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President Zuma Cranks Up His Mediation in Zimbabwe

South African President Jacob Zuma is stepping up his mediation in Zimbabwe, seeking to break the enduring deadlock between the coalition partners over constitutional and political reforms.

Mr. Zuma was in Harare two weeks ago for meetings with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube - leaders of the three parties in the power-sharing government.

The discussions preceded a summit of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique that urged the ruling parties to move quickly on electoral reforms and the election roadmap, among other issues.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) negotiators told VOA that Zuma will dispatch his mediation panel to Harare on Tuesday, aiming to break the impasse over the new draft charter and tackle other issues still unresolved in the Global Political Agreement.

The team is made up of Mr. Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj, his international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu and Charles Ngqakula – South Africa’s High Commissioner to Mozambique.

President Mugabe's Zanu PF party derailed the long-delayed constitutional effort a few weeks ago after rejecting the draft produced by a parliamentary committee following two years of political haggling.

The party has proposed a cocktail of amendments, including the removal of devolution of power, dual citizenship and other issues deemed key democratic fundamentals by many Zimbabweans.

The MDC formations have outrightly rejected Zanu PF's position. But the party insists that a new constitution is not possible if its demands are not met.

Political commentator Nkululeko Sibanda of the London-based Huddersfield University told VOA that in the end, he sees Zanu PF giving in to pressure by Mr. Zuma despite its hardline stance.

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