The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday joined President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF in rejecting the election road map drawn up by party negotiators saying it does not address key issues.
The MDC statement came as the facilitation team of South African President Jacob Zuma arrived in the Zimbabwean capital to assess progress on the road map and push for resolution of issues still outstanding from the 2008 Global Political Agreement.
ZANU-PF rejected the road map last week saying it wants the timeline for implementation of key reforms to be telescoped so elections can be held this year.
The Tsvangirai MDC’s standing committee issued a statement after a meeting in Harare on Wednesday saying that it noted with “displeasure” that the election road map does not seek to address fundamental issues including reform of the military to ensure the country's generals and other top officers do not meddle in electoral politics.
The MDC also demanded the reconstitution of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and that election monitors for the Southern African Development Community and the African Union be deployed to Zimbabwe from six months before to six months after elections.
It also criticized ZANU-PF for demanding the removal of the electoral body's chairman, Simpson Mutambanengwe, on the grounds that he was being sympathetic to the MDC, saying the move was "an attempt to undermine the independence of ZEC."
The Zuma facilitation team, meanwhile, was meeting with negotiators telling them to step up their efforts to bring closure to all troublesome issues ahead of a crucial Southern African Development Community summit next month in Angola.
"It is therefore, misleading for some people to say that the road map has been concluded," the Tsvangirai MDC said in a statement. "While we appreciate the very good efforts made by our negotiators, we believe that more has to be done in order to complete the road map."
Negotiator Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the smaller MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that he agrees with Mr. Zuma’s facilitators that there are many issues Harare should resolve without turning to Mr. Zuma or SADC.
Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube opined that it is high time parties in the unity government resolved their differences and moved forward.
"The problem that we have in this negotiation process is that ZANU-PF has no interest making concessions. That's what makes the situation difficult," Ncube commented.