Harare and Pretoria are stepping up efforts to prepare for Zimbabwe’s crucial general election that will end the troubled unity government following the constitutional referendum expected to be called in the next two months.
President Jacob Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed facilitator to Zimbabwe, dispatched his envoys to Harare on Tuesday for a joint meeting with negotiators in the unity government.
The negotiators told VOA Studio 7 that Mr. Zuma wants the parties to deal with all outstanding issues in the election roadmap to pave way for election.
SADC is also dispatching monitors to Harare shortly to ensure the electoral environment is conducive.
Negotiator Elton Mangoma of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Mr. Zuma’s envoys emphasized the need for reforms ahead of the elections.
Zanu-PF lead negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa and Tendai Biti of the MDC-T, told the facilitation team that Zimbabwe is too broke to fund a constitutional referendum and elections.
President Robert Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai have asked the two ministers to appeal to donors to help fund the crucial elections.
Biti confirmed the development to VOA Studio 7 though he seemed to be walking back on his remark Tuesday that Harare only had $217 left in its coffers after paying civil servants their January salaries.
But Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said his party does not want donors to influence the election.
Mr. Zuma’s facilitators said while they were happy that the three parties had finally resolved their differences on the new constitution, they wanted to see a clear election roadmap that will prevent any poll disputes.
Negotiator Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said the South African delegation also urged legislative reforms to the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary select committee responsible for the country’s new constitution is expected to meet in Harare Thursday to endorse the final draft charter before it heads to parliament for final analysis, along with the national report detailing the process that led to today.
Principals in the unity government recently rescued the constitutional-making process after negotiators from the three political parties in the unity government had failed to agree on outstanding issues that included devolution, executive powers and dual citizenship.
Co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri the draft charter is expected to sail through without any problems.