Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, lead negotiator for President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF in talks within the troubled Harare unity government has thrown the process into turmoil with a declaration that his party has lost faith in the negotiating forum moderated by South African President Jacob Zuma and his aides.
Negotiators for ZANU-PF and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change met with Mr. Zuma’s facilitation team in Harare Wednesday.
Chinamasa later told the ZANU-PF-leaning Herald newspaper that the forum has failed because the MDC wing of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not cooperated on implementing positions negotiated and settled in the talks.
Chinamasa told the Herald ZANU-PF “no longer (has) energy, inclination or willingness to maintain the team of negotiators as a forum of resolving any disagreements.”
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed the substance of Chinamasa’s remarks.
Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora accused ZANU-PF of attempting to delay the reforms called for in the Global Political Agreement.
Parliamentary Whip Edward Mkhosi of the MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said ZANU-PF is the party resisting GPA implementation.
Political analyst dismissed Chinamasa's comments as rhetoric, but former student leader Blessing Vava said ZANU-PF wants to drive the MDC into quitting the government.
Some observers believe ZANU-PF would like to press forward with elections and bypass the political, electoral, media and other reforms spelled out in the GPA, which is the basis of the national unity government in place since 2009.
But others now speculate that ZANU-PF may be reluctant to go to elections given the health issues reportedly facing President Robert Mugabe, the party's candidate. He is believed to be under care for prostate cancer that has spread to other organs.