Zuma should focus on Zimbabwe instead of Libya

Posted on | juni 8, 2011 | No Comments

Jacob Zuma

I question the wisdom of the African Union (AU) to send the South African President Jacob Zuma, who is also the SADC mediator and facilitator on the Zimbabwean crisis, to Libya in an attempt to revive the AU “roadmap” (another AU loaded word) for ending the conflict between Muammar Gaddafi and the anti-Gaddafi uprising. Zuma’s visit to Tripoli occurred amid worrying concerns over Mugabe and his ZANU-PF’s refusal to abide to the SADC roadmap for free and fair election in Zimbabwe.

JZ’s ongoing mediation efforts in Zimbabwe so far have produced nothing but a stalemate. All indications are that Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF’s efforts to undermine JZ’s mediation process and the power of the SADC troika has emboldened to the point that Mugabe (and his party) controls the Zimbabwe mediation process. As an example of Mugabe’s emboldened confidence, JZ was forced to remove the Zimbabwe crisis from the agenda of the SADC Summit held in Windhoek on May 20, 2011 for the fear of having the discussion being hijacked by Mugabe and his party. Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF faithfully wanted the Zimbabwe issue tabled for discussions during the Windhoek SADC summit because they were confident that they would have gained support from the SADC leadership with their plan for a snap election this year. In the absence of a clear election roadmap to the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and his party would stand a chance of winning the election through intimidation and rigging if the election were to be held this year.

In addition, although the Zimbabwe crisis was not on the agenda, the Windhoek SADC summit gave a moral boost to Mugabe and his party’s efforts to undermine calls for meaningful political reform in that country. Apparently, the SADC leadership has decided to dissolve and suspend the SADC human rights court for at least another year, a move ZANU PF has exaltedly welcomed.

The truth is JZ did not offer anything new nor did he achieve anything with his travel to Tripoli. He reportedly said that Gaddafi is ready for a “peaceful settlement,” but haven’t we heard that before since the uprising started in February? The sad but true reality is that the AU’s diplomacy is badly broken and needs fixing in order for the continental body to make a dent in Africa’s crisis. This is why JZ or the AU does not have a clear vision and strategy about how to revive Libya’s roadmap or any other roadmaps they proposed on the continent, except to offer vague and loaded terms which mean nothing in reality.

But more importantly, the timing of JZ’s visit to Tripoli is suspect because it looks like a trip designed to save Gaddafi, not to find a solution, as we were told. Gaddafi may have told JZ that he wants a peaceful settlement, but this sounds like a man against the wall, not a man who genuinely wants peace. His visit came at a time when the end for Gaddafi is looming. His military might has been reduced, and he has lost most of his key confidants and military generals due to defections.

My uninvited advice to the AU and SADC: Please keep JZ in Zimbabwe, and be straightforward with imploring Gaddafi to leave. The situation in Libya does not fit the model of political settlement the AU is proposing. This is a clear home-run case of the citizens vs. one man…and that one man is Gaddafi. Any political agreement in Libya should exclude Gaddafi, period!

AUTHOR: Ndumba Jonnah Kamwanyah
URL: http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/
E-MAIL: Ndumba.Kamwanyah [at] umb.edu


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