Political agreements will take a while longer

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Zimbabwe is likely to wait another month before any more progress in the painstaking negotiations to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) can be expected, a well-placed source to the talks said this week.

But ordinary Zimbabweans, excited by the visible economic revival obtaining on the ground, are growing disinterest in the now-boring endless political bickering , while civil society and the diplomatic community have also expressed open frustration at the slow pace of progress in the crucial talks.

“If they do not finish these political arguments soon, the economic revival will be badly hurt.

“There is so much excitement from investors – even from (President) Mugabe’s erstwhile enemies, the Americans and the British – and throwing away this rare chance of a new beginning because of political pontification would be outright stupid,” said Lovemore Muskwe, a Harare medical doctor who says transformation of the health sector in the past six months was a “dream come true”.

Darlington Janyure, an accounting technician and director of Logo Systems Pvt. Ltd said politicians should not continue to hold Zimbabwe to ransom.

He said 2010 had been received with great enthusiasm by an excited business community and ordinary Zimbabweans, so politicians should not divert the people’s attention from the business of rebuilding the country’s shattered economy.

“Mugabe, (Prime Minister) Tsvangirai and (Deputy Prime Minister) Mutambara should quickly put their act together and allow the people of Zimbabwe to go about the business of rebuilding their lives without having to look over their shoulders for disruptive political threats,” Janyure said.

The GPA negotiators suspended talks for a holiday break two days before Christmas last year and will only reconvene meetings in two weeks time, a source to the highly confidential talks told NewsDay.

Minister Patrick Chinamasa, head of the Zanu PF team of negotiators confirmed in a telephone interview negotiators were taking a break after “very significant progress” but would not say when the talks would resume.

“We have made a lot of progress – significant progress – besides the agreement on the independent commissions. We are taking a break. We will resume in due time, quite soon though,” Chinamasa said.

The latest breakthrough has been the establishment of independent media, electoral and human rights commissions.

Efforts to speak with the MDC-T duo of ministers Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma were unsuccessful.

But MDC-M’s team leader, Professor Welshman Ncube also confirmed the month-long break although he too remained tight-lipped on progress on the crucial conflict points.