12 June 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma's Facilitation Team Jets in

SADC facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma's backroom facilitation team arrived in Harare yesterday and met negotiators to the Global Political Agreement who told them that they should wait for an invitation from the parties to the GPA.

SADC tasked the South African President to have a hands-on approach to the facilitation as his reliance on proxies had wrought confusion along with procedural irregularities manifest in the ill-fated Livingstone Troika Summit.

Mr Zuma's team, which said it came for an update on the Constitution-making process as was discussed in Angola, comprised of his spokesperson Mr Mac Maharaj and special advisor Mr Charles Nqakula and an unidentified lady. Ms Lindiwe Zulu, who is Mr Zuma's international relations advisor - and who has been accused of spawning confusion - was not part of the team.

The team met Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nicholas Goche from Zanu-PF side; Mr Tendai Biti and Jameson Timba from MDC-T; and Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Mr Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the MDC.

Zanu-PF negotiator Cde Nicholas Goche yesterday confirmed the visit but added that nothing was discussed because the management committee had not yet received the draft constitution from the Select Committee.

He described the team's visit as premature saying they should wait for an invitation from the Zimbabwean side.

"We met them today (yesterday) but they have come early because we ourselves have not yet received the draft constitution," said Cde Goche. "In any event, we have to meet this weekend to finalise the draft constitution. We have to look at areas where the Select Committee failed to agree and see if we can come with a solution," he added.

Cde Goche said the Select Committee met yesterday to finalise the draft constitution that has to be submitted to the Management Committee en route to the principals. He said after interrogating the draft and even if they failed to agree on certain issues as Management Committee, they would submit it to GPA Principals.

Cde Goche said they would invite the facilitation when they have a position to be communicated to the facilitator.

SADC urged the parties to the GPA to commit themselves to the issues agreed in the GPA including concluding the constitution-making process, which analysts say is not synonymous with having a new constitution since that can only be determined by the referendum.

Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they talked about preparations for the principals' meeting saying the facilitation team would return on the 25th to finalise the dates for the meeting.

MDC-T could not be reached for comment.

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