14 June 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma Team Overstepping Mandate - Legal Experts

The South African facilitation team is overstepping its mandate by engaging small political parties outside the inclusive Government, legal experts and political observers said yesterday.

They said the team was now operating outside the Global Political Agreement framework.

SADC facilitator South African President Jacob Zuma's backroom team was in Harare on Monday and met small parties' representatives in Harare.

The parties are MDC 99, Democratic Party, Zapu and Zanu Ndonga.

The team had earlier met the GPA negotiators.

Constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku yesterday described the approach by Mr Zuma's team as "stupid".

"We were surprised by their conduct. Their mandate is to assist GPA parties implement and solve outstanding issues, not to engage other political parties.

"It seems by allowing them to go outside the GPA, we are giving them a chance to run our country. This is not about SADC but us Zimbabweans."

Another legal expert, Mr Jonathan Samukange, said the team should not operate outside the purview of the GPA.

"What they did was outright violation of the GPA. These guys are guided by the GPA and should not operate outside it. This is unacceptable," he said.

Harare lawyer Mr Chris Mhike said engagements outside the GPA should be those helpful in the stabilisation of the political and economic situation in the country.

Political analyst Professor Jonathan Moyo described the meeting as "irregular and an affront" to Zimbabwe's sovereignty. He said the meeting proved that the GPA was dead.

"It violated not only the GPA itself upon which the SADC mediation through President Zuma's facilitation is based, but also in that it violated Zimbabwe's laws because it contravened the provisions of Constitutional Amendment 19, which relates to the GPA.

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