WASHINGTON DC —
Jolted by a Supreme Court ruling ordering President Robert Mugabe to call general elections before the end of July, opponents of Mr. Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party will meet in Harare on Tuesday to discuss the way forward.
President Mugabe says he will respect the ruling but Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Welshman Ncube have united to criticise the ruling.
Sources say the country’s major political parties, except Zanu-PF, have confirmed participation in the meeting. Those expected to attend include officials from the MDC-T, the Ncube MDC, Mavambo Kusile Dawn, Zapu and other smaller parties.
The sources say the idea of forming a coalition to challenge Mr. Mugabe at the polls will also be floated.
Also on the agenda will be the weekend extraordinary Southern African Development Community summit on Zimbabwe in Mozambique. Regional leaders will discuss Harare’s election preparedness.
SADC sources say attempts by Zanu-PF to turn the meeting into a fundraising summit for the elections has been shot down by regional leaders. The agenda will be broadened to discuss the election roadmap and the so-called outstanding global political agreement issues.
Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, says the meeting of Mr. Mugabe’s opponents is significant and can be a game changer.
"It is important because it is sending the right message to Zanu-PF and the compromised judiciary that the broader political leadership bar Zanu-PF is very clear that what took place in the Supreme Court was not a case of law or legal judgement. This was a clear case of state collusion-judiciary-collusion, a collusion between the judiciary and the executive arm of the state representeted by Mugabe. So if the political parties meet, they will be sending a clear message that they won't tolerate the abuse of due process by (Mr.) Mugabe and the courts in order to come up with his political strategy under the guise of legality," he said.
Still on the Mozambique summit, South African President Jacob Zuma, the SADC appointed mediator in Zimbabwe, has dispatched his envoys to Harare to press for more democratic reforms ahead of the summit.
Mr. Zuma’s three member facilitation team was Tuesday locked in meetings with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee.
The facilitation team will Wednesday meet the six negotiators representing the three parties in the inclusive government.