SA opposition urges AU summit to focus Zimbabwe

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- South Africa's main opposition the Democratic Alliance has called on African leaders attending the AU summit in Addis Ababa to convene a special meeting aimed at planning and adopting a road map on Zimbabwe that would resolve the crisis in that country.
DA acting leader Joe Seremane, who was encouraged by weekend reports that the African Union will be considering a report on the abuses of the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, said it is time that the AU chose a different course on how to handle the Zimbabwean crisis.
"In order to ensure compliance with the road map, there must be definite rewards for progress.
The AU should approach the international community to assist in restoring health and vigour to the Zimbabwean economy as progress is made.
"There must also, however, be punishments for failure.
If the Zimbabwean government fails to live up to its obligations, it should be punished by the AU according to its rules and procedures," Seremane recommended Tuesday.
Seremane, who noted that South African President Thabo Mbeki has indicated that the policy of quiet diplomacy has failed, charged that Mugabe has once again ruled out talks between his ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The DA, which last year developed a road map to democracy in Zimbabwe, proposed that a negotiation process be initiated by the AU in Zimbabwe.
In that process, the DA suggested that regional leaders should play a facilitating role, and in which the terms for Mugabe's departure as President of Zimbabwe must be determined.
These negotiations, the party said, should be concluded as soon as possible but not later than three months from the date on which the AU approved the road map.
"Following President Mugabe's departure from office, multiparty negotiations must commence for the formation of an interim government in Zimbabwe that will take responsibility for the basic administrative functions of the state until a new government is elected later in the process," Seremane added.
Other proposals forwarded by the DA include the repeal of the draconian laws of the past several years that have frustrated free and open dialogue, the ratification of the new Constitution which should take place eighteen months after the start date of the road map and preparations for new elections to be held no later than two years from the start date of the road map.

06 july 2004 09:54:00




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