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SA facilitators head for Zim

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The facilitation team of South African President Jacob Zuma is expected in Zimbabwe next week to check on progress made by the unity government in fine-tuning the election roadmap the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) says is necessary before the country’s next polls.

Zuma is the Sadc-appointed mediator in Harare, following the disputed and bloody 2008 presidential elections.

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have consistently called for elections this year, even in the absence of a new constitution.

But the two MDC parties in the coalition government insist critical democratic reforms should be implemented before any fresh polls are called, in particular the writing of a new constitution.
However, analysts say Sadc’s mediation role in Zimbabwe has reached its full potential and is losing steam as conflicts over the same issues remain in the inclusive government with no solution in sight.

Zuma’s international affairs adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, told VOA that the South African team would hold progress meetings with all the parties in Zimbabwe during the visit.

“The facilitation team is going back to Zimbabwe to do the work that we normally do as a facilitation team,” said Zulu. “We have meetings, and we are following up as we have been mandated by our principal President Jacob Zuma.”

United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean analyst Nkululeko Sibanda said the South African facilitation team now needed to re-strategise and begin a new discussion that would involve other key players, who could bring fresh ideas to the negotiating table to move Zimbabwe forward. Sibanda said political parties would continue to disagree because “they are serving other interests that are outside and away from the table”.

“I think we have got to bring other people onto the table and say where do we go so that it is an all-stakeholders conclusion on how we go forward, and this is the problem we are having with the constitution, and this is why people continue to complain,” Sibanda added.

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