South African president Jacob Zuma on Monday attacked his foreign policy chief Lindiwe Zulu, accusing her of lying,
after she made statements exposing the deteriorating security situation in Zimbabwe ahead of elections due next week.
Zuma was reacting to pressure from Robert Mugabe to have Zulu, a lone but fearless voice critical of the dictator’s excesses, silenced, observers said.
Mugabe has made spirited attempts to have Zulu eliminated from her role as Zuma’s point person on Zimbabwe after she pointed out his dishonesty and chicannery in implementing the Global Political Agreement. Mugabe responded with threats, and last week allegedly hired Lebanese assassins to try and kill her, and Zuma. When the plan was exposed in the British media, Mugabe changed tack, taking the diplomatic route, and publicly demanding that Zulu, whom he called a prostitute, be fired by Zuma.
Zulu was quoted widely last week claiming that Zuma had phoned Mugabe to express his disquiet over the messy election preparations in Zimbabwe.
However, Zuma’s spokesman and fellow envoy on the Zimbabwean mission on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Mac Maharaj said Zulu lied about the phone call and had no right to make statements.
“A number of statements have been made during the facilitation process which have been unauthorised and which are regrettable and unfortunate,” Maharaj said. “Some of the utterances have also been inaccurate. The Presidency wishes to correct in particular the reports this weekend that President Zuma telephoned President Robert Mugabe to express his unhappiness about preparations for the Zimbabwean elections. No such telephone call has been made and the report is inaccurate.”
Maharaj said Zuma, who has managed the delicate negotiations between the feuding Zimbabwean parties over four bumpy years, had been alerted to “inappropriate postings in the social media on the Zimbabwe situation”.
“South Africa remains fully committed to the warm historical relations with the Republic of Zimbabwe and wishes the people of Zimbabwe well as they prepare for the elections,” Maharaj said.
The statement is seen as Zuma softening his former harsh private criticism of Mugabe over the chaotic electoral process in Zimbabwe.


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