SW Radio Africa (London)

10 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai and Mugabe Meet Over Constitutional Deadlock

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

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met with Robert Mugabe for their usual scheduled Monday meeting, in a bid to try and unlock the current deadlock over the Constitution reform exercise.

The meeting of the Principals reportedly included MDC-N leader Welshman Ncube for the first time, causing further confusion in a coalition government that has stopped functioning and is riddled with misinformation.

Ncube was last month acknowledged by SADC leaders as a principal in negotiations. But ZANU PF had dismissed him, saying the Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara would remain a Principal when dealing with Zimbabwean business.

The meeting precedes a SADC summit set for October in a yet undisclosed location, which the new Troika chairperson Jakaya Kikwete said would tackle the Zimbabwean crisis, with hopes of moving forward.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai launched his party's "Yes Vote Campaign" for the draft constitution over the weekend and made it clear he would try to convince Mugabe and ZANU PF to call a referendum on the draft charter.

He told supporters at the launch in Harare that it was "improper" for the three Principals to exclusively decide on the Constitution.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa that Tsvangirai launched the campaign before the Monday meeting as a preemptive move to try and force ZANU PF's hand into adopting the Copac draft, signed by the negotiators.

"You can't launch a Yes campaign if the draft is still negotiable and on the table. This was a tactical move to say the Copac draft is final and is now in the public domain. Tsvangirai wanted to force ZANU PF to move forward," Makumbe said.

Makumbe explained that the parties now needed to wait for ZANU PF to confirm to the chief mediator, President Zuma, that there was indeed a deadlock. He explained that this was necessary because ZANU PF could present the impression that negotiations were still taking place instead of a deadlock.

Makumbe said there should be more openness with the process and Zimbabweans should be given more information about what is going on in these meetings.

Analysts and many civic society organisations continue to maintain that both MDC formations conceded too much ground to ZANU PF in key areas in the Copac draft.

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