Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has praised President Jacob Zuma for silencing his envoy, Lindiwe Zulu.
“I am glad that it was corrected, and I am glad that she has learnt to zip her mouth,” he said in response to a question by City Press about his future relationship with Zuma following the apparent friction about Zulu’s statements.
Mugabe, addressing a rare press conference at State House, Harare, yesterday, denied there was friction between the two countries about the issue.
He said Zulu was “a woman who opened her mouth in an irregular way” after she expressed concerns of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) facilitation team earlier this month that Zimbabwe was not ready for today’s elections.
Zuma publicly silenced Zulu after Mugabe asked him to do so at a rally earlier this month, soon after lashing out at her, calling her a “street woman” and “stupid”.
Although the government-owned The Herald called on Zuma to “tether his terrier”, Mugabe yesterday did not give any indication that he thought Zuma was to blame.
He asked if his speaking out against “just that one person (Zulu), does that become a criticism against South Africa and against Zuma?”
A long-time Mugabe aide last night told City Press that Zulu was prone to “speaking too much” and that Zuma did well to muzzle her. “She is so ashamed that she didn’t even come to Zimbabwe now,” he said.
Zulu has privately said she was hurt about the way Zuma muzzled her, although in public she said she didn’t take it personally, and that Zuma had to do what he had to do to ensure the Zimbabwean elections proceed smoothly.
Zulu was expected to be in Zimbabwe for the elections as part of the SADC facilitation team, but indicated a few days earlier that she had commitments to attend to elsewhere.
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