HARARE – South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has dismissed as mere gossip reports that he is finished with his mediation in Zimbabwe following Zanu PF’s disputed landslide victory in July 31 polls.
In a statement posted on the South African presidency website yesterday, Zuma, who is the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) mediator on the Zimbabwean dialogue, said media reports which claim he is going to tell his counterparts at the forthcoming regional summit in Malawi that he has accomplished his mission were false.
“We wish to clarify that should president Zuma or the South African government have any position on Zimbabwe, such information is communicated directly through to the Southern African Development Community, Sadc, or publicly when necessary,” Zuma’s statement said.
“The presidency distances itself from this rumour and rejects the utilisation of gossip and rumour to communicate a serious matter as South Africa’s mediation role in the neighbouring Zimbabwe.”
Early this week, South African media reports suggested that Zuma was expected to tell his fellow regional leaders at a summit in Malawi on Saturday that he had accomplished his mission in Zimbabwe.
The story goes on to speculate that Zuma would tell regional leaders at the Sadc Summit that “they should relieve him of his job as facilitator and they are likely to agree with him.”
Although South Africa has endorsed the disputed July 31 polls, outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he is preparing a dossier of evidence detailing how president-elect Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF rigged the elections.
Tsvangirai who reluctantly went into elections which he described as illegal got 33,9 percent of the votes while Mugabe romped to victory with 61 percent votes.
While most African nations including regional bodies such as the African Union and Sadc have described the elections as free, Botswana has dissented, calling for an audit of the vote.
The disharmony in Sadc over Zimbabwe is likely to take centre stage when the regional leaders meet in Malawi this weekend.