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Zimbabwe's Political Parties Lobby for Regional Support Ahead of Crucial Summit

Zimbabwe's governing parties in the shaky coalition government continued their regional offensive Monday as the Southern African Development Community prepared for a crucial June summit where the southern African nation will be high on the agenda.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF have dispatched senior party members to meet regional leaders, seeking backing on their positions ahead of the summit.

This, as South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitators, arrived in Harare Monday to discuss the country’s roadmap to elections and progress made so far in implementing the Global Political Agreement ahead of the summit. Mr. Zuma is SADC’s mediator in Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF's Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramai have since last week been doing the rounds in the region, delivering special messages from President Mugabe to his counterparts.

Sources said Zanu PF is lobbying for regional support as it seek to call elections this year. The MDC on the other hand is against polls being called this year in the absence of a new constitution and key democratic reforms. The party has dispatched Jameson Timba, the party's international relations secretary to bolster its position.

SADC Politics, Defense and Security Troika will meet ahead of the summit to hear the three governing parties on their take on elections before the summit.

Independent political analyst Charles Mutasa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that he does not see the offensive by the political parties swaying SADC’s position on elections.

Meanwhile, the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was on Monday blaming Zanu PF for disturbances in rural communities ahead of the polls that Mr. Mugabe and hardliners in his party want held this year.

The MDC in Mashonaland Central reported that Zanu PF supporters, with the help of some army personnel, had invaded a farm owned by MDC provincial member, Fidelis Mugari, who’s also the party’s acting secretary for education.

MDC provincial spokesman Wilson Makanyaire said Jomic Mashonaland West was trying to mediate so Mugari, who has gone into hiding, can be allowed back onto his farm.