Talks resume between ZANU PF and MDC formations

bob_morgan_arthurThe countrys three main political parties have finally begun discussing crucial outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement to try to end the long running dispute between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.

A source in the MDC-T told us the latest round of negotiations would focus on steps and measures to achieve a comprehensive and balanced implementation of the GPA signed last year between the parties.

Last week there was an angry spat between the parties for not taking the talks seriously after the first deadline set by a SADC Troika summit was missed. The negotiators are meeting in a final bid to narrow the wide gaps between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The talks this week would focus on core issues: the unilateral appointment by Mugabe, of central bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General Johannes Tomana and party loyalists to the countrys provincial governorship posts. These are all MDC demands. ZANU PF wants targeted sanctions imposed on its members to be lifted, and the closure of the so-called pirate radio stations.

Mondays negotiations were attended by all teams from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations. Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma represented the MDC-T while Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga stood in for the MDC-M. ZANU PF was represented by Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche.

The talks resumed after a gap of nearly a month as slow-moving efforts to end political bickering gather steam. The negotiators met at an undisclosed venue in Harare to start intense deliberations to deal with the matters as brought on the table through the SADC summit in Maputo early this month.

Analysts point out that SADC leaders have come to an understanding that in order to resolve the prolonged crisis in Zimbabwe, dialogue and full implementation of the GPA would have to be done as soon as possible.

The stalled power-sharing talks between ZANU-PF and Tsvangirais MDC have dragged on for a long time, and now threaten the very survival of the inclusive government. Last month MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said his party and Mugabes ZANU-PF were worlds apart after the two old foes met to try to resolve their differences.

If they (Mugabe and his ZANU-PF) are facing west we are facing east, Chamisa said.

The shaky unity government nearly collapsed when the MDC stopped attending cabinet meetings in protest against the arrest of its Treasurer-General Roy Bennett, and Mugabes refusal to fully implement the GPA. Difficulties in implementing the agreement have delayed efforts to secure billions of dollars from Western donors, money that is crucial for the countrys economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has said the world in general and Africa in particular should have the decency to sit across the table to resolve disputes of whatever magnitude, without resorting to armed conflict.

Addressing delegates at the Amadeus Institute in Tangier, Morocco on Saturday, Tsvangirai said despite severe provocation and blatant abuse of the MDC, his conviction was that the ballot and not the bullet was the only means by which stability would be achieved in Zimbabwe.

Ours is a typical example of how negotiated settlements can achieve so much within a short space of time. It was unimaginable just a few months ago that President Mugabe and I would sit across a table and talk about the development of Zimbabwe, he said.

The Prime Minister added; the level of animosity that existed across the political divide was legendary with polarity permeating all facets of human and economic endeavour.

Based in Rabat, Morocco, the Amadeus Institute is an independent Moroccan think tank, a centre of expertise, reflection, advice, proposals and consultation. Every year-end the institute invites international luminaries to tackle political and human development issues and advise on the best way forward for Africa.

From Morocco the Prime Minister headed to Tripoli, Libya where he was received with full military honours. He was met at Meghida Airport by his Libyan counterpart Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi, Foreign Affairs Minister Mussa Kussa and generals from the Libyan army, air force, navy, police and other security services.

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