Zanu PF snubs Zuma team

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s negotiators to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) have snubbed South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team.

The meetings were supposed to tackle the contentious security sector and media reforms among other issues.

On Sunday, representatives from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube’s MDC formations met the South African facilitation team led by Charles Nqakula and Lindiwe Zulu in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The meeting was a follow-up to the one held nearly a fortnight ago in Harare, where representatives from the three political parties briefed the facilitation team about progress in the constitution-making process.

Zanu PF is represented by Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, while Tsvangirai’s MDC is represented by Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma. Ncube’s team is made up of Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga and Moses Mzila Ndlovu.

At the last meeting in Harare, all three parties agreed on a follow-up meeting in South Africa, but on Sunday Zanu PF was nowhere near the “Election Roadmap” talks.

Although Biti was not present at the meeting, he was replaced by Jameson Timba, the minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office and MDC secretary for International Affairs.

Timba confirmed the meeting yesterday but referred questions to Zulu.

Zulu also confirmed that a meeting took place on Sunday but refused to comment on Zanu PF’s absence.

“I think it is best that Zanu PF explain why they did not attend the meeting. The meeting was agreed upon when we came to Harare. It was basically a follow-up on the current situation of the GPA and preparations for the referendum,” said Zulu.

The agenda of the meeting centred on discussing progress of the unity government and also the thorny issue of security sector reforms.

A representative from Ncube’s MDC told the Daily News yesterday that the meeting discussed the election roadmap including the funding of a referendum and elections which are due this year.

Zimbabwe requires close to $250 million for a referendum and subsequent general election, money which a broke Treasury does not have.

“It was a report back of the progress we have made so far in the election roadmap. We talked about progress in the constitution-making process. We told the team that we had given a constitution draft to Parliament.

“Zanu PF officials were however, not present at the meeting. When the team was here nearly a fortnight ago we agreed that we would have another meeting in South Africa,” he said.

Chinamasa, who is also the minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, said the invitation for the Sunday meeting came late.

“The invitation came late on Thursday and I had committed myself (but) I failed to organise a team. As you know my colleague, minister Goche, is out of the country and the alternate is minister (Emmerson) Mnangagwa who was also out of the country.

“I think the meeting was aborted and if they held it, it is meaningless because there was no quorum because whatever they discussed does not involve Zanu PF,” Chinamasa said.

The completion of the constitution-making process is widely regarded as key to the holding of free and fair elections.

However, there are still areas of contestation between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations — security sector and media reforms.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF has rejected calls to tinker with the military establishment, which civic society and other parties accuse of being brazenly partisan.

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