The deadline was set by regional leaders to force a quick resolution of the power-sharing dispute threatening to derail the country’s coalition regime, despite continous denials of the existence of a deadline by Welshman Ncube of the MDC-M. 

Zuma was tasked by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate in a power-sharing dispute between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

A spokesperson for the MDC said Zuma would meet Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the leader of a breakaway MDC faction Arthur Mutambara during his visit to Harare.

“It is expected that President Zuma will adopt a robust approach and will insist on results by December 6, the date set by the SADC Organ Troika for the compilation of the progress report to be presented to the Troika chairperson, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique,” the spokesperson said.

Zuma last weekend dispatched his new team of facilitators to Harare to gather facts on the ongoing talks that resumed at the behest of SADC.

The team was in Zimbabwe on Monday on a one-day fact finding mission during which it met the three principals of the parties represented in Zimbabwe’s coalition government as well as the negotiators from the three parties. The team left Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

The ongoing talks follow the MDC’s October disengagement from all government forums where it interacted with ZANU PF which it accused of being a “dishonest partner”.

It accused ZANU PF of moving at a snail’s pace on implementing political reforms and of unilaterally appointing its supporters to key government positions.

The party only suspended the disengagement three weeks later after mediation by the SADC.

Mugabe in turn accuses Tsvangirai of reneging on a promise to push for the removal of travel bans and an asset freeze imposed by the West on more than 200 senior ZANU PF officials.

A special summit of the SADC organ on security, defence and politics met in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, in October and resolved that Zimbabwe’s political leaders engage in dialogue within 15 days and no later than 30 days to resolve all outstanding issues in the implementation of a power-sharing agreement.