See also:
» 07.01.2011 - Record Zimbabwe debts to Equatorial Guinea
» 29.11.2010 - US was against Zim unity govt
» 17.11.2010 - Zim diamond certification scandal revealed
» 13.10.2010 - Zimbabwe war of appointments
» 07.10.2010 - Chiefs, army, farmers "plotting Mugabe victory"
» 22.04.2010 - Zimbabwe spilt over Iran ties
» 15.04.2010 - Laws are made to work, not to be shelved, Mugabe
» 04.03.2010 - Britain no yet convinced to lift Zim sanctions

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Zimbabwe talks dragging on

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and South African President Jacob Zuma

© PM's office/afrol News
afrol News / The Zimbabwean, 28 May
- President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara are expected to meet in Harare Friday to ratify a set of principles agreed by their negotiating teams more than six weeks ago.

The three signatories to the coalition government, generally known as the GNU, are supposed to meet weekly. There is no explanation as to why they have failed to do so.

President Mugabe has made it clear that he has no intention of honouring the terms of the power-sharing agreement – and nobody appears willing or able to do so. According to his opponents, he has dragged his feet on virtually every aspect of the agreement, even where his negotiators have agreed.

Repeated calls by PM Tsvangirai's MDC party for the agreement's guarantor - the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the chief mediator South African President Jacob Zuma - to intervene have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Given this background, analysts hold it is highly unlikely that, even after tomorrow's meeting, anything substantial will change to the political stallmate in Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe's unilateral appointment last week of controversial former Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman, George Chiweshe, the Judge President of the High Court, has incensed PM Tsvangirai – who learnt of the appointment, on which he should have been consulted, via the columns of the state-controlled daily newspaper 'The Herald'.

In a strong letter to Mr Mugabe delivered on Friday, Mr Tsvangirai made particular reference to Article 20.1.3 of Zimbabwe's constitution, which says the President shall make key appointments required under and in terms of the constitution in consultation with the Prime Minister.

"We are faced with a political, legal and constitutional problem that needs to be addressed," Prime Minister Tsvangirai wrote.

The negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche for President Mugabe's ZANU party, Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma for the MDC-T, and Welshman Ncube and Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga for the MDC-M, concluded s

Zimbabwe coalition government leaders

© PM's office/afrol News
even months of wrangling on 3 April, and presented a report on areas of agreement.

Areas of Agreement
These include:
– a formula to break the deadlock over the appointment governors,
– amendments to the Electoral Act,
– the issue of targeted measures,
– media reforms at the statecontrolled media to remove the pro-Zanu (PF) bias,
– what to do about Zimbabwean-owned external radio stations,
– land issues, including the land audit and security of tenure,
– the role of NGOs,
– freedom of assembly and association.

Given the limited lifespan of the coalition government, which at its inception in February 2009 was supposed to be two years, these inordinate delays in implementing what was agreed to during the protracted negotiations of 2008 and 2009 are said to demonstrate ZANU's intransigence.

Outstanding issues on which no agreement appears to have been reached include President Mugabe's unilateral appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General Johannes Tomana, his continued refusal to swear in Roy Bennett, the ZANUfication of national hero selection, and the position of the permanent secretary of Media, Information and Publicity, George Charamba, who doubles as ZANU and presidential spokesman.

As the negotations go on seemingly endlessly, Zimbabweans and the international community are disappointed at the lack of progress in implementing what was agreed in the power-sharing agreement more than a year ago.

President Mugabe's insistence on Western sanctions being removed before he will agree to what he regards as concessions to the MDC is said to stall the process. The international community however has said it is ready and willing to assist Zimbabwe only when the coalition government has implemented the terms of the agreement in full. ZANU is not asked to make further concessions.

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