Thursday, August 11, 2011

(HERALD) Salamao under fire over Zim utterances

Salamao under fire over Zim utterances
Thursday, 11 August 2011 02:00
Herald Reporter

SADC executive secretary Mr Tomaz Salamao has no right to determine policies for the regional bloc as he only serves as an employee of the organisation, Government officials have said. This follows his recent media reports that President Jacob Zuma's mediation role in Zimbabwe was not on the Sadc summit agenda set for Luanda, Angola, next week.

President Zuma, who is the Sadc appointed facilitator to the inter-party dialogue in Zimbabwe, is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Co-operation in Angola. The facilitator reports to the organ on Zimbabwean issues.

Government last week indicated that the summit should consider the possibility of President Zuma playing the two roles.

Mr Salamao immediately responded saying that issue was not on the Luanda summit agenda and there was no problem with President Zuma wearing the two hats.

Ms Lindiwe Zulu, who is a member of President Zuma's facilitation team, concurred with Mr Salamao's assertions.

However, Government sources yesterday said Mr Salamao's remarks were not authoritative because the matter of facilitators is determined at Head of State level.

"Mr Salamao is just an executive secretary and he does not make authoritative decisions on behalf of the bloc. The issue of Zimbabwe's facilitator is for Heads of State to decide on and he (Mr Salamao) should stop causing unnecessary confusion," a Government official said.

"The whole mediation role in Zimbabwe has got a historical anomaly that is inconsistent with Sadc practices when it comes to facilitation roles.

"The Sadc norm on facilitation is to rely on a former Head of State and not a sitting president. It is only the Zimbabwe case that has been subjected to a sitting President."

Another official said Sadc leaders should deal with the matter at the forthcoming summit.

He said the argument that former South African President Thabo Mbeki once served as Sadc chairman while being facilitator in Zimbabwe was invalid.

"That was an anomaly and we cannot use yesterday's anomaly to justify another anomaly today.
"Furthermore, President Mbeki's case is different in that the Troika is an active instrument of engagement whereas Sadc is an occasional office.

"A facilitator is not occasional and in that case we cannot compare President Mbeki's case with that of President Zuma."

Said political analyst Professor Jonathan Moyo: "To say President Zuma should execute the two duties is utter nonsense. Things must be right because of their inherent rationality. He should choose one of the two hats because either way he will still be seized with the Zimbabwean issue.

"The question is which hat should he wear because he cannot wear two because he does not have two heads. President Zuma should choose either to remain as facilitator and allow another head of State to assume the Troika chairmanship.

"Or if he chooses to be the Troika chairman then he should allow another person to take the task of facilitator in Zimbabwe.

"If they insist that he should take the two responsibilities, they will be inviting clear conclusion that there is a sinister agenda. That will create unnecessary tension within the facilitation team and Sadc itself."

He said since 2007, President Mbeki's facilitation role was being challenged by MDC-T and now there was a problem with some officials in President Zuma's office who practised megaphone diplomacy.

"A facilitator must be acceptable to all parties being facilitated. There was controversy right from the beginning with the MDC-T contesting President Mbeki's facilitation role.

"Now it is common cause that there is a problem because of the megaphone approach of the officials in President Zuma's facilitation team as exemplified by the constant noise by Lindiwe Zulu.

"Every time when Zanu-PF holds a meeting, Zulu will comment saying she is doing so on behalf of the facilitator. She comments on everything in Zimbabwe as if Zimbabwe is incident free."

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