GPA principals in Botswana for Troika meeting

The three principals to the Global Political Agreement are in Gaborone, Botswana for the SADC Troika meeting on Zimbabwe. The meeting began Friday afternoon and is expected to finish late in the evening.\r\n

The Troika, chaired by Zambian President Rupiah Banda, will examine the latest crisis in Harare over the unilateral senior appointments by Robert Mugabe. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is seeking guarantees from the meeting that SADC will establish a roadmap to ensure free and fair elections in the country, set for 2011.

The meeting at Gaborone’s Grand Palm hotel is expected to be a highly charged Indaba as it comes at a time when Tsvangirai has lost his patience and recently labelled Mugabe ‘a crook.’

Mugabe unilaterally appointed governors, judges and ambassadors without consulting the MDC leader and has also refused to implement outstanding issues in the GPA, a situation that has culminated in the two protagonists not seeing eye to eye in the past month.

After Friday’s Troika meeting President Banda is expected to brief other leaders on the outcome and recommendations on Zimbabwe, when he presents his first report an extra-ordinary summit on Saturday.

A senior figure in the MDC-T told us Thursday that Tsvangirai is to insist on a clear roadmap for a free and fair election, with concrete measures to eliminate intimidation and violence, if a poll is to go ahead next year.

He is also expected to insist on the full implementation of the already agreed matters in the Global Political Agreement. Some SADC leaders are pushing for the immediate deployment of a SADC team to oversee the reform and electoral process. But some observers remain concerned that other leaders in SADC are firmly on Mugabe’s side and are not impartial enough to help run free elections in Zimbabwe.