Comment: Roadmap agreement good for Zim but . . .

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Negotiators of the shaky inclusive government concluded deliberations on a roadmap expected to lead to free and fair elections in Zimbabwe just before the Easter holiday, but are still deadlocked over critical issues that will now be referred to South African President Jacob Zuma who is the Sadc facilitator.

We believe the breakthrough itself is a big step forward for the people of Zimbabwe who have never known peace for the past 11 years because of the country’s political stalemate.

This makes the Zimbabwe crisis much easier to resolve. If the negotiators were able to close ranks on this major issue of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), we believe it must be fairly easier for them to agree on what steps should be taken over the recruitment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission staff, media reforms, a new constitution and political meetings, among others.

Most importantly, President Robert Mugabe’s intransigence with regard to fully implementing the GPA becomes a matter of concern, the timing of the elections, and other key issues.

We call on the President as one of the GNU principals to look in the mirror and see whether he wants to waste this window of opportunity bestowed by Sadc to resolve the political stalemate in the country.

Although the choice is his, we believe President Mugabe and his Zanu PF should respect the wishes of the people. If the negotiators were able to agree on the roadmap, sanctions, media and electoral reforms and rule of law, why should Zanu PF not do what is in the best interests of Zimbabwe?

President Mugabe and his party appear to be in self-denial. With Zanu PF’s experience in government, we did not think the inclusive government must always refer and/or consult President Zuma to help diffuse the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

From the outset, we believe Zanu PF should simply have accepted that the electorate wanted to move on soon after the March 2008 harmonised elections in which the party performed dismally.

We strongly condemn the use of violence on Zanu PF opponents.

We believe the GNU principals, including President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) after going through the findings of the negotiators, will immediately deal with the sticking points and allow Zimbabweans to move forward with their lives.

We are aware that President Mugabe is against the election roadmap, insisting that the GPA is in itself a roadmap, but the two MDCs want a roadmap with signposts and timelines. We call on the two MDCs to resist bulldosing by Zanu PF.

Media reforms should be carried out to ensure that the demonisation of other political players in the inclusive government is stopped.

While negotiators were busy cobbling their agreed position in the GPA, a senior police officer — one Edmore Veterai — launched a tirade against one of the MDC leaders who is a key political player in the GNU. This should be a matter of great concern to President Mugabe, Sadc (the guarantor of the GNU) and the MDC-T.

Why should government officials always attack major political players opposed to Zanu PF with impunity?
These verbal attacks must be stopped because they breed a culture of impunity.

Under the current environment, we believe Zimbabwe cannot conduct a credible election.