“We will go to Heroes Acre first and then come back for talks,” Social
Welfare Minister and Mugabe loyalist Nicholas Goche told journalists earlier
on Monday morning.
It was not clear whether MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai would be at Heroes
Acre, a few kilometers west of Harare city centre. Earlier reports had
suggested the opposition leader would attend the Heroes Day commemorations
together with Mugabe.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway MDC faction, was expected to be at
Heroes Acre while other sources said South African President Thabo Mbeki –
who is mediating in the talks – could also attend.
Mbeki, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday, chaired talks between Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and Mutambara aimed at forming a government of national unity and
that began on Sunday morning and lasted until the early hours of Monday.
The discussions are the clearest sign yet that an agreement, which could
break a long-running political and economic crisis that took a turn for the
worse following Mugabe’s disputed and violent re-election last June, is
But Mugabe emerging from the marathon talks said they were still some
“sticking points” that needed to be resolved.
“We have not yet finished but we will finish tomorrow(Monday),” Mugabe told
reporters gathered at Harare’s Rainbow Towers hotel, the talks venue.
“There are always sticking points in any dialogue but we hope to overcome
them,” he said without disclosing what exactly the sticking points were.
Tsvangirai would also not say much, telling reporters Mbeki as the mediator
would issue a statement on what had transpired after more than nine hours of
There is great optimism that Zimbabwe’s political leaders will be able to
reach agreement on power-sharing with insiders from the MDC and Mugabe’s
ruling ZANU PF party saying there was agreement on much of the issues except
on the question of what roles Mugabe and Tsvangirai would play in the unity
Â “There are still differences over what powers and functions each of the
three leaders would assume in the unity government .. but there is a big
possibility they will be able to resolve this and reach an agreement,” a top
ZANU PF official told ZimOnline earlier on Sunday.
The ZANU-PF official, who did not want to be named, said the power-sharing
government was most likely to be headed by Mugabe as “executive president
with Tsvangirai serving as prime minister wielding some considerable power.”
The official dismissed as “totally untrue” media reports in recent days that
Tsvangirai would be named executive prime minister of the unity government
while Mugabe would be demoted to a ceremonial president.
Reports that the Mbeki-led talks were nearing a positive end have evoked
hope across Zimbabwe, which is in the grip of an unprecedented recession
that is seen in the world’s highest inflation of more than two million
percent, shortages of food, rising unemployment and poverty.
Western governments and the MDC blame Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain in 1980, for ruining the economy through
repression and wrong policies such as his farm seizures that have led to
food shortages mainly due to failure by new black farmers to maintain
production on former white farms.
Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has had far reaching
consequences as hundreds of thousands have lost jobs while the manufacturing
sector, starved of inputs from the farming sector, is operating below 30
Mugabe denies ruining the economy and instead says his country’s problems
are because of sanctions and sabotage by Britain and its Western allies
opposed to his land reforms. – ZimOnlinePost published in: News