The Herald (Harare)

29 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma's Facilitation Team Meets GPA Negotiators

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

President Jacob Zuma's facilitation team yesterday met negotiators to the Global Political Agreement to hear an update on Constitution-making in Zimbabwe.

The team is expected to hold a joint meeting with the three political parties today after meeting them separately yesterday.

Zanu-PF chief negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa confirmed the meeting.

"Yes, we had a meeting with the facilitation team, but I cannot comment now on the issue, we are going to have a joint meeting tomorrow," said Cde Chinamasa, who is also the Justice and Legal Affairs Minister.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told reporters that there was a deadlock on the way forward on the draft constitution. He said the principals had no veto powers on the draft.

But Cde Chinamasa said the PM should know of the need to secure consensus among principals to determine the way forward.

"He should convey that to the President," said Cde Chinamasa.

"The projected meeting of principals is critical to determine the course we are going to take. The PM is aware that the Constitution-making process is built on consensus and that without the support of Zanu-PF the process will not move forward."

Cde Chinamasa said the fact that the draft had signatures of the Copac management committee members from Zanu-PF was non-consequential.

"That was never the understanding and the issue of management committee is not in the GPA," he said. "We are a management committee put in place by the principals. You cannot argue that nine people have the authority to impose a constitution on a country. We should go and campaign for the draft in unison."

MDC-T negotiator Mr Elton Mangoma also confirmed meeting with President Zuma's facilitation team yesterday.

"We have met with the facilitation team today as negotiators. Unfortunately, I cannot comment beyond that," he said.

MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube said his negotiators also met with the team.

"They are still meeting the facilitation team right now," he said yesterday evening.

At the Press conference, PM Tsvangirai reiterated his party's position that they would not re-negotiate the draft constitution.

"If Zanu-PF was bringing one or two issues, one would say we look at it for consensus and not necessarily to agree," he said.

"But this (Zanu-PF amendments) is a total rejection of the draft and for me and my party we will not open up for negotiations."

PM Tsvangirai was addressing journalists during his monthly briefings at his Munhumutapa offices. He said it was now clear that they had reached a deadlock on the constitution and called for Sadc intervention.

"The issue will be brought to the attention of the Sadc facilitator and the Troika," said PM Tsvangirai.

"Sadc is aware of this and I am sure Sadc will intervene to solve the impending deadlock.

"Some of us have no wish to revise that position and, in any case, the principals cannot re-negotiate a document agreed by those with our delegated authority."

PM Tsvangirai said parties should reserve the right to campaign for or against the draft in the pending referendum.

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