Facilitators for South African President Jacob Zuma are urging the governing parties in Zimbabwe to reach agreement on key issues ahead of a Southern African Development Community summit coming up August 16-17 in Angola.
The facilitators, who have been preparing the ground for periodic interventions by Mr. Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe on SADC's behalf, say it is particularly important that the co-governing parties set a common position on the path to the next elections.
Though party negotiators hammered out a road map with time lines pointing to a ballot in 2012, the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF have both rejected the road map, though for different reasons.
ZANU-PF is demanding that elections be held this year, while the Tsvangirai MDC wants the existing Electoral Commission to be re-appointed with more neutral members. The MDC is also demanding reform of the security sector, especially the military, which is closely aligned with ZANU-PF and has interfered with the electoral process.
South African facilitator Lindiwe Zulu said it was surprising that the governing parties are rejecting the elections road map that their own negotiators crafted.
Political analyst Bhekilizwe Ndlovu commented that it is hardly surprising that ZANU-PF and the Tsvangirai MDC are unable to come to terms on the document.
Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has urged that the Office of the Registrar General be relieved of responsibility for the establishment of a new voters roll - one of the key reforms to be carried out before new elections can be held.
The non-governmental organization says it is the fault of the registrar general that the national voters roll has become so corrupted, and that the office must be taken out of the equation in order to establish transparency and credibility in the list of voters.
It said voter registration should be conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
A ZESN audit of the voters roll found 27 percent of the voters listed were deceased.
ZESN Chairman Tinoziva Bere told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the Office of the Registrar General has acted in an unconstitutional manner.