Lilongwe: President Jacob Zuma says his role in Zimbabwe has been completed following the peaceful elections in that country.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Malawi on Sunday, Zuma also heaped praise on the SADC mediation team in Zimbabwe for paving a way for the peaceful elections.
In a wide ranging interview in the capital city of Malawi, Lilongwe, Zuma spoke frankly about his mediation role in Zimbabwe saying it has been difficult trying to bring about political stability at South Africa’s neighbouring country following the signing of the Global Political Agreement between President Robert Mugabe and leaders of opposition parties.
“We were given a task as you know immediately after the troublesome elections of 2008… it was not an easy one, we took the whole term to deal with matters in Zimbabwe. I think we succeeded as you know SADC delivered the peaceful, free elections. There was no violence that you saw in 2008 this time around,” Zuma said.
“The former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made a (court) challenge because he felt things did not go very well but he withdrew it and therefore really I think the people are preparing for the inauguration and other things and therefore the matter has been closed. We have done our bit.”
On the issue of Madagascar, which continues to be plunged into a political crisis, Zuma commended both the SADC and African Union intervention in the country led by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano. Madagascar has proved to be a difficult for SADC and it was suspended as a member amid unresolved political instability in that country.
But it was announced on Sunday that the new Electoral Court established in Madagascar has managed to remove the names of nine candidates from the list of those contesting elections in that country. Crucial for SADC is that the names of political opponents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. The two are seen as a stumbling block in SADC’s attempts to pave a way for peaceful elections in Madagascar.
“Therefore the process is moving for elections and that was really the last hurdle we had to deal with and it has been dealt with properly by the constituted court in Madagascar. We are looking forward to the elections,” said Zuma.