SW Radio Africa (London)

13 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma Heading to Zim As Deadlock Over Constitution Looms

Photo: Buanews
File photo: President Jacob Zuma, center, with President Robert Mugabe, right, on a previous working visit to Zimbabwe.

A deadlock is looming between ZANU PF and the MDC formations over the draft constitution, amid reports the SADC mediator to the Zimbabwe crisis might be flying into Harare on Wednesday to rescue the situation.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T spokesman said problems that have emerged since ZANU PF reneged on the draft they signed on 18th July may have prompted President Jacob Zuma to intervene.

'What I know is that President Zuma has indicated his intention to come to Harare. Clearly there are problems in the constitution making process and these are some of the delays that are worrisome to the SADC bloc.

'We need to finalise the issue of the constitution before a referendum and elections. The mediator and his facilitation team are interested in the holding of elections in Zimbabwe and I suspect this is one of the major issues Zuma will talk about if he's coming,' Mwonzora said.

Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson for Zuma's facilitation team, told SW Radio Africa that Zuma's visit to Harare was not yet finalised.

'We are still working on that and as I speak to you now, I'm in a meeting working out details for that trip,' Zulu said. But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, confirmed to Newsday on Sunday that the South African leader will be in Harare on Wednesday.

Zuma's anticipated visit will come two days before a SADC summit in Mozambique on Friday. It is believed Zimbabwe will be on the SADC agenda following differences that have emerged in the constitution process. The adoption of a new constitution is one of the regional bloc's requirements for Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections.

While the two MDC formations have endorsed the new charter, the former ruling party says it won't accept the draft constitution without amendments.

Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the state controlled Herald newspaper last week that the draft was unacceptable in its present form and 'we cannot commit ourselves' to untenable clauses.

Mwonzora suggested that a long drawn out battle could be ahead, by declaring that the draft doesn't have to be satisfactory to ZANU PF or to any political party, insisting the people of Zimbabwe will have a major say on that.

'ZANU PF has no right to alter the draft, amend the draft or to review the work of COPAC. They (COPAC) do not report to ZANU PF. If they are unhappy about anything, then they must take that to the Second All Stakeholders' conference and not try to adulterate the people's views,' Mwonzora said.

The MDC-T MP for Nyanga North claimed the constitutional process has simply become a battleground within ZANU PF's factional infighting to control the party.

'This fight is a manifestation of deep seated factionalism. It's not a genuine desire to have a constitution that is gripping ZANU PF but underhand manoeuvres to wrest control of the party,' he said.

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InFocus

Zimbabwean Constitution Deadlock - Zuma Sends Team Again

File photo: President Jacob Zuma, center, with President Robert Mugabe, right, on a previous working visit to Zimbabwe.

President Jacob Zuma has again send his facilitation team to Zimbabwe to engage coalition partners over constitutional stalemate. Read more »