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S.Africa's Zuma Steps Up Mediation in Zimbabwe, Summons Negotiators

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

The purpose of the meeting is to evaluate the elections road-map recently drafted by the party negotiators and to review the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing

Stepping up his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma has summoned negotiators for the political parties in the Harare unity government to Cape Town for further discussions with his team of facilitators and advisers.

The talks were to open Thursday, sources in Harare and Pretoria said.

The sources said negotiators for ZANU-PF and both formations of the Movement for Democratic Change would travel to South Africa on Wednesday.

The purpose of the meeting is to evaluate the elections road-map recently drafted by the party negotiators and to review the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing.

A draft of the road-map leaked last week and critics said it falls short of what the country needs as it includes no time line to a constitutional referendum or new elections.

But negotiators agree elections are not feasible this year, pointing to 2012 or even 2013.

Zuma international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu told VOA that her boss would like to see agreement on numerous issues ahead of a special Southern African Development Community summit on Zimbabwe set for May 20 in Namibia.

"We need to have a discussion with them around a review of the GPA and the road-map that they finished drawing a few weeks ago," Zulu said.

Commenting, Johannesburg-based political analyst Mlamuli Nkomo said meeting away from their home turf may keep the negotiators more engaged and focused.

Meanwhile, a SADC team that was in Washington last week to discuss the Zimbabwe situation and lobby for the lifting of U.S sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and close to 200 top officials of his ZANU-PF party, was in Brussels Tuesday for discussions with European Union officials along similar lines.

A source present at the meeting said EU officials called for full implementation of the GPA and a clear road-map to elections as conditions to lifting sanctions.

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwean parliamentary select committee in charge of constitutional revision has moved a step closer to drafting the basic document, launching the so-called thematic committees phase of the exercise, as Irwin Chifera reported from Harare.

The governing political parties have agreed that the Justice Ministry and the Office of the Attorney general will not be involved in drafting, but will vet the final document for legal form. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa is a senior ZANU-PF member and Attorney General Johannes Tomana has often been the focus of unity government turmoil.

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