his inner circle.

Officially President Jacob Zuma is in Zimbabwe to review progress, but everyone knows there's been absolutely no progress between Zimbabwe's three main political players - the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

If anything there's been the exact opposite. This visit comes just a day after Tsvangirai's lawyers announced he was suing Mugabe for violations of the coalition's agreement.

But the President does not believe he's at fault.

The mood within the country is increasingly pessimistic, and there are real fears there could be violence if threatened elections take place next year.

Promised electoral media and constitutional reforms still have not been implemented and could make the situation even more dangerous.

Mugabe continues to great Zuma and his ANC party as his allies, and few believe the South African President will take the unusual step of talking tough to one of Africa's longest serving presidents.


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