Zuma urges Zim leaders to remove obstacles

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kinshasa - President Jacob Zuma has urged Zimbabwe's political parties to remove obstacles hindering the implementation of Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Addressing Heads of State attending a Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit on Monday, President Zuma reaffirmed that SADC continues to support the political parties in improving the political landscape of Zimbabwe.

"Just as SADC has stood with the people of Zimbabwe in the search for a solution to the challenges facing the country, it remains committed to working to encourage further progress. We urge all parties to remove any obstacles to the implementation of the agreement," President Zuma said.

Zimbabwe's former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is at odds with its unity government partner, Zanu-PF, over issues like the appointment of the country's Central Bank Governor and Attorney-General, and perceived harassment of the MDC.

President Zuma is also expected to give a report back on the survival of the Zimbabwe's GPA during the two-day summit, which ends on Tuesday.

The leaders are to hold discussions to try and resolve a number of outstanding issues.

However, the political parties in Zimbabwe have asked the leaders to postpone their discussions on Zimbabwe. Media reports from Kinshasa indicate the MDC wants a separate summit to deal with Zimbabwe in the coming weeks.

Should discussions on Zimbabwe be postponed, the summit would focus on Madagascar, which is trying to set up a power-sharing government to resolve a political crisis sparked by interim President Andry Rajoelina's ouster of ex-president Marc Ravalomanana.

Meanwhile, on other maters, President Zuma said African Heads of State need to prioritise democracy, peace, security and respect for human rights in the continent.

As the SADC chairperson, he acknowledged the progress the regional body made.

He however called on his counterparts to unleash the same spirit of liberation to win a more decisive battle against the scourges of poverty and underdevelopment that continue to face the continent.

"We, the present membership of sixteen States, need to draw from the bravery of our forebears and with the same commitment of unity. We must prioritise stability, democracy and socio-economic development."

President Zuma also noted the effects of the global economic crisis on the African continent.

Working together, President Zuma said, the leaders must ensure that this crisis does not result in the further marginalisation of Africa and accentuate the potential for political and social instability in the region.

"Working together we must ensure that this crisis does not undo the great strides made in the region such as the deepening of democracy, the improvement of trade, economic and investment incentives and the enhancement of the lives of SADC citizens."

President Zuma is also expected to handover the chairmanship of the regional body to his counterpart, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila