Sunday Times STLive By ZOLI MANGENA, 2011-06-19

'Mugabe a liar'

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe.
Image: File picture

A cabinet minister in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office, Jameson Timba, has taken an unprecedented step to expose President Robert Mugabe and senior Zanu-PF ministers as "liars" over the outcome of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit held in Sandton, Johannesburg, last week.

Timba's daring move on Friday, taken in his capacity as the MDC-T secretary for international relations and international co-operation, could trigger fierce clashes within the tension-filled inclusive government and cabinet.

The Minister of State in Tsvangirai's office, who attended the closed session of the Sandton summit on Zimbabwe, said Mugabe's version of events was untrue.

Although the Sunday Times already had most of the details, Timba confirmed the information which exposed Mugabe and his ministers as "liars". The Sunday Times has a detailed record of what transpired, showing intense clashes between Mugabe and SA President Jacob Zuma, the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe, over the Livingstone report.

The record shows that Zuma was supported by at least regional 10 leaders and officials in the meeting, while Mugabe fought a lone battle. The information shows that Zuma prevailed and Mugabe left with his tail between his legs.

Timba's joining-in the fray is likely to exacerbate the unfolding vicious propaganda war between Zanu-PF and MDC-T since the summit. Mugabe and his ministers, assisted by the pliant state-controlled media, are claiming regional leaders "rejected" resolutions of the Livingstone summit of March 31, but records show this is not true.

SADC leaders, including the chairman, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Zuma, read Mugabe the riot act in March and issued a damning communiqué which left him shocked. Last month Mugabe admitted in Windhoek that the Livingstone communiqué was a "bombshell".

Since the Windhoek summit could not discuss Zimbabwe as Zuma was not there, Mugabe went to Sandton itching for a fight to bully the SADC leaders into changing their decisions, but he was stopped in his tracks.

This week, Timba took the bold step to counter the heavy-handed president. "I attended the SADC troika meeting held at Livingstone on March 31, 2011. I also attended the extraordinary summit of SADC held at Sandton in SA on June 12, 2011. The distortions of the outcome of the summit being peddled by some in Zanu-PF and the public print media have reached dishonest proportions which border on insanity .

"Before the summit, the MDC-T expected the summit to embrace the spirit and recommendations from the troika summit at Livingstone," Timba said.

"We also expected the summit to embrace the concept of a time-bound and task-based roadmap to free, fair and credible elections, where violence plays no part."

Timba said Mugabe and Zanu- PF went to Sandton hoping to have the Livingstone resolutions set aside. He said they also wanted a declaration that the life span of the inclusive government had expired and as such the country should hold elections this year.

"SADC refused to dance to the Zanu-PF tune and refused to commit political infanticide by killing its own baby called Livingstone. Instead, the summit, guided by the report from President Zuma, which included the Livingstone resolutions and the report of the SADC committee on re-engagement with the West as annexures, embraced the letter and spirit of Livingstone," he said.

Timba also disclosed what transpired during the closed session. "President Zuma in his report to the summit stated and I quote: 'The report takes off from where the last one, the summit of the organ troika on politics, defence and security co-operation, held at Livingstone in the Republic of Zambia, left off on March 31.That report is attached as annexure F and also carries the troika summit communiqué'."

He said Zuma also spoke about the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee and demanded an immediate end to political violence, intimidation and harassment and any other breaches of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Zuma told the summit his Sandton report was supplementary to the Livingstone report and he went further to say: "The extraordinary summit should remember and accept that all the annexures hereto are building blocks of the overall report that we are presenting and, therefore, should be read at all times as a single entity."

Timba said Zuma then made five recommendations and his report was adopted. "Zanu-PF cannot therefore say on the one hand the Livingstone report was rejected and on the other they were happy with the report of President Zuma to the full summit when the Livingstone report was part of it.

"Zanu-PF also cannot say that SADC resolved to campaign for the lifting of sanctions when that recommendation came from a report which was noted but not endorsed. This amounts to twisted logic bordering on insanity."