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'Zimbabwe is on the correct path'

Staff Reporter

President Jacob Zuma will tell a regional summit next week that Zimbabwe is "on the correct path", a Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma will tell a regional summit next week that Zimbabwe is “on the correct path” under its unity government, a Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.

Zuma is the official mediator in Zimbabwe for the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), which holds its annual summit on Monday and Tuesday in Namibia.

“He will recognise that the task in Zimbabwe is not completed but the overwhelming picture is favourable,” Foreign Ministry Director General Ayanda Ntsaluba told a news conference in Pretoria.

“There is a semblance of stability and Zimbabwe is on the correct path,” Ntsaluba said.

Zuma visited Zimbabwe in March to press long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and the new Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to settle their differences over a raft of key government appointments and to press forward the reform process.

No progress has been made on resolving the dispute over Mugabe’s unilateral appointments of the Reserve Bank governor and Attorney General.

Referendum
Under the power-sharing pact, Zimbabwe should have held a referendum on a new constitution last month, which would pave the way for fresh elections after the violent and inconclusive polls in 2008.

The constitutional process has barely gotten off the ground, but the new government has halted Zimbabwe’s stunning economic freefall by abandoning the local currency in favour of US dollars and opening up the market to imports.

Media reforms have allowed foreign reporters greater access to the country while a new independent newspaper is on the streets, with others in the works. Electoral and human rights reforms, however, are proving tougher to implement.

South Africa also backed Zimbabwe’s sale of an estimated $72-million-worth of diamonds on Wednesday, in the first approved auction of the gems from its Marange fields since the global “blood diamonds” watchdog partially lifted a ban.

“This is a legitimate process and Zimbabwe is beginning to use its natural resources to improve the lives of its people,” Ntsaluba said.—AFP

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