Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Zimbabwe Hail Talks Progress Involving Global Political Agreement

Principals hail talks progress

Herald Reporters

THE three principals to the Global Political Agreement met on Monday and ordered negotiators to expeditiously deal with the remaining issues and submit their comprehensive report ahead of their meeting next Monday.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said in a statement yesterday that in their meeting, the principals noted that the negotiators had made remarkable progress in addressing outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA.

"The three principals to the Global Political Agreement, His Excellency President R.G. Mugabe, Honourable Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara met yesterday (Monday), 14 December 2009 to review recommendations submitted by the negotiating teams and also to consider the names of candidates recommended to them by the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) to serve on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Human Rights Commission," he said.

Dr Sibanda said that with regard the appointment of the commissions, the three principals agreed with most of the recommendations of the SROC except for the few appointees, where consultations on the individuals concerned were taking place.

"An announcement of the appointment will be made shortly," he said.

The directive made by the three principals follows a series of meetings by the negotiators in the past weeks in their quest to iron out their differences in the implementation of the GPA.

The meetings were directed by the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation when members met in Mozambique recently to review progress made in the implementation of the GPA.

South African President Jacob Zuma also sent a three-member facilitation team last week to check on progress made in the implementation of the outstanding GPA issues.

However, it emerged this week that discussions on the full implementation of outstanding issues would not resume as some of the negotiators were reported to be out of the country on Government business.

The talks were adjourned last week following the visit of a facilitation team appointed by South African President Mr Zuma.

Zanu-PF co-negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa indicated last week that the negotiators would take a break to consult party principals and within party structures after presenting a report to the facilitators.

Cde Chinamasa said the negotiation teams would consult each other on a date to resume discussions.

However, in an interview yesterday, Cde Chinamasa said some of the negotiators, especially from the MDC formations, were currently seized with Government business outside Zimbabwe.

"We have not yet discussed the day to resume the talks as we are currently waiting for the other negotiators to come back into the country," he said.

"Professor Ncube and Minister (Priscilla) Misihairabwi-Mushonga are also out of the country on Government business. So, we are waiting for them to come back so that we set a date for the talks to resume."

Minister Chinamasa dismissed reports that the negotiations were set to resume this Friday.

"I am not aware of that. I do not know anything and I cannot comment on that," he said.

Negotiators — Cdes Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche (Zanu-PF), Mr Biti and Mr Elton Mangoma from MDC-T and Prof Ncube and Mrs Misihairambwi-Mushonga (MDC) — handed over a joint report to the facilitation team.

The facilitation team of President Zuma’s special advisor on international relations Ms Lindiwe Zulu and former cabinet ministers Charles Nqakula and Mac Maharaj visited Zimbabwe last week.

Ms Zulu, the facilitators’ spokesperson, indicated that they were impressed by the progress made in the discussions.

The facilitation team will prepare a report for President Zuma to submit to the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security chairperson Mozambique President Armando Guebuza.

President Guebuza will then decide whether or not to convene an extraordinary Sadc Troika meeting on Zimbabwe.

Among contentious issues cited by Zanu-PF is the lifting of illegal sanctions, the continued broadcasting of hate language by pirate radio stations, external interference in Zimbabwe’s affairs and establishment of parallel Government structures in the Prime Minister’s Office.

MDC-T called for the immediate swearing in of agriculture deputy minister nominee Roy Bennett and a review of the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana.

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