Zanu PF tricks will not work

THE South African facilitation team that was in Harare this week has told principals of the global political agreement (GPA) to resolve outstanding issues and implement agreed reforms and warned them that President Jacob Zuma will not allow the country to disturb the 2010 Fifa World Cup tournament.

This came at a time when details of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security-mandated talks to deal with the sticking points of the GPA have started emerging.

Sources close to the current negotiations said among issues where no progress had been made was the demand by the MDC-T for ministerial allocations review with the party demanding to be solely in charge of at least one security ministry.

The facilitation team led by African National Congress kingpins Charles Nqakula and Mac Maharaj and aided by Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu, which arrived in the capital on Monday, reportedly told the principals of South Africa’s impatience with their failure to put finality to the sticking points.

The facilitators left the country on Wednesday with a report from the negotiators of the outstanding issues, which they will hand over to Zuma for onward transmission to the Sadc troika. The troika would then decide the way forward.

The trio met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara on Monday and President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday and expressed Zuma’s concern and the potential danger the Zimbabwe crisis posed on the World Cup.

The sources said the facilitation team had told the principals that Zuma was under pressure internally and externally to “clean up the region” for the successful hosting of the tournament.

James Maridadi, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, confirmed the meeting with the PM and what was raised, adding that the South African facilitators had officially told the premier that South Africa now considered Zimbabwe’s unending political squabbles a direct threat to their own country.

“Several issues were brought up by the facilitators including the real possibility of an outbreak of xenophobic attacks during the World Cup if political stability is not restored in Zimbabwe,” Maridadi said.

International pressure, he said, was mounting on Zuma and anxiety within South Africa was rising while in Zimbabwe there was growing frustration over the politicians’ dilly-dallying.

“The facilitators told the prime minister that negotiators should conclusively deal with the bulk of the issues without having to escalate them to the principals because the principals were not a negotiating platform,” Maridadi explained.

Zanu PF negotiators and those from Mutambara’s formation of the MDC have insisted negotiations had no deadline.

Sources also said the team had met negotiators and told them that they should show sincerity to the GPA and implement what they had agreed in the last two weeks of intense talks at a secret venue in the capital.

Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche reportedly said they wanted all outstanding issues to be resolved before implementation — a situation the South African facilitation team said was untenable.

The negotiators reportedly agreed on media reforms which if implemented would result in Mugabe and Zanu PF losing its grip on the public media.

Goche and another Zanu PF negotiator, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was standing in for Patrick Chinamasa, a fortnight ago reportedly gave in on media reforms after the MDC-T had tabled a number of proposals on media changes including reforms of public newspapers under the Zimpapers group and the state broadcaster ZBC.

This has reportedly angered Zanu PF which felt that Goche and Mnangagwa were selling out.

The current talks agenda has 27 items, 21 new issues and six old ones of which little has been achieved.

The MDC-T, the sources said, was responsible for bloating the agenda in their quest to “shift power from Mugabe’s office to the inclusive government” and share power equitably.

“As MDC-T we want to have sole control of one security ministry because the co-sharing of the Home Affairs portfolio has failed to work,” an MDC-T senior official close to the talks said.

“We are also demanding security reforms and the amendment of the cabinet handbook to allow Tsvangirai to chair cabinet in the absence of Mugabe.”

The source said they also wanted the negotiations to deal with the welfare of Tsvangirai who is yet to be allocated a government house since the formation of the inclusive government in February.

Mugabe has reportedly said he would not leave either Zimbabwe House or State House to accommodate the premier. At Independence, Mugabe who was the premier, lived in Zimbabwe House while the late  first President Canaan Banana lived in State House.

The MDC-T also wants the talks to deal with relations between Tsvangirai and Mugabe amid concerns that the premier had no easy access to the president as he has to go through a bureaucracy to meet the ageing leader.

“Apart from the routine Monday meeting and cabinet the following day, Tsvangirai has no easy access to Mugabe,” another MDC-T source said. “This is unthinkable in an inclusive government whose executive authority is shared between the two.”

According to Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Newsletter there was some movement on the outstanding issues, especially on media reform, hate speech, land audit and framework, but there was no agreement on the reappointment of central bank governor Gideon Gono, hiring of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, appointment of provincial governors, ministerial mandates and ministerial review.

Tsvangirai told the newsletter that the negotiators should conclude the dialogue and report to the principals “so that we can finalise the implementation plan this side of Christmas”.

“This will enable us to begin the New Year focussing on the Government Work Programme and delivery to the people,” Tsvangirai said. “It is time the government moved away from political posturing to concentrate on the technical issues of governing and on delivering basic services and freedoms to the people.”

The negotiating teams submitted progress reports to their principals this week.

 

Constantine Chimakure