South African facilitators in Zimbabwe this week for talks with negotiators from the three Harare unity government parties have headed home, promising to return soon to meet with the Zimbabwe Media Commission to discuss the pace of reforms in that sector.
Lindiwe Zulu, facilitator and foreign policy adviser to South African President Jacob Zuma, said her team hopes to see more progress in Harare ahead of a Southern African Development Community summit next month at which Mr. Zuma is expected to present a progress report including a road map toward Zimbabwe’s next elections.
Both President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have rejected the latest version of an elections road map, though for different reasons.
The South African facilitators held in-depth talks with the Electoral and Human Rights Colmmissions and the parliamentary committee in charge of revising the Zimbabwean constitution, all highly relevant to eventual free and fair elections.
Sources from the Tsvangirai MDC formation said they held extensive talks with the South Africans on security sector reform - but Zulu said the issue, highly contentious from the standpoint of ZANU-PF which controls the military and police, did not come up.
“That has not been put directly to us by the negotiators," Zulu said. "And at such time when that is being put in front of us we will deal with it when it comes."
Sources said that the Media Commission declined to receive the facilitators, though it is understood that Mr. Zuma's delegates were to have wide access in the government.
Zulu explained that the panel invoked special procedures for such consultations and that her team will meet with the commission the next time it is in town. “There are certain processes that they are asking us to follow and we don’t have a problem with that.”