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Top-Level Zimbabwe Talks Put Off As President Mugabe Heads to African Summit

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

A meeting of the senior figures in Zimbabwe's national unity government to seek resolution of divisive outstanding issues, urged by South African President Jacob Zuma during his two-day flying mediation visit last week, failed to take place on Monday because President Robert Mugabe had left the country for an African Union summit in Tripoli, Libya.

Mr. Zuma, set to relinquish his position as chairman of the Southern African Development Community at a SADC summit next week in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara that they could resolve the issues troubling their government if they put their minds to it.

If they could not resolve those issues on their own, Mr. Zuma said, they would be referred to the regional heads of state. SADC is a guarantor of the power-sharing pact.

Political sources told VOA that the three principals will meet later this week, but voiced doubts whether President Mugabe would finally agree to name a new Reserve Bank governor and attorney general the Movement for Democratic Change has been demanding.

The sources said ZANU-PF was digging in as well on the swearing-in of provincial governors, ambassadors and other officials nominated some time ago by the MDC.

Political analyst John Makumbe, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe, told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that despite the push from Mr. Zuma he does not expect the principals to agree before the Sept. 7-8 SADC summit.

Elsewhere, the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch accused ZANU-PF of failing to adhere to commitments made under the September 2008 Global Political Agreement - a power-sharing pact which underpins the national unity government.

Titled "False Dawn: The Zimbabwe Power Sharing Government's Failure to Deliver Human Rights Improvement," the 20-page report urges SADC leaders to press Mr. Mugabe and the rest of the government to respect human rights and fulfill the terms of the GPA.

Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Tiseke Kasambala said her organization is concerned about ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

With the anniversary of the global political agreement coming up in mid-september, many Zimbabweans are frustrated by the seeming lack of will by the country's leadership to deal with the still-sensitive issue of national healing, reported correspondent Safari Njema.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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