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Zuma mediation role over

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SADC facilitator to the Zimbabwe political crisis South African President Jacob Zuma yesterday confirmed that his mediation role officially ended with the holding of elections on July 31.

MOSES MATENGA

Zuma’s international adviser Lindiwe Zulu told NewsDay: “If you read the GPA (Global Political Agreement), the role of the facilitator started where it started until elections. We don’t have anything to do.

It’s now with Sadc. President Zuma has done everything he was supposed to do and did exactly what the GPA said.

“There is a summit soon and Sadc will receive a report obviously from the chairman and chairman of the Troika and once the report is received, Sadc will decide on the way forward.”

Asked whether Zuma was satisfied with the way he had mediated in the Zimbabwean crisis, Zulu said: “We are absolutely satisfied in the last three-and-a-half years in keeping together the parties in doing what they had to do. We have played our role as a team and developed all the documents they used in the process.

“That elections were whatever, it’s no longer our responsibility anymore. We did our job and it’s now up to those who observed the elections and said they were free and fair.”

MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has disputed the poll outcome and has referred the matter back to Sadc where he is demanding a rerun.

Zuma was appointed facilitator to the crisis after taking over as President from Thabo Mbeki whose mediation gave birth to the GPA in 2008, ending a decade-long political and economic crisis in the country.

Sadc Heads of State will gather for a two-day summit in Lilongwe, Malawi, starting Saturday where they will focus on the recent elections.

President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, who heads the Sadc organ that was concerned with Zimbabwe, is due to present the regional observer mission’s final report.

Almost 600 observers from the region monitored the elections.
Based on the report, South Africa will officially be released from its mediation task.

The regional body is also expected to lobby Western countries like Britain and the United States to drop sanctions against Zimbabwe as part of a plan to help its economic recovery.

Botswana is the only country in the 14-member body that has called for an audit, but it is most likely to be overruled.

Jakkie Cilliers, the executive director at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, said Zuma had enough domestic challenges and would be happy to let go of his facilitation role.

“Nobody in the region has the time and energy to invest in this issue any longer,” Cilliers said.

He said Zuma had built an alliance of nations in the region to help keep the country in check.

The African Union has also given the election a preliminary thumbs-up despite concerns raised.

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