Zimbabwe talks expected to resume Thursday

The gulf between the MDC and ZANU PF widened on Tuesday when Robert Mugabe went ahead and convened parliament, in breach of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the rival parties.

The rift cracked further as a result of events in the House on Tuesday when MDC MPs drowned out Mugabe’s speech with booing and heckling.  

 

This has resulted in Thabo Mbeki convening a meeting between the rival parties to resume the aborted negotiations. It’s reported the six negotiators, representing the Tsvangirai MDC, Mutambara MDC and ZANU PF are expected to meet with South African officials on Thursday.

 

Because of the media blackout surrounding the talks it has been difficult to verify this information but a senior MDC official, speaking on condition of anonymity said the negotiators were expected on Thursday to meet South African officials. The official said Mbeki convened the meeting in a bid to explore the way forward in light of the developments in Zimbabwe where ZANU PF has breached the MOU and has reversed gains achieved in the talks. The meeting seeks to explore opportunities on how the process can be salvaged from total collapse, said the official.

 

Some believe that Mbeki’s plan to put pressure on Morgan Tsvangirai to sign the deal by pushing for the convening of parliament backfired when the MDC won the Speakership, humiliating both Mugabe and himself. He is now trying to pick up the pieces by restarting the talks.

 

The talks reached a deadlock two weeks ago over the issue of how power would be shared between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

 

It remains to be seen if ZANU PF will continue with the talks since Mugabe appears to be unfazed by the deadlock and has not only gone ahead and convened parliament, but has appointed his loyalists as senators and governors. The ZANU PF leader is also making plans to form a new government.

 

It is feared the stalemate will result in the regime hardening its position and hardships continuing. Already five MDC MPs were arrested this week, and despite widespread appeals by humanitarian agencies, a food aid ban is still in place.

 

In a clear sign of the regime’s intentions Nathaniel Manheru, widely believed to be Presidential spokesman George Charamba wrote in his weekly Herald column:  “We need Government, a strong Government, which will take bold decisions without flinching. Globally, developments pitting Russia against NATO present real opportunities. Back home, the mature realisation that the enemy within needs to be handled conclusively will help. Structures of war – economic war – are needed and will come shortly. As will leadership. In the few months it will become apparent whether or not the revolution can or cannot defend itself. By any means necessary.”

 

Questions are now being raised as to why the MDC is continuing with this charade as it is clear that the talks cannot yield anything. One observer asked: Why are both parties not calling off the talks or announcing that they have failed? They all claim to be committed but the events on the ground are contrary. – SW Radio Africa News

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