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Smaller Zimbabwe Parties Demand Inclusion in Political Processes

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Zimbabwean parties outside the coalition government are demanding representation in the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee and other political processes ahead of the next elections.

Jomic is an organ mandated by the country's constitution to oversee the implementation of the Global Political Agreement that gave birth to the unity government between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and the two formations of the MDC in 2009.

Addressing a news conference Tuesday following their meeting with envoys for South African President Jacob Zuma - mediator in Zimbabwe - the opposition parties demanded to be allowed to deploy representatives to Jomic to ensure the next polls are credible and free from violence.

The political parties are working under a platform dubbed Common Issues.

MDC 99 leader Job Sikhala said they raised this issue with Zuma's team where it was agreed that dialogue between unity government principals and the opposition parties should start as soon as possible.

“There was positive response. However, they said we must have engagement with the current principals in our country to make our demands that we have to participate as soon as possible in all the activities of Jomic," said Sikhala.

He said they demanded to be involved in the invitation of international election observers.

The opposition parties also said resources distributed to political parties under the Political Parties Finance Act should not exclude entities outside government.

“We told them that we will not accept any elections in this country if the three political parties in the inclusive government are the only ones that obtain funds from the Political Parties Finance Act," Sikhala explained. "The playing field has to be even to all contestants who will be participating in our elections.”

Democratic Party leader, Urayayi Zembe said parties working under the Common Issues barner, including Zanu Ndonga, MDC99 and Zanu, would engage ordinary Zimbabweans and come up with a dossier on the election-roadmap that they would present to Mr. Zuma.

The smaller parties said it was agreed in their meeting with the facilitation team that opposition leaders would be part of the delegation to an extra-ordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe expected to be held in August this year.

They said the facilitation team promised to hand over their petition to Mr. Zuma, adding they were hopeful that they would meet the South African President when he eventually comes to Zimbabwe to meet with unity government principals.

United Kingdom-based political analyst Nkululeko Sibanda told VOA that additional players will not hurt the negotiating process given the current polarized Zimbabwean environment.

But, he said, the demands by the opposition may prolong the negotiations given that they are coming at a late stage.

“The Zimbabwean crisis is only going to truly come to an end when you have brought all players to the negotiating table and when things aren’t seen necessarily in terms of the MDC end or Zanu PF’s point of view - then you legitimize the process further.”

However, Sibanda said this brings in new challenges in terms of how to administer such a process and raises questions about “how do you choose who comes to the table or not, and how representative is that?”

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