SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma's mediation in Zimbabwe appears to be bogged down by continued squabbling in the inclusive government over implementation of the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Zuma has been to Zimbabwe once since he took over the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) in December 2009. His failure to undertake a tour of duty to Harare has been blamed on his political problems in his ANC, coupled with a tight schedule of the three leaders in the inclusive government -- President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
At its last Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika summit in Angola last month, the regional grouping put paid to ZANU-PF's calls for early elections by insisting that the GPA reforms be concluded first. The summit also directed Zuma to intensify his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, hamstrung by the impasse around issues covered in the GPA.
Zuma was initially expected in Harare two weeks after the Luanda summit but he did not show up. His special advisor and spokesperson on the mediation in Zimbabwe, Lindiwe Zulu, said the visit has been put in abeyance in the hope that the GPA principals would finish what they are working on.
"The negotiators are meeting. They are working on the outstanding issues as well as the election roadmap and the constitution," said Zulu.
Zulu said it was impossible for her boss to be in Harare this week as reported by various media houses, adding that the SADC-appointed mediator was attending an ANC conference this week.
Sources close to the goings on in the inclusive government say while the GPA principals deliberated on various issues to do with completing the reforms agreed under the GPA at their meeting on Monday, facts on the ground remain unchanged.
ZANU-PF has so far vehemently opposed any tampering with the security sector while the Minister of Information and Publicity Webster Shamu has blatantly ignored directives from the principals to put in motion media reforms. The draft constitution is also bogged down by conflicting demands of the GPA partners.
A Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) retreat in Nyanga last week aimed at resolving the constitutional impasse ended with no clear headway.
Only Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T point person at COPAC, spoke to The Financial Gazette last week saying the meeting had agreed on half of the constitution and expected to finalise it before ending their retreat.
Rugare Gumbo, the ZANU-PF spokesman, was however, adamant that his party's 29-page demands had to be respected and included in the draft constitution. At that, he differed with Mwonzora who denounced the ZANU-PF document as just a party position, not what the people said during the COPAC outreach meetings.
Also, no security sector reforms are looming. Sources in government say such a development is highly unlikely at the moment as army generals have recently upped the stakes in the political arena of the country by squarely and openly supporting President Mugabe's party.
On the other hand, ZANU-PF's open support for Zuma's nemesis, former ANC youth leader Julius Malema has poisoned relations between the two liberation movements.
None of the GPA negotiators were available for comment on Tuesday as their phones were either unreachable or went unanswered.