Zanu PF, Sadc on warpath

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ZANU PF has practically declared war on Sadc by refusing to allow South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team and the bloc’s troika representatives to work with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) parties through the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic).

Report by Owen Gagare

Informed sources say this happened after two meetings at Jomic headquarters along King George Road in Avondale, Harare, on Wednesday and yesterday between Zuma’s facilitation team, troika representatives and the monitoring body’s officials collapsed amid fierce clashes and chaos which signalled the resurgence of political tensions and hostilities.

This comes hardly a week after a constitutional referendum hailed as a turning point in Zimbabwe’s political and electoral processes.

On the agenda of the ill-fated Wednesday meeting were items which included an update from the co-chairs, reports from the sub-committees on operations, media and land, the referendum and reviewing the GPA, among other things.

Jomic, widely criticised as a toothless bulldog, now sends reports to cabinet every two weeks. Yesterday’s meeting was convened to discuss how the facilitation team can work with Jomic.

Sources said Zanu PF Jomic representatives who included Nicholas Goche, Jonathan Moyo and Oppah Muchinguri, refused to allow Zuma’s facilitation team and troika delegates to be involved in full meetings of the GPA monitoring and implementation body.

Zanu PF co-chair Patrick Chinamasa did not attend as he was said to have travelled with President Robert Mugabe to the Vatican.

The MDC-T was represented by Elton Mangoma, Innocent Chagonda, Tabitha Khumalo and Elias Mudzuri, while the MDC had Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Qhubani Moyo, Paul Themba Nyathi and Frank Chamunorwa.

Sources said Zanu PF representatives, led by Moyo, argued the facilitation team should not attend Jomic’s full meetings as that was an infringement of the GPA which says parties must be left alone to resolve their issues, while it also undermined Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

They also argued it was not true Jomic was moribund and needed to be re-activated through the participation of the facilitation team as its sub-committees and other structures were working.

Further, they argued facilitation only happens at the level of principals, not Jomic, and if Sadc representatives got into the Jomic meetings they would become part of a monitoring structure expected to watch over all stakeholders, including them.

“Zanu PF officials, especially Moyo, raised all these issues saying the facilitation team must not be involved in Jomic meetings. They feel that the facilitation team is being intrusive, snooping on their affairs and is trying to remain relevant after it was left behind by recent events,” one Jomic official said. “The other issue is that Zanu PF thinks donors want to monitor the next elections and control the electoral process through Jomic.”

Sources said the Zanu PF team’s belligerent position caused heated exchanges, with vicious clashes between Jonathan Moyo and Mangoma. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was also involved although she was said to have been “restrained”.

The Jomic battles in Harare –– which have sent alarm bells ringing across the Sadc region –– follow a recent meeting of the Sadc troika on Politics, Defence and Security on March 9 in Pretoria, which demanded the troika’s representatives from Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia “must be enabled to actively participate in Jomic”.

In his report to the troika, Zuma made 10 recommendations which include the need for urgent full implementation of the GPA, elections roadmap, outstanding issues, security sector re-alignment, cessation of repression and violence, cleaning up of the voters’ roll, election observers, referendum and free and fair elections.

Sources said Goche, Jonathan Moyo and Muchinguri also rejected the participation of Zuma and the troika teams, claiming they were not aware Jomic co-chairs had recently agreed they should attend Wednesday’s meeting. Jomic co-chairs met with the facilitation team on March 12 where the troika representatives were introduced.

Sources said the snubbing of the facilitation team would be seen in the region as a slap in the face for Zuma, who was appointed by Sadc as facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis replacing his South African predecessor Thabo Mbeki, by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete who chairs the Sadc troika and the regional bloc in its entirety.

“The refusal to allow the facilitation teams to participate in Jomic meetings is a slap in the face for Zuma and the blocking of troika representatives means a rejection of Sadc resolutions, particularly those from the Livingstone, Sandton, Luanda, Maputo, Windhoek, Dar es Salem and Pretoria summits,” a senior Sadc diplomat said. “In short, this is declaration of war on Sadc by Zanu PF representatives.”

The Jomic fracas came a day after Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomao told Zimbabwe Independent (See story on Page 7)  that the regional bloc was unhappy with the way the monitoring body was operating.

Sources said the Wednesday meeting was convened after Jomic co-chairpersons, Chinamasa, Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Mangoma agreed to call for a full Jomic meeting at 1pm on Wednesday when they met on March 13.

“Jomic co-chairpersons from the MDC formations informed their parties about the meetings, but Goche, who arrived at the venue at 2pm well after the Sadc team and other officials had arrived, claimed not to know anything about that,” a source said. “This allowed Zanu PF representatives to refuse to allow the facilitation and troika teams to participate in the full Jomic meeting.”

A team comprising Moyo, Mangoma, Chagonda, Qhubani Moyo and Paul Themba Nyathi was then formed and tasked to come up with the terms of reference on how the facilitation team would work with Jomic. Goche was expected to attend but did not. The team met yesterday morning at Jomic offices, minutes of the meeting  were seen by the Independent show.

“It was noted that the meeting was agreed to in the meeting held on Wednesday 20 March 2013 to discuss how the facilitation team can work with Jomic. Honourable Mangoma highlighted that their party was happy for the facilitation team to sit in Jomic meetings and ask questions where they needed clarification. It was also noted that Jomic should submit regular reports to the facilitation team on the work being done,” minutes say.

“Honourable Professor J Moyo highlighted that their party position is that the facilitation team should interact with Jomic through the co-chairpersons.

Jomic is a process of three political parties therefore it would not be appropriate for the facilitator to sit in Jomic. Jomic should monitor all GPA processes including the role of the facilitator and Sadc. The facilitation team can receive reports from Jomic as they may need. The work of Jomic should not go beyond the GPA processes, and should not extend to the observation of the forthcoming elections because this is a national process.”

Qhubani Moyo, the minutes say, noted the position of his party is that there should be pronounced interaction of the facilitation team and Jomic. He said the facilitation team could sit in Jomic meetings and ask questions for further clarification. The facilitation team should receive regular reports from Jomic, while the monitoring body should submit regular reports to cabinet.

“It was noted that the parties had different positions on how Jomic should interact with the facilitation team, and on the role of Jomic in the forthcoming elections. The chairperson (Mangoma) noted that the parties should communicate their positions to the facilitation team,” the minutes say.

“Honourable Professor J Moyo highlighted that he was not mandated to talk to the facilitation team therefore he would not participate in the meeting with the facilitation team.”

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