Zim deadline approaches in face of another deadlock

2009-12-02 11:25

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party was this morning expected

to convene a crucial meeting of its supreme governing body, the politburo, as it

appeared the former ruling party was not prepared to let go of its stranglehold

on power and was determined to scuttle the SADC-brokered power-sharing


Today’s meeting comes ahead of the arrival, “on Thursday or

Friday”, of South African President Jacob Zuma, SADC’s point man in Zimbabwe’s

troubled coalition.

Zuma has until Friday to get Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to implement the SADC-mediated power-sharing

agreement that gave birth to Zimbabwe’s inclusive government.

A high-powered delegation dispatched by Zuma last Sunday to

facilitate the negotiations said before leaving Zimbabwe that they were happy

“in the sense that we have met everyone we wanted to meet”, adding: “The

meetings are still on-going”.

Indications in Harare, however, yesterday evening pointed at yet

another failure of one more SADC effort.

“The writing is on the wall and the body language says it all.

People are trying to hide behind fingers,” said a highly placed source from

Mutambara’s smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)


He was referring to public accusations by Zanu-PF that the MDC was

bringing in fresh demands. “The ordinary Zimbabwean is getting disillusioned. He

suffers most while even the leaders begin to show signs of ‘negotiation

fatigue’,” the official said asking not to be identified.

Although the discussions were shrouded in secrecy, information

started filtering out Tuesday with Zanu-PF negotiators “leaking” the MDC’s

“outrageous” “fresh” demands in the government-controlled media.

John Makumbe, a political analyst and critic of Mugabe said in an

interview: “The MDC is going to ask Zuma, how they could stop Western sanctions

that they have no control over, or close the so-called pirate radio stations

which they neither own nor control.

Yet Mugabe could in one day implement 90% of

what the agreement requires of him because all that is entirely within his


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