Zuma to assess Zimbabwe unity govt pact


South African leader Jacob Zuma will visit Zimbabwe this week to assess the state of a power-sharing agreement set up to end a decade-long political and economic crisis

President Robert Mugabe and his old rival Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year to end a stalement over disputed elections, which has managed to stabilise the economy following 10 consecutive years of contraction.

But analysts say frequent wrangling over policy and the slow pace of reforms have held back progress. Western donors have also held back aid crucial to helping rebuild the country, demanding Mugabe first implement concrete human rights and democratic reforms. “President Jacob Zuma will travel to … Zimbabwe on 16-18 March to meet with political parties that are signatories of the Global Political Agreement,” Zuma’s office said in a statement yesterday, Reuters reports.

Earlier this month Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler Britain rebuffed a call by Zuma to end European Union sanctions on Mugabe and his allies. Zuma said he disagreed with the view expressed from outside Zimbabwe that more pressure in the form of sanctions was the way forward.

About three million Zimbabweans have fled to neighbouring South Africa as the economy collapsed at home.