A showdown is looming betweeen Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his South African counterpart, President Jacob Zuma, who is expected in Harare Friday to meet the principals over thorny issues affecting the smooth-running of the coalition government.
Harare and Pretoria have all confirmed that Mr Zuma, mediator for the Southern African Development Community in Zimbabwe, will visit Harare at the end of the week as a follow-up to the SADC Troika or committe on politics, defense and security meeting that failed to take off in Gaborone last weekend.
The meeting was cancelled after Presidents Rupiah Banda of Zambia and Armando Guebuza of Mozambique failed to turn up.
A senior aide to Mr Zuma said the facilitator will push for full implementation of the Global Political Agreement and insist on a clear roadmap to the next elections.
But ZANU-PF sources say their party will not be making any concessions, insisting on the lifting of the so-called targeted sanctions before addressing the other outstanding issues.
ZANU-PF offficials are also bitter that Mr Zuma is even traveling to Harare in the first place, arguing there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, ZANU-PF’s chief negotiator in the talks, told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that “there is no need for Zimbabweans to seek solutions outside our borders when we can handle some of these issues domestically.”
Chinamasa accused the Movemenet for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of fabricating things so it can look like there's a political crisis in the country.
But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC dismissed Chinamasa’s claims. He said SADC must play its watchdog role as the tensions in Harare continue to escalate.
Mr Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu told VOA's Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that there was no going back on the need for all the parties to fulfil the demands of the GPA.
Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi said chances of Mr Zuma succeeding in Harare were slim adding that Pretoria has been mediating in Harare for years with no significant breakthrough.
Meanwhile the ZANU-PF Politburo late Wednesday resolved that elections will be held next year with or without a new constitution.