GPA parties delaying Zuma’s trip to Harare
By Tichaona Sibanda
South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela, has accused parties in the GPA of delaying President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Harare. Zuma who is the SADC appointed mediator on Zimbabwe was recently tasked by a regional summit to urgently visit Harare and meet GPA principals to resolve sticking points between ZANU PF and MDC formations. Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the Sapes Trust last week, Mavimbela said he was sitting on a letter from the facilitation team proposing a date, but the country’s GPA parties had not come back to confirm if the date was appropriate. It was expected that following the Luanda meeting earlier this month Zuma would fly to Zimbabwe to discuss preparations for fresh elections, amid a widening rift between parties in the GPA. Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF efforts to fast-track the country to elections were thwarted at the Luanda meeting where leaders insisted that proper conditions for a free and fair poll must first be created. In the run-up to the summit Mugabe sent envoys to regional governments urging them to back his plans to move more speedily to elections. This would have meant by-passing many of the conditions for elections spelt out in the GPA, which ZANU PF and the MDC agreed to in 2008. But this effort failed as the SADC summit in Luanda stressed the need for Zuma as mediator to continue his efforts towards the full implementation of the GPA, including the drawing up of a new constitution and subjecting it to a referendum. Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us Zuma’s facilitation team, that includes its spokesperson Lindiwe Zulu, jetted into Harare on Monday on a fact finding trip. ‘This is how they operate these days. They fly into Harare in the morning get feedback from the parties and their embassy and fly out in the evening. We can’t be certain they are preparing for Zuma’s visit but all we know they’ve been here to get updates on the negotiations,’ Muchemwa said. Last week, Zulu warned parties in Zimbabwe that SADC, through the South African President, will not allow an election to happen before the security sector is reformed. Her comments came barely a week after a military general said soldiers will not allow any other leader outside ZANU PF to lead the country, irrespective of the election outcome. Major-General Trust Mugoba’ stance is a direct affront to Zuma’s efforts to ensure credible elections and a smooth transfer of power in Zimbabwe.
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