Travel restrictions slapped on Zimbabwean officials from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party should be lifted to help the unity government function effectively, South African President Jacob Zuma said.
Zuma, who is mediating in a dispute between Zanu-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party, noted that one side in the power-sharing government was subject to international sanctions while the other was not.
“What’s happening is that one part of unity government, the MDC, can travel all they want, around the world and do what they want while the other part, the ZANU-PF, cannot,” he told a reporter at the end of a visit to Uganda.
“That’s impeding the functioning of the unity government and so the international community that supported the power-sharing agreement must also lift the sanctions to allow the unity government to function to its full capacity.”
Zuma has previously urged western powers to lift sanctions imposed before the two rival sides agreed on the unity government in 2008. The government is driven by conflict and Mugabe said he would implement terms of the agreement with Tsvangirai only if the West removed sanctions on his allies.
Zuma and his host Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also discussed the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo. In a statement they said they had agreed that while security there was improving, the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission, MONUC, was still needed to provide stability.
Zuma, who travelled with a business delegation, said Uganda offered investment opportunities for South African companies. A Ugandan official told Reuters that some South African investors were keen to participate in Uganda’s budding petroleum sector.
The east African country discovered oil in 2006 and exploration companies currently estimate reserves at about 2 billion barrels.
“The mining, oil and refining of petroleum sector with the discovery of oil in the Lake Albert region provides new areas of business,” Zuma said at a business forum in Kampala.
Museveni said he had not discussed any detailed plans for South African investment in Uganda with his counterpart.
“We didn’t discuss anything specific on oil but we have two areas where South Africa can help us and those will be discussed when our minister for minerals meets with his South African counterpart,” Museveni said.
Pic: President Jacob Zuma (R) of South Africa and Robert Mugabe (L) of Zimbabwe