'Tether your terrier': Zim government pounces on Zuma adviser

Lindiwe Zulu. (Gallo)

Lindiwe Zulu. (Gallo)

Zulu called for elections to be postponed for a month to allow the country to implement reforms before an election is held.

Zulu is part of a team representing President Jacob Zuma as a Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) facilitator on Zimbabwe. The team includes Zuma's spokesperson, Mac Maharaj and South Africa's special envoy, Charles Nqakula.

In possibly the strongest attack on Zulu to date, the state-owned daily the Herald said in its editorial on Monday that Zulu must stop interfering in the country's affairs as it is not a province of South Africa. It said Zulu had made the comments on election dates to please United States President Barack Obama who was visiting South Africa at the weekend.

Calling her an "outsider" who was shooting her mouth off, the paper called on Zuma to "tether his terrier", in reference to Zulu.

The Herald said the SADC appointed Zuma as the facilitator and not any other South African citizen.

"While Ms Zulu assuaged her oversized ego over the years by arrogating herself the role of facilitator, SADC spokesperson and Godmother of our political processes to the extent of not only challenging SADC pronouncements but even the Constitutional Court ruling that harmonised elections be held by July 31 this year, she forgot that she had no locus standi before the SADC," the Herald said.

'Some lady called Lindiwe Zulu'
President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba said: "There is an SADC resolution that states that government has to lodge an application to the Constitutional Court so that the court can decide on an election date."  

"Now we have some lady called Lindiwe Zulu who is not the SADC appointed facilitator of Zimbabwe but a mere back staffer who is making an executive pronouncement in place of President Zuma, who is the facilitator, against the resolution by SADC," he said.

"What is worse," Charamba said "is she is addressing herself on the affairs of a sovereign country and trying to dictate the outcome of the Constitutional Court."

Charamba said: "Last week, South Africa's Constitutional Court made a ruling against Zimbabwe, allowing farmers to attach government property that it has in South Africa, in respect of a decision taken by a dysfunctional [SADC] tribunal." 

Charamba said the ruling undermined bilateral relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and also went against the Vienna Convention, which protects government properties in other countries.
"Can this Zulu order a reversal by her country's court decision to protect Zimbabwe? What is good for goose must be good for the gander."

Charamba said Obama "made an assault on President Mugabe, the president of an SADC member state, on another SADC country's soil, alleging harassment of citizens, talking about reforms that he doesn't know, forgetting that we have a new Constitution. What does Lindiwe Zulu do? She joins in on the assault by simply validating wild assertions by Obama on Zimbabwe. She became a tool of American foreign policy goals rather than a responsible citizen of the SADC who believes in collective defence against a foreigner."

'Sideline issue'
Zulu told the Mail & Guardian that her responsibility was around the global political agreement and that she would not be drawn into commenting on the Herald editorial as it was a "sideline issue". She said if any party in Zimbabwe had problems, "they must raise it in the meetings".

She said as far as she was concerned, she remains part of the facilitation team and their work was not to please Obama or any other leader but the Zimbabwean people.

She would not be drawn further to comment on the Herald criticisms.

In April the M&G reported that Zanu-PF snubbed the Zuma team and barred them from attending meetings held jointly with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. At that time, Zanu-PF's representatives Nicholas Goche and Jonathan Moyo said the presence of the South African team was not needed as it would be an infringement on Zimbabwe's sovereignty.

Teldah Mawarire

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