Cosatu: Motlanthe's approach to Zim 'disappointing'

President Kgalema Motlanthe is no different from former president Thabo Mbeki in his position on the Zimbabwe issue, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

“We were slightly encouraged by African National Congress president Jacob Zuma’s position on the issue—he spoke publicly against Robert Mugabe.

“We are not quite excited by our current government led by comrade Motlanthe’s take on the issue,” Vavi told a media briefing in Johannesburg.

“It is disappointing to say the least.”

Vavi said Motlanthe could take decisive action by going public and saying that he was withdrawing South Africa’s acceptance of Mugabe as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) general secretary Wellington Chibebe said the path taken by Southern African Development Community leaders for an inclusive government in Zimbabwe was not going to improve the country’s economy.

“No international investor will pour any money into a government led by Mugabe,” he said.

The ZCTU, with the support of Cosatu, called for a neutral authority to be put in place in Zimbabwe to oversee a new round of free and fair elections.

Asked who they had in mind to carry out these duties, Chibebe said a retired judge or retired Catholic bishop would do.

Meanwhile, the Times on Thursday reported that the top two leaders of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are said to be at loggerheads over whether the MDC should join a unity government as envisaged by the recent Southern African Development Community summit.

The report states that “The Times understands that Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC president and Zimbabwe’s prime minister-in-waiting, is pushing for the party to take up its government positions, but faces opposition from Tendai Biti, the secretary general.

“Biti argues that the MDC should stay out of government until President Robert Mugabe accedes to all its demand.”

According to the report, Biti and Tsvangirai are expected to thrash this out on Friday at an MDC national council, where the party will take a decision on whether to join a unity government.

The Times also reported that poverty is forcing Zimbabwean women and girls to “sell their bodies for as little as a plate of pap or half a loaf of bread in the border town of Musina”.

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