Tsvangirai pushes for fresh talks

Dumisani Muleya


THE main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai has proposed fresh talks with the ruling Zanu PF as the only way out of the current crisis ahead of the scheduled 2008 presidential election.

The Tsva

ngirai camp, locked in a war of attrition with a rival group led by Arthur Mutambara for the heart and soul of the party, says inter-party dialogue will help to clear adversities whittling away the fabric of the nation.

In a confidential document, titled MDC proposals for the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis: Sign posts to peace, democracy, legitimacy, reconstruction, and national healing, the MDC says talks are the only way out of this predicament.

“The opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans suffer from incessant political repression and the negative effects of a collapsed economy, which cannot be reconstructed under the present political conditions,” it says. 

“Therefore, no possible relief is on offer. Only a negotiated political settlement provides for a resolution of the crisis.”

The MDC says there is now consensus at home and abroad that the current situation was unsustainable and only dialogue would rescue the country.

In its document — also termed the Road Map — the MDC proposes phased talks, starting with Zanu PF and then later other political parties and civic groups.

“Our proposed road map entails the following:

Stage A: Negotiations and agreement between Zanu PF and MDC on the framework.

Stage B: Negotiations between MDC and Zanu PF on a transitional authority.

Stage C: Negotiations between civil society, Zanu PF, the MDC and other political formations on the involvement of civic society in various transitional bodies including the constitutional conference.

Stage D: The enactment by parliament of the constitutional conference act and the necessary amendments to the Zimbabwean constitution to cater for the transitional authority and cabinet and any other matters incidental thereto.”

The MDC says Stage E will deal with the drafting of the new constitution by the constitutional conference, while Stage F would focus on the holding of a referendum on the new constitution.

Stage G will concentrate on mechanisms for free and fair elections “for all arms of government under international supervision in terms of the new constitution.

“The two political parties should establish a legally recognised bi-partisan negotiating team to meet as soon as possible to map the route forward, discuss and agree on key issues to the process and draft the constitutional reform agenda for the constitutional conference,” the MDC states. 

“The two parties in the bi-partisan negotiating team must agree to: the composition, structure, terms of reference; and methods of work of the constitutional conference. An Act of Parliament should establish the constitutional conference.”

It proposes an institutional framework comprising a standing committee on political issues, the bi-partisan negotiating team, a transitional executive council established by an act of parliament, national implementation committee, a security monitoring task force, international monitoring committee, independent electoral commission, and independent self regulatory media commission to support the process.