MDC leadership to meet over latest Zanu PF intransigence

HARARE – The top leadership of the MDC is to convene an urgent meeting to review the party’s position in the Global Political Agreement talks, that have failed to take off twice in the last four days.\r\n

The standing committee, known as ‘the top 12’, will meet in the next few days to look at the state of the negotiations since talks broke off in December last year.

On Tuesday a source in the MDC said party negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma were fuming about the latest delaying tactics by ZANU PF and weighing how to respond.

The two MDC-T negotiators met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at his offices to brief him on the stalled talks. ZANU PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche had failed to attend Monday’s rescheduled start of the GPA talks, which had also been cancelled on Saturday due to a ZANU PF no show.

The MDC information department were set to release a statement early on Tuesday over the delaying tactics, but were asked to wait until after their negotiators’ meeting with Tsvangirai. The meeting was also expected to discuss the implications of South African President Jacob Zuma’ statement early this week, that Tsvangirai should be ‘flexible’ in some of the demands to ZANU PF.

‘I think a statement will be issued eventually because the party is sick and tired of these delaying tactics by ZANU PF,’ our source said. MDC national spokesman Nelson Chamisa told SW Radio Africa that both Chinamasa and Goche were in Harare on Monday and he was surprised they were playing hardball with the negotiations.

‘Kungoda kunetsa chete, vainge varimuHarare nezuro (they are being intransigent they were in Harare yesterday),’ Chamisa said.
Political analyst Munjodzi Mutandiri said it was disrespectful to the masses of Zimbabweans, who had made their choice known during the March 2008 elections, to be continously subjected to these delaying tactics by ZANU PF.

‘I also think the MDC is lacking in terms of strategy and clarity and how to move forward in view of these outstanding issues. We’ve seen in the past they’ve given ultimatums which were never carried out. This has given ZANU PF the belief the MDC doesn’t have the capacity to carry out its threats and ultimatums,’ Mutandiri said.

He added; ‘So ultimately this is a pattern we will continue to see until we have elections. Basically ZANU PF is setting the pace and allowing the MDC to respond.’

On Friday last week, Tsvangirai’s party said it will stick to its demands over the outstanding issues in the GPA. The MDC wants Mugabe to fire central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, saying their appointments were unconstitutional. They are also demanding the power to appoint provincial regional governors and want Mugabe to swear in Roy Bennett, currently on trial for terrorism-related charges, as deputy agriculture minister.

ZANU PF accuse the MDC of reneging on its commitment to persuade
the US and the European Union to lift travel bans and asset freezes against its leaders, imposed in 2002, following the human rights abuses and repression targeting the opposition.

Last week SADC leaders meeting in Maputo, Mozambique said they were ‘unhappy’ with the slow pace of negotiations aimed at ending the political crisis in the country.

The 15-nation SADC bloc brokered an accord in February 2009 that resulted in Mugabe and Tsvangirai forming an unsteady power sharing government. Since then, Tsvangirai’s MDC has accused Mugabe of violating terms of the agreement.

The MDC leader temporarily withdrew his party from the coalition in October last year. But he reversed his decision in November following talks mediated by SADC. Since then there has been no change to the situation.