Mugabe, Tsvangirai parties to hold talks

According to sources, senior officials from President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party and the two former opposition MDC formations are expected to meet before Friday to make proposals how on to resolve a host of outstanding issues from last year’s global political agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the nine-month old power-sharing government.

The proposals will be forwarded to Mugabe, main MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who heads the smaller MDC party.

The sources said Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara did not hold their normal Monday meeting because the President was away in Egypt.

“The negotiators should meet by Friday to reduce areas of differences on the outstanding issues,” one of the sources said. “Proposals on how to resolve the issues will then be sent to the principals who have the final say.”

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s organ on defence and politics gave Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara 30 days to resolve outstanding issues.

The sticking points that saw Tsvangirai and his MDC party boycotting Cabinet more than three weeks ago include Mugabe’s refusal to rescind his unilateral appointment of two top allies to head Zimbabwe’s central bank and the attorney general’s office.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister while the MDC is also unhappy by what it says is selective application of the law to target its activists and officials. 

ZANU PF, which insists it has met all its obligations under the GPA, accuses Tsvangirai and the MDC of not living up to their promise by refusing to lead a campaign for lifting of Western sanctions against Mugabe and his top allies.

Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party, confirmed yesterday that the negotiators would meet before the weekend to come up with proposals to resolve the sticking points.

“In line with the resolutions of the SADC organ, the negotiators should meet and make proposals on how to tackle the issues now affecting the survival of the inclusive government,” Chamisa said.

“According to SADC’s timelines, principals should resolve the outstanding issues in 15 days and if there are no solutions, the next 15 days would be used for mediation by the facilitator,” he added.

The facilitator, Chamisa said would be South African President Jacob Zuma.

“It was agreed in Maputo that the facilitator is South Africa, hence President Zuma will mediate in the event of a deadlock instead of Thabo Mbeki who brokered the GPA,” Chamisa explained.

Mbeki facilitated the GPA when he was the president of South Africa.

Chinamasa confirmed that negotiators have to meet first to deal with the outstanding issues, but declined to give details.

Besides the outstanding issues, the organ asked the inclusive government to immediately set up the national economic council in line with the GPA in a move meant to come up with sound policies to revive the country’s comatose economy. – ZimOnline