The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Jacob Zuma to remain resolute in his dealings with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Luanda, Angola starting today.
Having already taken a tough stance against the Mugabe regime’s unwillingness to implement democratic reforms and civic protections as the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe, President Zuma should be able to reinforce his position when he becomes the chairperson of the SADC troika (consisting of South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique) that controls the organ on politics, defence and security co-operation. With these two SADC positions in hand, President Zuma can now leverage the full power of the SADC body to pressure the Mugabe regime into acceding to the wishes of the Zimbabwean people, the regional organisation and the international community.
President Zuma should use this rare opportunity as head of two important positions in SADC to push President Mugabe into drafting the new Constitution, proceeding with the reform laid out in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and acceding to the timeline for holding national elections. The Zimbabwean people have been calling for change for many years now, suffering at the hands of a leader who no longer cares for the needs of his people. Our foreign policy, which is based on the principles of ubuntu, requires that we do what we can to help the people of Zimbabwe in whatever way we can.
The DA supports a tough approach to President Mugabe, who has proven time and again to negotiate in bad faith. We believe that President Zuma should utilise the power that he will have as both the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe and the head of the SADC troika to leverage concessions from the Mugabe regime that will help bring about democratic reform.