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Exasperation in Pretoria as Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Negotiations Gear Up Again

South African facilitation team member Lindiwe Zulu

The facilitators were told on their arrival that there has been no progress and party negotiators have not written a comprehensive status report for Mr. Zuma

South Africa officials who returned to Harare Thursday to resume mediation among Zimbabwe's fractious power-sharing parties expressed some exasperation at the failure of the three governing parties to reach accord on longstanding issues and to prepare a key briefing document for President Jacob Zuma.

The facilitators were told on their arrival that there has been little further progress and that the principals - President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - with whom they met two weeks ago had not drafted a report on their response to a memo from negotiators.

The principals must still come to grips with the most divisive issues on the agenda including the leadership of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Office of the Attorney general, among other vexed questions.

South African facilitation team member Lindiwe Zulu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that they met with the three government principals Thursday in an effort to push the process forward.

Political analyst Joy Mabenge of the Institute for A Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe said Mr. Mugabe is under intense pressure from ZANU-PF hardliners not to make any compromises.

As the talks resumed, many Zimbabweans and observers were voicing impatience at the lack of solid progress in the talks and the implementation of issues where the negotiators had supposedly achieved a meeting of minds.

That lack of progress and visible results leads many to conclude that the country is headed for elections in 2011 because power-sharing by then will have run its course. However, some argue that the government for all its faults is fairly stable and has at least brought a reduction in the human rights violations and political violence.

For an assessment of the status of and outlook for the unity government, VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere turned National Constitutional Assembly Director Earnest Mudzengi and political analyst George Mkhwananzi for views on the odds for success in the talks and the likelihood of elections in 2011.

Mkhwananzi said the talks have stalled and are unlikely to yield results at this late stage of the exercise.