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GPA under spotlight again

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President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team to the homegrown crisis has assured parties in Zimbabwe’s fragile inclusive government that the peace broker was working tirelessly on a roadmap towards the holding of free and fair polls in the country.

Fresh elections are widely seen in political circles as the panacea to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political crisis, brought about by endless bickering for power.

Zuma’s International Affairs advisor Lindiwe Zulu and South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mlungisi Makhalima met MDC-T negotiators on Monday before rubbing shoulders with the Welshman Ncube-led MDC negotiators.

The team is expected to meet Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche today (Wednesday).

Strenuous efforts to get comment from Chinamasa and Goche proved fruitless by the time of going to print.

Sources said the two MDC formations, especially MDC-T, are frustrated with President Robert Mugabe’s alleged reluctance to implement agreed issues relating to the GPA.

They also wanted South Africa to guarantee Zimbabwe would not hold elections without a clear roadmap which could result in disputed polls.

“Zuma’s team assured us that they were working on the roadmap and that problems in the inclusive government will be discussed at a Sadc troika meeting, sometime after the AU summit at the end of the month,” impeccable sources said.

It is believed the roadmap for elections would be ready by the time of the troika meeting expected to be held after the AU summit which kicks off in Ethiopia at the end of the month.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti confirmed having discussions with Zuma’s team saying: “We met (South African) Ambassador Mlungisi Makhalima and Zulu yesterday (on Monday) and we gave them a brief of the political situation in Zimbabwe. We raised our concerns at the failure to resolve outstanding issues.

We also raised the toxic issues such as the violence that is occurring and the deployment of military personnel in the rural areas.”

Biti also confirmed the team assured his party they were preparing a roadmap towards the holding of free and fair election.

MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga confirmed meeting the team although she refused to divulge details.

Outstanding issues include President Mugabe’s refusal to swear-in MDC-T treasurer general Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and the appointments of Gideon Gono as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

The MDC parties have said they want elections after the constitution-making exercise is completed while also calling for national healing as well as media and security sector reforms, among other issues.

President Mugabe was pushing for elections to be held by mid-year “with or without” a new constitution but faced stiff resistance from MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and former MDC-M leader Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who insisted the polls should only be held when the playing field, widely seen to be tilted in favour of Zanu PF, was levelled.

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