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President Zuma's Team Leaves Zimbabwe Empty Handed

  • Blessing  Zulu

South African President Jacob Zuma’s three-member facilitation team which arrived Tuesday in Harare, concluded its talks Wednesday with the negotiators of the unity government on the progress made so far in crafting a new constitution and other outstanding political issues.

Mr. Zuma's intervention follows the rejection by the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations of a draft constitution drawn up by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party which differs sharply with the one earlier agreed on by all parties in the coalition government.

President Zuma's team held joint meetings with the three political parties Wednesday after holding seperate talks with them Tuesday.

But sources in Pretoria and Harare told Studio 7 the team failed to unblock the logjam.

Zanu-PF, backed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller formation of the MDC who did not have any representatives in the meeting, said the principals in the government of national unity must discuss the fate of the draft constitution without involving Mr. Zuma.

However, the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the one led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube have already declared a deadlock over the drafting of Zimbabwe's new constitution ahead of crucial general elections expected next year.

The two parties have asked Mr. Zuma, as mandated by the Southern African Development Community, to intervene.

President Zuma’s international relations aide and a member of the facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, said more details of the Harare talks will be released Friday when they meet Mr. Zuma.

International relations expert and former Zimbabwe diplomat to Ethiopia Clifford Mashiri said time has come for Mr. Zuma to step in.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, Women’s Coalition and Women Trust have thrown their weight on the country’s draft constitution compiled by the parliamentary select committee and signed by representatives of the ruling parties.

The representatives of the three organizations gave the draft a thumbs up at a ladies’ night organised by the Public Affairs Section of the Uunited States Embassy at the national press club Tuesday night.