Further breakthroughs expected in Zim crisis

2009-12-23 10:42

After scoring landmark progress by setting up three key independent

commissions on Monday Zimbabwe’s political principals were set to meet again

today to work out more progress in the implementation of the contentious Global

Political Agreement (GPA).

James Maridadi, spokesperson for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

confirmed today that President Robert Mugabe, PM Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime

Minister Arthur Mutambara were expected to meet to thrash out the remaining

outstanding issues to the GPA.

“They are meeting at 11am. No one as yet knows which exact issues

they are tackling today but, as happened on Monday, we could be getting

announcements of more broken ground,” Maridadi said.

Commissioners to the Zimbabwe Media Commission, together with those

who will sit on the Human Rights Commission and Election Commission were

announced by the chief secretary to Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, on Monday.

The principals were today likely to deal with the issue of

provincial governors where a compromise is imminent. Earlier agreement on the

formula for sharing the 10 provincial governorships was based on the performance

of the three main parties in the March 2008 elections.

That formula would mean that Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic

Party (MDC-T) would take five governorships, mostly in the cities where his

party whitewashed Mugabe’s party.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF party would have four gubernatorial posts in

Zimbabwe’s rural provinces while Mutambara’s smaller formation of the MDC would

settle for one.

Mugabe has however of late made a U-turn on the agreement arguing

that provincial governorships were an extension of the office of the President

and therefore could not be shared.

The other principals rejected that assertion and sources say Mugabe

may have reconsidered the position which had been authored by hardliners in his

party and endorsed by the recent Zanu PF congress.

Issues to do with the appointment of reserve bank governor and

attorney general have remained sticky and there is no likelihood they could

feature on today’s agenda.

The same applies to the issue of the swearing-in of Roy Bennett as

deputy agriculture minister.

Facilitators of the Zimbabwe political dialogue, the Southern

Africa Development Community (SADC) has instructed that these issues be dealt

with. Mugabe has, however, dug in and flatly refuses to even consider the Gono

and Tomana issues. He has vowed that the two professed Zanu PF and Mugabe

loyalists would not be removed.

Mugabe has also not minced his words on the issue of Bennett whom

he recently branded a “descendent of white settlers” who could never claim to be

Zimbabwean and therefore not entitled to a cabinet post in the inclusive

government.

Several new issues have emerged during inter-party negotiations.

The MDC is said to be demanding that the joint operations command (JOC), the

supreme organ that coordinates state security, be dismantled since a new

National Security Council (NSC) formed as part of the GPA provisions should

perform the JOC’s duties.

Mugabe and his party have flatly rejected this saying the security

of the country was the sole prerogative of his party because it fought for the

independence of Zimbabwe.

The MDC is also said to have demanded control of the ministries of

foreign affairs and home affairs as part of the ministerial allocation review

agreed to in the GPA.

Home affairs is currently jointly controlled by Mugabe’s ZANU PF

and the MDC while foreign affairs is solely run by the former.

Mugabe has accused Tsvangirai of failing to effectively campaign

for the removal of economic sanctions and also the closure of ‘pirate radio

stations’ beaming into Zimbabwe.

The past few days have, however, seen Tsvangirai’s top officials

vigorously campaigning for the removal of sanctions.

Owners of the so-called pirate radio stations have clearly told the

inclusive government that Tsvangirai had no control over them and had no power

to cause their closure.

On Sunday Tsvangirai’s party resolved at its meeting that all

outstanding issues yet to be resolved by the unity government must be completed

by January 15.

The MDC national council said if the outstanding issues were not

solved then a deadlock must be declared and the issues referred back to

Sadc.

“The post Maputo dialogue must be completed as soon as possible and

in any event by no later than January 15 2009. In the event of a deadlock after

this date, the matter will be referred to SADC for arbitration and

adjudication,” the MDC said in a statement.


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