Zuma, who is the SADC mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, dispatched his facilitation team to Harare on Monday to collate the data which he will use to draw up the roadmap for free and fair elections.
The facilitation team met party negotiators from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations separately. The team also had discussions with co-chairpersons of the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) that is spearheading the drafting of a new constitution as well as commissioners in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
A highly placed source told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that Zuma specifically wanted extracts of the GPA that have a direct bearing on the holding of elections, such as the referendum, electoral reforms, security sector reforms, voters roll and media reforms.
It is believed Zumas team will draft a preliminary report that would be tabled before the negotiators. It is expected the negotiators, with the concurrence of their principals will discuss and come up with a final draft that would be forwarded to Zuma.
The South African President is expected to appendix this document to his comprehensive report that he will present to SADC as his roadmap for free and fair elections.
No dates have been set yet for a SADC Troika summit but it is believed it would be held in February. It appears that all sides are now focused on elections and the sticking points that are still to be resolved, like Robert Mugabes refusal to swear-in MDC-T treasurer general Roy Bennett as deputy minister of agriculture and his appointments of Gideon Gono as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and Johannes Tomana as the Attorney General. There is also a general consensus among the protagonists that elections should only be held after the constitution-making exercise is complete.
MDC formations are demanding that there be national healing as well and media and security sector reforms before going to the polls. Former diplomat and political analyst Clifford Mashiri told us security sector reforms entail the disbanding of the Joint Operations Command (JOC). The MDC accuses military commanders of blocking Robert Mugabe from yielding power to Morgan Tsvangirai when ZANU PF lost the 2008 poll.
On paper we are told the JOC was disbanded when the National Security Council was formed. But it is common knowledge the junta still meets Mugabe behind Tsvangirai and Mutambara. Zuma should work out a plan how power can be transferred to the eventual winner in the event that ZANU PF loses the election and this should be captured in the roadmap, Mashiri said. COPAC chairpersons made it clear to Zumas team on Monday that they expect to have a referendum at the end of September, which will signal the end of the drafting of a new constitution. This will pave way for holding of fresh elections.
On electoral reforms, a new inclusive electoral commission was appointed but there are many who believe the secretariat needs to be reformed to get rid of officials with links to ZANU PF. While it is an open secret that the voters roll is in shambles there hasnt been a clear policy as to what the inclusive government can do to rectify the problem.Post published in: News