A SPECIAL Sadc team started meetings with political players yesterday in a bid to prevent the country from sliding back into political repression and economic meltdown.
The meetings, which were due to culminate in critical encounters between the Sadc team and main political leaders who include President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara today, would give clear indications about the future of Zimbabwe’s troubled inclusive government.
The Sadc team is led by Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister Oldemiro Baloyi and includes Zambian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Fashion Phiri and his Swazi counterpart Lutho Dlamini.
Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomao and South African facilitators to the Zimbabwe dialogue, Frank Chikane and Mojanku Gumbi, are also part of the fact-finding mission.
Salomao said the Sadc team was in Harare to review the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Zimbabwe is going through a fresh political crisis after Tsvangirai and his ministers from the MDC pulled out of power-sharing, citing Mugabe’s failure to implement the GPA and the dispute over a series of outstanding issues.
Of late repression has been intensifying after months of a reprieve since the unity government was formed in February.
The Sadc team yesterday met representatives of political parties and diplomats as part of its consultations.
The group met Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha, Sadc diplomats, negotiators from Tsvangirai’s MDC, Mutambara and his smaller MDC faction, and several stakeholders.
After the meetings yesterday, the Sadc team will today meet Zimbabwe’s three main political leaders, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara. It would also meet European diplomats and officials from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee.
After yesterday’s meeting, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said his party had tabled its issues.
“We made our presentations and representations on the issues that are of concern,” he said.
Sadc chairman, DRC President Joseph Kabila, was expected to arrive in Harare last night after failing to make it on Wednesday to push for a quick resolution of the problem.
Kabila’s intervention, and the presence of South African officials, would highlight the gravity of the political crisis in Harare and determine whether the unity government can be saved from a looming break up. — Staff Writer.