South Africa has insisted rivals in Zimbabwe’s wobbly inclusive government, joined at the hips by convenience, should stick to the provisions of the hastily cobbled up Global Political Agreement (GPA) to facilitate the holding of credible elections in the country.
After continued bickering between the warring parties in the coalition, South Africa as the facilitator to the political crisis that brought the country to its knees, took it herself to craft an election roadmap for Zimbabwe.
In an interview on Wednesday, South African President Jacob Zuma’s international affairs advisor Lindiwe Zulu, who has been holding separate meetings with negotiators from the three main parties in the coalition government as well as Copac co-chairpersons and officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission telling them to smell the coffee, said the document will largely be premised on provisions of the GPA signed on September 15 2008.
“The issues around the implementation of the GPA have to be taken seriously, because they are critical in creating a conducive environment for elections. In fact the roadmap for Zimbabwe’s elections will be based on the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, the GPA and other local factors,” she said.
“It’s therefore important that the GPA is implemented and we have emphasised that to all the political parties. We can’t take too long because it’s something (elections) we all need.”
She added: “There is no way we can have an election roadmap without including the constitution-making exercise because the constitution is critical. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is also critical because they run the election and it’s important to know their state of preparedness.”
Zulu refused to reveal the nitty-gritty’s of her meetings saying she could not do so before briefing Zuma, who is the Sadc appointed broker.
She said Zuma would use her findings to report to the SADC troika on defense and security, which will then make a report to SADC heads of State and government.
Partners in the government have failed to fully implement the GPA, with some of the sticking points being 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 Johannes Tomana as the Attorney General.
President Mugabe has also been accused of making unilaterally appointments in violation of the GPA, while he in turn accuses his foes of not being sincere about their commitment to have sanctions removed.
He has also complained about pirate radio stations which are broadcasting from outside the country’s borders.
The partners, however, are agreeable that elections are the only way to resolve the impasse.
But the MDC formations say they should only be held after the constitution-making exercise is complete. They also want national healing as well as media and security sector reforms to be complete, among other things before going to the polls.
President Mugabe was pushing for elections to be held by mid this year “with or without” a new constitution, but faced stiff resistance from MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former MDC-M leader Arthur Mutambara, who insisted elections should only be held when a new constitution is in place.