The protracted dogfights among Zimbabwe’s three ruling political parties could be coming to an end after it emerged they were edging closer to agreeing on dates for a referendum and elections.
Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salamao told journalists at the Talatona Convention Centre in Luanda on Tuesday night that Zanu PF, the MDC-T and the MDC were close to reaching an agreement that would result in a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.
He spoke after emerging from a meeting of the Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security.
“Though we still have challenges in Zimbabwe, they are making progress. Let’s be fair to them in terms of the problems leading to the referendum, they are almost in the process of reaching an agreement in terms of the date of elections . . . I believe from the report that we get, they are almost there.”
The outstanding issues are expected to be thrashed out during closed door sessions.
The 31st Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government roared into life yesterday amid reports of last-minute efforts by regional leaders to bring the feuding parties together.
Facilitator, South Africa President Jacob Zuma and key regional leaders Hifikepunye Pohamba (Nambia) and Jose Eduardo dos Santos (Angola), reportedly met with all the Zimbabwean leaders to try and find a lasting solution to the country’s political crisis.
It was not clear whether the parties had now agreed on the contentious issues although the tone set by Salamao indicated all was going well.
Zanu PF chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, was too cautious last night, refusing to discuss anything to do with the crucial summit.
However, Jameson Timba, the MDC-T secretary for international relations and cooperation, called for a resolution of all outstanding issues.
“Sadc must adopt the roadmap albeit with clear mechanisms of how to resolve the outstanding issues. In addition, it is high time that Sadc pronounces itself on the role of the military in political processes.”
Meanwhile, both the MDC-T and the MDC dismissed reports their leaders were in Luanda in their private capacities.
Luke Tamborinyoka, spokesperson for MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said: “He was invited. How can he come here as an ordinary citizen and be granted a red carpet reception?”