SW Radio Africa (London)

2 July 2012

Zimbabwe: SA Mediation Team 'Losing Patience' With Govt

The regionally appointed Zim mediation team is believed to be losing patience with the lack of progress in the country, to the point that it could hand the problem over to the African Union (AU).

This is according to political analyst Professor John Makumbe, who told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the lack of change and the snails-pace of reform in Zimbabwe could spell the end of regional mediation efforts.

The South African team is headed by President Jacob Zuma, as part of SADC's commitment to solving the ongoing political crisis in Zim, which remains unresolved despite the formation of the unity government.

Zuma's mediation efforts have been centred on trying to force the implementation of key reforms, listed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA). But more than three years later there is still a list of outstanding issues that have stalled any progress in the government.

The most recent SADC summit in Angola once again called for key reforms before an election is called in Zimbabwe. But there has still been no movement towards any change.

Professor Makumbe said Monday that Zuma and his mediation team are reaching the end of the road in their mediation efforts, and a harder line is now widely expected.

"SADC is getting agitated about the lack of progress and it is putting a lot of pressure, through South Africa, on Zimbabwe. But if Zuma does not see reforms and see change, then it is likely he will report back to SADC and recommend that the issue be handed over to the African Union," Makumbe said.

Zuma's mediation team is expected in Zimbabwe soon, with some reports suggesting that Zuma himself will be coming to the country next week. Professor Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller MDC faction in the unity government, was quoted as saying over the weekend that Zuma would be coming on July 11th.

But Makumbe said it was unlikely that Zuma would be coming, because "there is nothing that can be reported to him yet."

"His mediation team will come first and try and resolve the outstanding issues, and they will report back to Zuma first. But we are reaching a point where serious action, like AU mediation, is a real possibility," Makumbe said.

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