US-Zimbabwe: Clinton on the ‘negative effects of the continuing presidency of Mugabe’

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United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will push South Africa to use its influence with neighbour Zimbabwe during her visit but risk being “insulted by Mugabe if she crosses his thinking” Clinton is to hold talks with South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday.

“I do intend to speak not only with president Zuma but other members of his government about what more SA believes can be done to strengthen the reform movement inside Zimbabwe, alleviate the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe,” Clinton is quoted saying Friday.

Clinton said she would urge the new government to get Zimbabwe to raise the pace of political reform which has been too slow for donors to release substantial amounts of aid. South Africa must, she said, “try to use its influence to mitigate against the negative effects of the continuing presidency of President (Robert) Mugabe.” She is expected to touch on the state of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). However, analysts say Clinton risk being “insulted by Mugabe if she crosses Mugabe’s thinking”.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met with Zuma on Monday – chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brokered and endorsed the GPA and accused Mugabe of frustrating efforts to implement the reforms required in terms of the GPA.

“The Prime Minister has briefed me that the majority of issues are moving forward, except for a few,” Zuma told local media. “I have said I will be contacting President Mugabe.”

Tsvangirai has stressed the need to deal with unresolved issues, including control of Zimbabwe’s security forces, and ZANU-PF’s unilateral appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, which were contrary to the terms of the GPA.

“Clearly, there are signs of movement in terms of implementing some of
the outstanding issues on the GPA, but these developments are linked to the upcoming SADC summit and the first anniversary of the signing of the power sharing deal,” a political journalist and analyst Dumisani Muleya said.

The next ordinary SADC Summit is scheduled for the first week of September 2009 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. “Zimbabwean
leaders obviously want to avoid being the centre of attraction by drawing criticism from regional leaders for failing to fully implement the provisions of the power-sharing pact,” said Muleya.

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