MDC-N secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga says the roadmap timelines recently adopted by negotiators in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) were only a yardstick to ensure a return to normalcy and not a pointer to when elections would be held.
Addressing journalists at her party offices in Bulawayo at the weekend, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is also the MDC-N chief negotiator, described as ridiculous media reports that adoption of the timelines automatically led to general elections.
“The timelines are realistic in that we decided to be process-specific. For example, if we say in the next two or so months, we are dealing with the licensing of broadcasters, we will deal with that specifically. That is the same with the Electoral Act and other issues. In terms of that, they are realistic,” she said.
“The problem then is when the media suggests that we came up with timelines that are leading to the elections. All those issues about the timelines leading to the elections are ridiculous. We don’t have a time frame for elections, but certain issues,” she said.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga also described the mood at the negotiating table as “mutual” and not “intoxicated” by squabbles over the facilitation team as portrayed by the media.
“We find the debate in the media completely different from debates at the negotiating table. At the negotiating table, we have never had any debates on the facilitators,” she said.
MDC-N president Welshman Ncube weighed in saying the timelines were not binding.
“The timelines will always be indicative. They are not absolute,” he said. Negotiators to Zimbabwe’s coalition government have for months been locked in meetings to come up with timelines for implementation of the GPA signed on September 15 2008.
Lately, negotiators have reportedly been embroiled in wrangles over implementation of media, security and electoral reforms.