THE road to a political settlement in Zimbabwe is bumpy and requires skilful negotiation after the main protagonists â€” President Robert Mugabe and the MDCâ€™s Morgan Tsvangirai â€” set pre-dialogue conditions that may render the process stillborn, analysts have said.
Both Zanu PF and the MDC have committed themselves to a negotiated political settlement, but sharply differ on how such a pact can be hammered out.
The analysts argued that the conditions put in place reflect the seemingly irreconcilable differences between Zanu PF and the MDC â€” some of them principally ideological.
Mugabe sees the MDC as an extension of the United States, Britain and other Western countries bent on regime change in Zimbabwe, while the opposition party blames Zanu PF for poor governance that has plunged the country into a steep crisis.
Mugabeâ€™s “landslide victory” in the June 27 presidential run-off, the analysts observed, further strained relations between the MDC and Zanu PF given the violence employed to achieve the ruling partyâ€™s objective.
This prompted the African Union Summit in Egypt last week to resolve that, the two parties should engage in talks and come up with a government of national unity (GNU) to prevent the country from further sliding into paralysis. The union endorsed the Sadc-initiated dialogue between Zanu and the MDC under the mediation of South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Critics of GNUs such as Moeletsi Mbeki have described them as rescue projects for African dictatators which violate the national will.
At the weekend, Thabo Mbeki tried and failed to have Mugabe and Tsvangirai meet to set the parameters of the dialogue.