Zimbabwe: MDC Parties Invite Zuma

THE two MDC formations are in the process of inviting the facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma, to break the deadlock over the constitution, setting the stage for a bitter conflict with Zanu PF which maintains there is no need for external interference.

Both MDC leader, Welshman Ncube and MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, have declared that there were headed for a deadlock and Zuma must intervene to break the impasse.

MDC secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora indicated that they had written to President Robert Mugabe in response to the Zanu PF demands indicating that they were not willing to negotiate any further.

"We have written to the facilitator indicating that there is a deadlock and as he is mandated by Sadc, he should come in to break it," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

She said another letter had been written to Mugabe, but the president was yet to receive it as he was out of the country. The letter was also copied to the facilitation team and Zuma.

"We are fundamentally apart (with Zanu PF), there is a disagreement on issues to do with process and content and even if we were meeting again, any negotiations will yield absolutely nothing," Misihairabwi-Mushonga continued.

"Zanu PF is saying we should wait for the principals' meeting but this will not achieve anything."

She accused Zanu PF of trying to stall on the new constitution, so that the country would go for elections without reforms.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said since Sadc was the guarantor to the draft, Zuma could come at any time, whether he had been invited or not, if he felt there was need to mediate in a process that had stalled.

Mwonzora said Tsvangirai had written to Mugabe and had copied the letter to Zuma indicating that the process had stalled and there was need for intervention.

"The Prime Minister has written to Mugabe, responding to the Zanu PF constitution saying this was unacceptable and that the facilitator must intervene," he said.

The MDC-T spokesman accused Zanu PF of rewriting the constitution and including issues that were not mentioned during the outreach, like the national youth service.

"We are not in a position to negotiate, we have tried and failed," Mwonzora said, adding that in the initial draft that was released in April, Zanu PF came up with a 29-page response where they had 255 complaints.

"Now they have 266 complaints, it shows that they are not negotiating in good faith."

But Copac co-chair, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, from Zanu PF maintains that any thinking that Zuma will come in to solve the impasse was misplaced.

"Zimbabwe is not a colony of South Africa," he declared. "Zuma has no executive powers in his facilitation role, he can only listen and say guys talk."

Mangwana said hoping for an external solution was child's play.

"There is no one who will impose a constitution on the people of Zimbabwe," he continued. "If Zuma seeks to impose a solution, it will not work. I am sure Zuma will see his role correctly and will encourage the parties to sit down and talk and I see that as the only way."

Meanwhile, the MDC formations have handed over the draft to the Speaker of Parliament and the President of the Senate. They argue that the constitutional process is a parliamentary driven one and Mugabe should not usurp the powers of the legislature by trying to force amendments to the Copac draft.

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