The Herald (Harare)

16 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma Commends GPA Progress

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

SADC-appointed facilitator to the Global Political Agreement, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, has acknowledged progress achieved by parties in the inclusive Government.

He, however, said there were still "hitches" that needed to be ironed out for the full implementation of the GPA.

President Zuma, however, said the remaining issues were not major and would not affect progress made.

President Zuma was speaking in Harare last night after separately meeting President Mugabe (Zanu-PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Professor Welshman Ncube of MDC.

The meetings were in preparation for the Sadc Troika and the main summit scheduled for Mozambique starting today.

President Mugabe also said the GPA was progressing well, with the Constitution-making process having resulted in the draft being handed over to the principals.

"It (the meeting) went well. We briefed the President on the process as it has moved globally towards the making of the Constitution with a view to reaching a stage of referendum and elections, that we now were at a stage where principals have been served with the draft Constitution and each party at the level of the principals is now considering the draft."

The President said Zanu-PF had considered the draft and effected amendments.

"There would be a discussion to exchange ideas as principals and thereafter we hand over the draft to the stakeholders, so there would be a stakeholders' stage which will discuss the Constitution as a draft and possibly make amendments."

President Mugabe said the draft would be handed over to Parliament for further discussions and possible amendments before it goes to referendum.

"That is what we have told him," he said.

The President said he was not aware of any hitches, saying President Zuma could have been referring to amendments made.

He said Zanu-PF would not have passed the draft without reviewing it.

"We are an enlightened party. We do not just accept things as conclusive."

President Mugabe expressed hope that there would not be any controversies at the Sadc summit.

Briefing journalists before his departure, President Zuma said he would brief the Sadc Troika today and the full summit.

"As you realise, I am here to consult with the parties that are part of the Government here who made the agreement that we have the Government that is operating," he said.

"One of the tasks is to report how far the process in Zimbabwe is. I have consulted the parties. We had discussions on a variety of issues.

"I will be reporting to Sadc tomorrow (today) where the Troika is meeting and then report to the Sadc Summit.

"There has been some movement forward. There are still some hitches which are not major."

Mr Tsvangirai, however, emerged from the meeting singing a different hymn.

"The position is that different political parties made representations to President Zuma mostly around the Constitution, but as you know Zanu-PF has not concluded discussions around the Constitution. It has been decided that the matter would be re-visited at the summit," he said.

The PM said the principals had no veto power against Copac.

"Clause 6 of the 19th Amendment doesn't give veto power to the principals. Principals cannot veto what Copac has done," he said.

President Zuma also met MDC leader Prof Ncube, while it could not be established whether Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara had been granted audience with the Sadc facilitator.

President Zuma had earlier been welcomed at the Harare International Airport by Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa and Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo.

No representative from the MDC formations was at the airport.

The Sadc Troika meets today, while the full summit starts tomorrow in Maputo, Mozambique.

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