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Key Zimbabwe Reforms in Limbo as Mugabe Snubs Opponents

President Robert Mugabe
The rift between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations is widening after attempts to meet Friday at State House to resolve outstanding issues ahead of general elections and expiry of parliament failed to take off.

The MDC is alleging that Zanu-PF officials did not turn up though their leaders had to endure long hours of waiting. President Mugabe, Vice President Joyce Mujuru, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader Welshman Ncube and several government ministers were expected to meet to discuss the outstanding issues.

According to a statement issued by Ncube’s MDC formation, Zanu-PF representatives failed to turn up. “Professor Ncube, Misihairabwi Mushonga, PM Tsvangirai, Biti, Matinenga and two other people all presented themselves at State House in readiness for the meeting."

It adds that, "For the Zanu-PF group, who did not turn up, the MDC and MDC-T teams realised that their wait was futile and left to attend to other business."

The statement says no explanation was given by Zanu-PF as to why it did not attend the meeting. “In apparent disregard for common courtesy, no explanation has thus far been given by the Zanu-PF team for their non-arrival for this very important meeting. We hope that this is not a deliberate delaying ploy to render the SADC recommendations unachievable.”

Zimbabwe State House
Zimbabwe State House
Issues on the agenda included the extension of the election date beyond July 31, the aligning of laws such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Public Order and Security Act, and Broadcasting Services Act, Police Act, Defence Act and others with the new constitution.

The Southern African Development Community at its Maputo summit last week called on Harare to implement these outstanding issues. The life of parliament ends June 29 and MDC officials are saying it’s unlikely that these outstanding issues will be resolved soon.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told VOA that Zimbabwe is "headed for another disputed election as Zanu-PF is resisting reforms."

But Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo dismissed the allegation saying the MDC parties "are afraid of elections and are just interested in embarrassing Mr. Mugabe and his party by appealing to SADC"

Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC led by Mr. Ncube condemned President Mugabe and his team for not showing up at Friday's meeting.