ZIMBABWE'S principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are delaying South African President Jacob Zuma's visit intended to break the political impasse in Harare, The Financial Gazette has established.
Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwe crisis, has been due in Harare for the past six months but his visit has been thwarted by the failure of President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to find time to meet him.
Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is also expected to meet with the South African leader when he is eventually invited by the three principals to Harare.
It is understood the "busy" schedules of the principals, particularly President Mugabe who has been out of the country on several occasions in the past four months, have been the reasons behind Zuma's delayed tour of duty.
Sources in Pretoria said Zuma was still waiting for an "invitation" from the three principals to come to Zimbabwe but the expected invitation was taking too long to come from Harare as the stalemate continues in the GPA.
Zuma and his facilitation team are said to be under pressure from SADC, the sponsors of the power-sharing pact along with the African Union, to ensure that the goals set by the GPA were all met before Zimbabwe held its next elections President Mugabe wants held this year without fail.
Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma's international affairs advisor who doubles-up as the spokesperson for the South Africa mediation team in Zimbabwe told this paper by telephone from Pretoria recently that there was still no word from the principals regarding when the South African leader would visit Harare.
"They (principals) have not indicated (when Zuma should visit).
"We expect an invitation but we are always in constant touch with the respective negotiators of the three political parties as the mediators," said Zulu.
"When the invitation to come (to Harare) comes, we will let the Zimbabwe people know," she added.
Zulu was also quoted in the South African media recently saying her mediation team had not lost hope on Zimbabwe.
"We made it clear that there won't be elections in Zimbabwe unless the set goals are met," she was quoted as having said.
ZANU-PF and the two formations of the MDC are still squabbling over the contents of the draft constitution, among other issues bedevilling the coalition government, nearly four years after its formation.
They are also failing to agree on electoral reforms that would lead to fresh polls whose outcome would not be disputed.
Zuma's long awaited visit to Harare is expected to break the political impasse or at least find common ground as the country trudges towards fresh polls.