29 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Zuma Team Meets Political Parties Over Constitutional Deadlock

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

Two members from President Zuma's facilitation team flew into Harare on Wednesday to meet with representatives from the three political parties, in an effort to break the current deadlock in the constitution making exercise.

Speaking for the facilitators, Lindiwe Zulu told SW Radio Africa that she had not managed to come to Harare for the meetings, but Mac Maharaj and Charles Ngacula had been and already returned to South Africa.

Zulu would not disclose the outcome of the meetings, saying the team needed to brief President Zuma first. She said she was confident a solution to the deadlock would be found but the challenge was "in the how". Trusted sources in Harare told us the facilitators had failed to break the deadlock.

Asked whether it is ZANU PF that is presenting problems again, Zulu said: "When you are the facilitators yourself, you don't want necessarily to be communicating a message that makes any of the parties uncomfortable. However, when the chance presents itself most of the time it is at the level of SADC."

She added: "From where we sit as facilitators, one day it is ZANU PF, the next day it is MDC-T, the next day it's the MDC-N. And as such it is not a good thing to point a finger at those who others think are not cooperating."

Zulu admitted the process was not moving fast enough and said she hoped, "somewhere along the line the political parties realise this and try to move the process quicker than it is moving at the moment".

The draft of the constitution, signed by all three parties, was supposed to be forwarded to parliament if there was any further debate, following the 2nd All stakeholders Conference last month. This was spelled out in the Global Political Agreement.

But ZANU PF has been demanding many changes and the Principles also confused things this week. During their Monday meeting, Morgan Tsvngirai, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara decided a separate committee would be formed to deal with the contentious issues.

Welshman Ncube, who was allegedly left out of the meeting, has also raised concerns.

This has been criticised by civil society organisations and some analysts, who say the Principles have hijacked the process and fear ZANU PF demands will now be incorporated into the draft charter. The draft has already been described as a major compromise by the MDC-T.

Zulu said the facilitation team flew to Harare after receiving letters from "some of the parties" regarding the current deadlock.

Copyright © 2012 SW Radio Africa. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.