AS his quest for legitimacy after the controversial July 31 polls continues, President-elect Robert Mugabe has swallowed his pride by apologising to Sadc member states over his spate with South African President Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu during the facilitation process.
Elias Mambo in Lilongwe, Malawi
Mugabe, who is set to be sworn in on Thursday, also held secret talks with Botswana President Ian Khama, who has openly declared that the elections were marred by irregularities and called for a forensic audit.
Sources who attended the regional bloc’s closed-door meeting on Saturday disclosed that Mugabe chanted an emotional poetic apology to Zuma throwing the whole room into stitches.
Sadc are the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) brokered in 2008 following the disputed presidential runoff leading to the formation of the country’s coalition government.
“I love you Ms Lindiwe, I love you, I don’t hate you. It was a time when everyone was campaigning and one can do anything in order to win the elections,” Mugabe said.
However, Zulu, who was not in the meeting, said she was surprised to hear that Mugabe had apologised.
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Zulu said the whole process taught her important lessons in life.
“I was not in the meeting, but everyone is telling me that I missed my love letter,” Zulu said.
Zuma, who spoke to Zulu in the presence of this reporter, said: “You missed your new love proposal from Mugabe yesterday (Saturday), but well he now loves you.”
Zulu also said she was not deterred from doing her work by Mugabe who wanted a win-win situation.
“We were supposed to do our work impartially and Mugabe felt we were doing it the wrong way. Our only wish was to see the roadmap implemented,” she said.
Mugabe last month threatened to pull out of Sadc due to what he described as “stupid things” being done by “idiotic” people within the regional bloc.
“Sadc has no power. Let it be known that we are in Sadc voluntarily. If Sadc decides to do stupid things, we can pull out. For now we have a Sadc that has good sense although from some quarters there was a stupid, idiotic woman saying elections cannot be held by July 31. Did such a person ever think as an independent country we would take such utterances which were stupid and idiotic?” said Mugabe.
Zulu has been consistent in outlining the Sadc position on Zimbabwe regarding elections, saying that the regional bloc was for a free, fair and credible election that could only be possible if reforms were implemented. New Sadc chairperson Malawian President Joyce Banda commended the parties to the inclusive government for their commitment to the GPA and for the free and peaceful elections.
Banda said the regional bloc was still waiting for reports from observer missions before declaring if the polls were credible.
“We are still waiting for Sadc and AU (African Union) reports to say the election was credible. We were also waiting for the court verdict, but we hear (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai has withdrawn so we don’t know what is happening, but the issue of credibility and fairness will be dealt with once we receive reports from the observer missions,” said Banda.
Meanwhile, Mugabe was given the Sadc deputy chairmanship post as the regional bloc rewarded Zimbabwe for holding a violence-free but disputed election.
Close sources said Sadc member states unanimously agreed to hand the post to Zimbabwe.
This means Zimbabwe will become part of the Troika Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Co-operation. The post also means Zimbabwe will host the next Sadc summit next year.