Motlanthe urges Zim opposition not to boycott summit

South Africa’s new President Kgalema Motlanthe urged Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday not to boycott another summit designed to save a troubled power-sharing accord.

Motlanthe, also chairperson of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), said it was “imperative for all the stakeholders in Zimbabwe to avail themselves of the opportunity” offered by Monday’s summit in Harare.

“When you seek a solution to a problem, you talk to those that you disagree with,” he told South African public radio.

“You can’t make peace with your friends. You make peace with your enemies or adversaries.”

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his rival Tsvangirai on September 15 agreed on the outlines of a power-sharing accord that would keep 84-year-old Mugabe as president and make Tsvangirai the prime minister.

However, negotiations over who is to control key ministries has hit the buffers, with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party accusing Mugabe of negotiating in bad faith.

Tsvangirai refused to go to Swaziland for a meeting with Mugabe and four other regional leaders last Monday in protest that he was only given emergency travel documents at the last minute and he has also threatened to steer clear of next week’s gathering in the Zimbabwean capital.

However Motlanthe, who came to power last month, said that the “niggling problems” could only be addressed through dialogue.

Motlanthe’s predecessor as president, Thabo Mbeki, remains SADC’s chief mediator between the two sides in Zimbabwe. - AFP

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