Speaking to the South African pay-per-view channel E News Channel’s Africa 360 programme on Monday, Mbeki, said he was of the view that Mugabe should become a ceremonial president but the negotiators thought otherwise. “I didn’t draft the GPA, the Zimbabweans drafted it themselves. I was of the opininon that President Mugabe should become ceremonial but it is the political parties which said no,” said Mbeki.
“They said they can’t marginalise him because he carries a particular constituency and is a significant part of the solution.” During last year’s marathon negotiations, the two MDC parties were understood to be pushing for a ceremonial presidency. But Mugabe is said to have maintained a hardline stance, insisting that his controversial victory in the June 27 one man election be recognised.
Mbeki led the marathon mediation process which culminated in the signing of the GPA last year in September paving the way for the establishment of a coalition government in February. The talks dragged on for months, discussions centering on how much power Mugabe should retain.
Having won March’s parliamentary election, the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, wanted the outcome of the talks to reflect that result. The party tried to push for a ceremonial presidency and executive premiership post. But was forced to back-down to regional pressure from SADC which was desperate to see a deal signed.
But the party seems to be moving ahead with the reform agenda.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has already drafted a raft of policy changes within his Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) seen as the fulcrum of Mugabe’s axis of evil. On the other hand the party is using its parliamentary force to push through media reforms and investment friendly policies. This is despite a Zanu PF plot aimed at reducing the party’s parliamentary majority through trumped up charges.
The US, EU and the UK have said that a financial aid package that the country desperates needs , to stabilise Zimbabwe’s economy and combat hyperinflation, will only be released if Mugabe shows genuine intend to respect human and property rights.