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Zuma doubts Zim’s poll readiness

SADC-APPOINTED facilitator to the Zimbabwe political dialogue, South African President Jacob Zuma has expressed concern that negotiations aimed at delivering free and credible elections among parties in the inclusive government are weak, raising fears over the country’s readiness to hold polls any time soon.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu told the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday that problems and challenges affecting the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are just too many to be successfully concluded in a short space of time.

Zulu said: “President Zuma will be happy when the whole facilitation process ends successfully. The challenges during this process are many. They include delay in the constitution process, strengthening the negotiations to deliver on elections, finalising the (election) roadmap, creating a conducive environment for the elections and implementation of outstanding issues in the GPA.”

Zulu said the facilitation team remains fully committed and hopes to work with more vigour this year to facilitate a lasting breakthrough. She said her team monitors developments whenever negotiators raise issues and when necessary.

Speculation has been rife that a progress report on Zimbabwe would be tabled at the 20th (AU) summit to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 21-28 under the theme “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”.

Deputy head of communication and information of the AU Commission Wynne Musabayana said she was not sure Zimbabwe would be discussed at the summit as the final programme of the summit was still being prepared.

However, Zulu said Zimbabwe was not on the AU agenda, unless requested by the continental body.

The summit would start with a meeting of the Permanent Representative Committee of Ambassadors from January 21-22, the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council from January 24-25 and the 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government from January 27-28.

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