Feuding Zimbabwean leaders leave for Troika summit

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s feuding political leaders today travel to Maputo, Mozambique, for Thursday’s SADC defence and security organ summit to discuss Harare’s fragile coalition, officials from the parties said on Wednesday.

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara – who signed last year’s Global Political Agreement (GPA) leading to formation of the power-sharing government in February – are all going to attend the summit with their respective chief negotiators.

ZANU PF deputy spokesman Ephraim Masawi said Mugabe, the party’s first secretary, was due to leave late Wednesday.

“His Excellency is travelling with the ZANU PF negotiators. They are all supposed to be there,” said Masawi.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche are ZANU PF’s chief negotiators.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman James Maridadi said; “The Prime Minister and his entourage are already in Johannesburg at the airport on our way to Mozambique.”

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said in a separate interview that Tsvangirai travelled with two chief negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma.

“Our case is a simple one, that the GPA must be fully implemented all its chapters, verse, comas and full stops,” said Chamisa.

An official in the information department of Mutambara’s MDC-M party, Maxwell Zimuto confirmed that the Deputy Prime Minister and his negotiators, among them Welshman Ncube, also left for Maputo today.

“All of them left today for Maputo,” said Zimuto.

The SADC organ, also known as the Troika, sent a ministerial delegation to Harare last week to review the GPA, following Tsvangirai’s decision almost three weeks ago to boycott Cabinet meetings in protest against Mugabe’s failure to fully implement the power-sharing pact.

The MDC-T leader said although his party will continue with government business, it will not cooperate with ZANU PF by boycotting Cabinet meetings and suspending the council of ministers meetings that he chairs.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza will chair the summit of the Troika, which includes King Mswati III of Swaziland and President Ruphia Banda of Zambia. South Africa attends the Troika’s meetings on Zimbabwe as mediator in the crisis.

SADC chair and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila is expected to attend the summit after holding discussions with the three principals to the GPA in Harare early this week.

Mugabe’s ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC remain deadlocked over key appointments while the MDC also accuses ZANU PF of engaging in a campaign to persecute its supporters.

At least 17 MDC legislators have been arrested since the beginning of the year on charges ranging from theft and public violence to rape and playing music that denigrates Mugabe.

ZANU PF, in turn, accuses the MDC of reneging on a promise to push for the removal of travel bans and an asset freeze slapped by the West on its senior officials.

Analysts say if the Troika summit fails to break the impasse, the matter may have to be referred to a full summit of SADC heads of state which would mean further delays to bringing to an end the Zimbabwe crisis.

The Troika summit will also review the political situation in Lesotho, and Madagascar. – ZimOnline