Zuma team silent on Harare violence
By Tererai Karimakwenda
Violent scenes from Harare’s besieged Mbare suburb made the headlines this
week as the facilitation team representing South Africa’s President Jacob
Zuma arrived in the capital for talks with the negotiators.
This was not the first time that ZANU PF sponsored violence coincided with a
visit by Zuma’s team, who continue to maintain a neutral position on the
issue, saying elements from all political parties are perpetrators.
In addition, riot police besieged the headquarters of the MDC-T at Harvest
House on Tuesday, claiming they were looking for vendors who had caused
chaos earlier and were hiding inside. Teargas was used on innocent staff
members and passersby on the streets around Harare. Again, there was silence
from team members Lindiwe Zulu and Charles Nqakula.
There is growing concern that the facilitation team and SADC leaders lack
the political will to deal with resistance from ZANU PF. There is also a
growing realization that SADC has no punitive powers and ZANU PF is taking
advantage of that fact, particularly when it comes to violence.
Piers Pigou, Project Director for the International Crisis Group Southern
Africa region, explained that the ZANU PF attacks send very clear messages
of what the party and their supporters can do. “And to some extent they are
also testing the waters,” Pigou added.
Pigou told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the attacks may also be part of
ZANU PF’s efforts “to claw back” some of the progress that the MDC made at
the Livingstone summit back in March, when SADC took a tougher stance on the
violence issue and ordered the parties to respect the spirit of the GPA.
“There are efforts within ZANU PF to neutralize the effectiveness of the
facilitation team, which is now viewed by some in the party as an agent of
the regime agenda,” Pigou said.
It has been seven months since the Livingstone summit, where regional
leaders resolved that the parties must respect the spirit of the GPA, but
not much has been accomplished.
Pigou explained this by saying SADC makes decisions through consensus and
progress is very slow.
At the Livingstone summit back in March, regional leaders resolved to send a
SADC team to help the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC)
to speed up progress on the remaining, contentious issues in the GPA. That
team has now finally been promised in two weeks time, raising hopes once
But as always, time will tell whether it actually happens.
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