South African President Jacob Zuma has responded to attacks on his person and government by Zanu PF’s spin doctors and told their boss President Robert Mugabe to use “normal channels” to communicate with South Africa.
Diplomatic relations between the two neighbouring countries plunged to an all-time low at the weekend following attacks on Zuma over his report on Zimbabwe submitted to the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security in Zambia last week.
On Friday President Mugabe launched a scathing attack on Zuma and other Sadc leaders, accusing them of interfering in the internal affairs of the country.
This was after the Sadc Troika took a tough stance, ordering him to implement all the provisions of the GPA and respect human rights.
His statements were followed by a scathing attack on Zuma in the State-controlled newspaper, The Sunday Mail, which described him as a primitive leader who had become a liability to South Africa and Africa as a whole.
The paper said Zuma, the Sadc-appointed mediator in Zimbabwe’s crisis, was a dishonest broker.
“As mediator (Zuma) his role is to encourage dialogue and unity among the three parties in Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement. His role is not to meddle and dictate. By pandering to the idle chatter of some political players he, Mr Zuma, is compromising his integrity,” wrote the state-owned Sunday Mail in its editorial attacking Zuma’s stance on Zimbabwe and Libya.
But a statement from the South African Presidency defended Zuma’s actions on Libya and said Zimbabwe should use official channels for communicating.
“Governments have their own channels of communication . . .,” read the statement.
“Should the Zimbabwean government wish to understand our position on Libya or any other, they will contact the South African government through the normal channels as they always do.” The South African Presidency however said relations with Zimbabwe “remain warm and cordial”, but the statement itself was testimony that all is not well.
President Mugabe has been direct in his condemnation of Zuma and has indicated the facilitator had overstepped the line and that he would resist Sadc.
“There is a line of thinking in Sadc that a body should be created to point certain things to us, but Zimbabwe will not tolerate any group to prescribe to us what to do,” President Mugabe said while addressing a Zanu PF central committee meeting after arriving from the Troika meeting.
“Facilitator (President Zuma) should facilitate, he cannot prescribe to us to do A, B, C, and D. We give ourselves the A, B, C, D, in accordance with our agreement.
“We will not brook interference from any source. We will resist interference from any source, even from our neighbours.”