between Zimbabwe’s ruling party and opposition continued for a second day Friday at an
undisclosed location in Pretoria amid mixed signals and reports as to just
how difficult the task facing negotiators for the two sides is likely to be.
The South African daily newspaper Business Day said a deal could be reached “soon,” citing
unnamed sources on both sides said to be familiar with the talks.
“The deal is basically
done, but what remains are a few issues of detail, implementation and logistics,” the newspaper quoted one unnamed source as saying.
However, an article in the state-controlled Herald newspaper reporting on day one of the talks seemed to suggest ZANU-PF is
taking a tough stance and drawing lines in the sand.
said the outcome of the June 27 run-off ballot - the widely
condemned re-election of President Robert Mugabe in a single-candidate race – was “non-negotiable.”
According to the Herald, the ruling party politburo said Mr. Mugabe would have to be the one
who appointed a new government.
The Herald said ZANU-PF politburo "noted that there has to be a figure who appoints
the all-inclusive government envisaged in the memorandum of understanding" signed by ZANU-PF and the two opposition formations on Monday, paving the way for the talks.
"And that figure is President Mugabe, who won the run-off," the Herald stated.
It quoted a ruling party source as saying that, "There has to be a figure who creates the all-inclusive government.
All that program has to be given to someone."
Political analyst Chris Maroleng told reporter Zulu that the power-sharing talks
could succeed or fail based on the question of who will lead the government of
national unity or transitional government that is the most weighty agenda item on the table, and that ZANU-PF’s
insistence on this point looks like a bid to reclaim legitimacy for Mr. Mugabe.
Other political analysts agree there is a lot on
the table in Pretoria as negotiators for the two sides square off, and that despite expressions of good will early this week when party leaders signed a threshold document, all sides may be expected to bargain hard.
notwithstanding reports that a deal is close to being concluded, they say there are plenty of
potential pitfalls for the discussions which are only just beginning.
warn that there are forces which are not at the table that must be reckoned
with - for instance Zimbabwe's Joint Operations Command unifying the security forces, which some say has become the
real power in the land as government structures collapse.
Some say the JOC orchestrated the violence that ravaged the country in recent months.
a closer look at the stakes in the talks, the hidden hazards and the likely
result, Blessing Zulu turned to political analyst and
University of Zimbabwe Professor John Makumbe and Group Projects Editor Iden Wetherell of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.
Wetherell and Makumbe argue that for talks to
succeed, political violence must stop, and that the ruling party politiburo must not set terms for the discussions in Pretoria.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...