Talks resume Wednesday evening

welshmanThe negotiators in the power sharing government finally met on Wednesday, for the first time this year, after a number of delays caused by ZANU PF. Welshman Ncube (pictured), a negotiator from the MDC-M, told SW Radio Africa that the talks failed to restart at the weekend because ZANU PF negotiator Nicholas Goche was out of t

The talks were rescheduled to Monday, but Ncube said: The agreement was that the other ZANU PF negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, was going to see if their alternative negotiator, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was around so that they would meet on Monday at 5pm. But Chinamasa phoned at around 4pm to tell us he had not been able to get him. This meant there was no point to go to the venue of the meeting.

Mnangagwa is said to have been in the rural areas attending the funeral of a relative. Ncube said the earliest meeting that could therefore be arranged was for late Wednesday. He refused to divulge the progress of the talks, saying the negotiators had agreed not to talk to the media.

While it is understandable that the actual detail of the negotiations may need to remain confidential, it is essential for the government to issue regular press statement to keep people informed about the basics where the meeting was held, who attended etc. This is the least that would be expected in a democracy. But so far the government has failed to release any official statements on these latest delaying tactics or even what the contentious issues are and what the parties have so far agreed on.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said: The delays are a frustrating business. We are coming to the end of our magnanimity and patience. The three main political parties have been wrangling over the implementation of the Global Political Agreement since they signed it in September 2008. The MDC-T says ZANU PF has consistently violated the terms of the agreement and they want, among other issues, the appointments of the Central Bank Governor and the Attorney General reversed. ZANU PF is calling for the removal of targeted sanctions and the closing down of external radio stations.

At the time of the signing of the GPA it was widely hoped the formation of the coalition government would come with fundamental democratic reforms – but a year on nothing has changed and the talks appear to be stalled.

In the meantime, a delegation from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), including Lovemore Madhuku the groups chairperson, met with MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday to try and sort out their differences in the constitutional reform process, which is underway. The NCA said that that both they and the MDC-T agreed that they have major differences over the process. The pressure group totally dismisses the government led process, saying it is controlled by the politicians rather than by the people.

The NCA said the MDC-T acknowledged their concerns, but appealed to them to be objective about the content of the draft that will be produced. In a statement the NCA said: The NCA maintains that a defective process will definitely lead to a defective document and will remain sceptical of the current constitution making process. It will however continue to engage and work closely with the MDC on other issues that will result in good governance and democracy.

Currently the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee has delayed the deployment of outreach teams, because they discovered that some people had fraudulently been accredited and trained. It is reported the majority of people who sought to fraudulently get onto the outreach teams were from the ZANU PF Womens League.

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