The SADC Troika has resolved to take a hands-on approach to the Zimbabwe crisis by convening a special summit next month, to discuss and address the 'deadlocked' constitution process.
At the end of Tuesday's closed session of the Troika on politics, defence and security Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told journalists in Dar es Salaam that they wanted to see free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
Kikwete, who took over the Troika chair in August, said the summit will be held on the 7th and 8th October. He did not name the country that will host the summit.
Tuesday's day long summit, attended by Kikwete, SADC chair and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, also dealt with the issue of how to bring stability and peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Zimbabwe was discussed at length, 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.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai last week declared a deadlock over ZANU PF's requirement for extensive changes to the draft constitution.
The two MDC formations have endorsed the new charter, completed on 18th July, while ZANU PF insists it won't accept the draft constitution without amendments.
ZANU PF wants homosexuality and same-sex marriages outlawed, devolution of power abolished and replaced with decentralization, and dual citizenship banned. The party claims these were popular sentiments contained in the national report of the outreach program.
During last month's SADC summit in Maputo, Mozambique, SADC Heads of State mandated the Troika to engage Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, should they fail to resolve the impasse.
ZANU PF is now offering the two MDC formations a 'bargain' to break the deadlock over a new constitution.
The Daily News reported on Wednesday that ZANU PF has said the coalition partners must conduct an audit of the COPAC draft, against views expressed during the outreach program.
Further delaying any discussion has been the cancellation of the meeting between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube to discuss the amendments. It's been pushed to next week Monday after the MDC-T leader travelled to the US to attend President Barack Obama's Democratic Party convention.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T spokesman confirmed to SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that they've already declared a deadlock to the SADC mediator, President Jacob Zuma, and the Troika.
He said any negotiation between now and October has to be meaningful and not retrogressive as demanded by ZANU PF. Mwonzora told us he was hopeful the Troika will be able to make a breakthrough.
'SADC and the three-member Troika have dealt with more difficult issues before this constitutional impasse. With the correct attitude and energy I sincerely hope the Troika will help the GPA partners bridge the differences.
'It should also be said that it's high time the Troika told Mugabe in his face that he's being an impediment to the whole process. He's been contemptuous of SADC, contemptuous of his coalition partners and next month's summit will be an opportune time to tell him to simply follow the rules,' Mwonzora said.
United States based political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba said ZANU PF should embrace humility and accept that they must move the process to its conclusion.
'ZANU PF's intransigence in the last three years has seen the party lose its integrity amongst its friends. Ten years ago Mugabe would have many friends in his corner in a SADC summit, but this is no longer the case.
'You can tell from the overtures from the party that they are uncomfortable taking this dispute to the Troika in the full knowledge Mugabe will lose his case to amend the constitution,' Shumba said.