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Zulu Leaders Agree to Join S. Africa Vote

April 20, 1994|BOB DROGIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Judge Johann Kriegler, head of the Independent Electoral Commission, the watchdog group that is overseeing the vote, told a separate news conference in Johannesburg that the country's 80 million national and provincial ballots will not be reprinted.

Instead, he said, adhesive strips with Inkatha's name and logo and color pictures of Buthelezi will be stuck at the bottom of each ballot, in the same size and style as the designations of the 26 other parties. "The printing of stickers will start tonight," he said.

Kriegler said 700 extra polling booths will be opened, more election staff will be hired and manuals and procedures will be amended.

In his opening statement Tuesday, Buthelezi credited the secret diplomacy of a Kenyan politician, Prof. Washington Aggrey Jalang'o Okumu.

Okumu, who arrived last week to assist the Kissinger mission, stayed on when the other mediators left and called Buthelezi, a friend of two decades, to arrange a meeting before the Zulu leader flew home to KwaZulu.

Buthelezi said he had to leave the airport before Okumu arrived but that the plane was forced to turn back for a mechanical problem shortly after takeoff. "It was as though God had prevented me from leaving," Buthelezi said. "I'll never forget him waiting for me at the airport, larger than life."

Okumu then reopened talks as a secret intermediary, shuttling messages and arranging phone calls among Buthelezi, Mandela and De Klerk.

In Washington, President Clinton praised the breakthrough as demonstrating "great courage and a capacity to compromise."

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