Polls: Zuma sticks to his guns

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma is pressing for a clear election roadmap and agreed timelines for elections in Zimbabwe, despite a court ruling compelling President Robert Mugabe to hold the polls by end of next month.

REPORT BY DUMISANI SIBANDA/ EVERSON MUSHAVA

In a telephone interview yesterday, Lindiwe Zulu, international advisor to Zuma, said Sadc would not allow Zimbabwe to slide back to the 2008 electoral chaos.

“With or without the court ruling, we are going ahead to meet the parties as the facilitation team ahead of the Sadc summit (to be held in Mozambique on Sunday), which (decision) was agreed on during the summit held in Addis Ababa (two weeks ago). All parties have been invited,” she said.

“As the facilitator put it at the summit we want the comfort of having a clear roadmap to the elections, with timelines agreed upon by the parties themselves.

“The ultimate is to have credible elections. We want to avoid the 2008 scenario.”

Zuma is the facilitator to the Sadc-brokered coalition government between Mugabe and the two MDCs led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube.

The Constitutional Court last Friday ordered that elections be held by July 31, a verdict that Mugabe and his Zanu PF party immediately embraced. But other partners in the coalition government and observers say the timeframe does not give enough time to implement outstanding reforms.

Zulu said the regional block remained seized with helping Zimbabwe have legitimate elections.

The facilitation team is in Zimbabwe to meet negotiators of the political parties in the Global Political Agreement ahead of the special Sadc summit on Zimbabwe at the weekend. Zulu is not part of the visiting team.

The Sadc meeting held on the sidelines of the African Union last month, decided that a special summit should be held by the regional bloc to tackle issues relating to Zimbabwean polls.

Zanu PF has been pushing for an early poll to end the unity government with or without reforms, while the two MDCs insist on full implementation of all the reforms including security sector realignment.

The facilitation team represented by Zuma’s political advisor Charles Nqakula, South African ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela and his deputy had a meeting with Jomic co-chairs in Harare yesterday.

The MDC-T was represented by Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma, Zanu PF by Transport minister Nicholas Goche while Regional Integration minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga represented the MDC.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said after the meeting: “We told them how Jomic is operating and the challenges it is facing.”

The facilitation team is due to meet the negotiators of the three political parties separately today.

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