Zuma gets tough with Mugabe
By Xolisani Ncube
HARARE – South African President Jacob Zuma says elections in Zimbabwe can only be held when the security sector is de-politicised, in a move largely viewed as a flexing of muscles amid growing reckless political statements by military generals.
The comments come barely a week after another military general said soldiers will not allow any other leader outside Zanu PF to lead the country, irrespective of the election outcome. The generals’ stance is a direct affront to Zuma’s efforts to ensure credible elections and smooth transfer of power in Zimbabwe.
Sadc mandated Zuma to be its point man on the Zimbabwe political stalemate and asked him to ensure that free and fair elections are held following disputed 2008 polls that were marred by military-led violence.
Zuma’s international relations advisor and spokesperson on the Zimbabwe situation, Lindiwe Zulu, said Sadc, through the South African president, will not allow an election to happen before the security sector is reformed.
“We should have security sector re-alignment, let me make it clear, this is not a creation of externals. It is part of the (power sharing) Global Political Agreement (GPA) and it must be implemented before elections are held,” Zulu told South Africa’s E-news television channel Wednesday night.
Zulu said although her boss, Zuma, has no final say on when Zimbabwe could hold elections, the regional body will not entertain Zanu PF’s push for polls this year before the implementation of reforms.
“Sadc was very clear that all reforms and processes should be fulfilled before Zimbabwe goes for elections. We cannot have a repeat of the 2008 election. It is very important that we have elections that are acceptable to all the parties as well as acceptable by Sadc and AU,” said Zulu.
She said this as sources told the Daily News that Zuma himself made a similar call during last week’s Sadc Troika on Defence, Politics and Security summit held in Angola’s capital.
Sources said Zuma warned Zimbabwe’s bickering coalition government partners that reckless statements and behaviour by military generals could result in instability in the country.
Mugabe, Zanu PF leaders and military commanders have, however, repeatedly rebuffed moves to depoliticise the security sector and have vowed never to agree to such reforms.
Trust Mugoba, a major-general in the army, took the war further this week when he suggested that the army will not allow Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai or any other politician with no liberation war credentials to become the country’s leader.
“We will not even allow them to go into office because they do not represent the ideology we fought for. As the military establishment, we have an ideology that is represented in the mission of Zanu PF,” said Mugoba.
Tsvangirai has in the past raised concerns over the “unruly” behaviour exhibited by some senior security personnel and their appetite to interfere in civilian political processes.
In his presentation to the Troika summit in Angola, Tsvangirai said senior army officials and security personnel had “belittled” themselves to assume Zanu PF commissariat roles. According to the Article 13 of the GPA, state institutions are expected to be impartial and not support any political establishment.
“State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party. All state organs and institutions strictly observe the principle of the rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial,” reads the GPA signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. Daily News