Thursday, March 18, 2010

Zimbabwe Principals to the Global Political Agreement Set Deadline

Principals agree on deadline

By Takunda Maodza and Farirai Machivenyika
Zimbabwe Herald

Principals to the Global Political Agreement have given party negotiators up to the end of this month to conclude all discussions as it emerged yesterday that they had agreed on how to proceed on three key implementation issues.

Addressing journalists after a meeting with President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, South African President Zuma said he was happy with the co-operation in the leadership.

"The parties have agreed to a package of measures to be implemented concurrently as per the decision of the Sadc Troika in Maputo," he said.

This was in reference to the meeting of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security in Mozambi-que late last year.

President Zuma added: "The leaders have instructed their negotiating teams to attend to all outstanding issues during their deliberations on 25, 26 and 29 March and report back to the facilitator by the 31st of March."

The South African leader will then present a comprehensive report to Troika chair, Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza.

Though he would not say what had been agreed, reliable sources said these pertained to sanctions; the appointments of provincial governors; and the status of Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana, and MDC-T’s preferred Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett.

It also emerged yesterday that President Zuma on Wednesday night met Dr Gono, Mr Tomana and Mr Bennett separately as he had never met them.

His spokesperson, Mr Vincent Magwenya, said President Zuma felt it important to "engage directly with other key players in Zimbabwe to create understanding on how to move matters forward".

Zanu-PF negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa said President Zuma had requested the meeting and the principals had agreed.

Of the meeting, Mr Tomana said: "The President wanted to meet me. It went on very, very well, I would say."

Dr Gono described the meeting as "excellent", while Mr Bennett said it was "very helpful to the people of Zimbabwe".

Sources yesterday said: "MDC-T has committed to denounce sanctions. On Roy Bennett there are two issues; that is, his suitability for the agriculture ministry, and if that is resolved at what point he can be appointed."

Zanu-PF expressed reservations on Mr Bennett’s suitability considering his links with Rhodesian elements bent on reversing Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.

The party also says Mr Bennett can only be appointed when and if he is cleared of terror-related charges he is facing in the High Court.

The Herald is also reliably informed that the passage of the RBZ Bill in Senate last week addressed most issues MDC-T had raised about Dr Gono’s powers.

The parties are reportedly agreed on sharing of gubernatorial posts and will discuss the appointment formulae.

The two proposals on the table are; either to use the number of votes garnered in each province by the parties or the number of seats they have in Parliament.

Sources also disclosed that the principals might take up the implementation issues if negotiators failed to agree by the time of the deadline’s expiry on March 31.

"Negotiators are in agreement that the issues are administrative and if there are any disagreements then the principals can bring finality to them."

MDC-T’s commitment to denounce the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe came amid reports that re-engagement talks with the European Union will resume next month.

A senior Government official yesterday said althou-gh Zimbabwe had proposed to visit most capitals in the bloc, some nations were not forthcoming.

"The re-engagement team will go to Brussels, Belgium, on April 21 after the EU finally agreed that the team should engage them.

"The inclusive Government resolved that the team visit EU capitals but Britain, Germany and Holland rejected the idea and they will now meet in Belgium," an insider revealed.

The team comprises ministers Simbarashe Mumbe-ngegwi (Foreign Affairs), Patrick Chinamasa (Justice), Tendai Biti (Finance) and Priscilla Misihaira-bwi-Mushonga (Regional Integration).

Others are Welshman Ncube (Industry) and Elton Mangoma (Economic Planning).

President Zuma left Harare yesterday evening.

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