The three principals, President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, met twice this week, first on Monday and then later on Tuesday, but nothing conclusive was reached over the outstanding issues.Analysts fear the failure to break the impasse could destroy the three-month old inclusive government seen as the panacea to ending Zimbabwe’s decade-long economic and political crisis.
The outstanding issues discussed at this week’s meetings of the principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) included the matter of the appointments of provincial governors, permanent secretaries and ambassadors.
PM Tsvangirai and Deputy PM Mutambara are challenging President Mugabe over what they view as unilateral decisions or appointments in violation of the GPA signed by the three leaders on September 15 2008.Several meetings of the three leaders held in the past two months failed to resolve the outstanding issues. Indications are that the dispute could be referred to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) if next week’s crunch meeting fails to secure a breakthrough.
With South Africa’s President-elect Jacob Zuma assuming the SADC chair, taking over from Kgalema Motlanthe, analysts expect the speedy resolution of the issue.Zuma, according to analysts, would not want the Zimbabwe issue to cloud Pretoria’s 2010 World Cup preparations.Sources privy to Tuesday’s deliberations told The Financial Gazette yesterday that while no agreements had been reached, next week’s meeting would be “crunch”, adding that the principals would bring finality to all the outstanding issues after covering a lot of ground this week.
George Charamba, President Mugabe’s spokesman who doubles up as the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, could not immediately comment as his office said he was locked in meetings.But James Maridadi, the spokesperson for PM Tsvangirai, confirmed that the principals met on Monday and Tuesday and were due to meet again next week.
“The principals, indeed, met and on Tuesday they discussed all outstanding issues. These include the issue of governors, permanent secretaries, ambassadors as well as the appointments of the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) governor and the Attorney-General,” said Maridadi.
“I am informed the crunch meeting is on Tuesday where these issues would again be put on the table. I am also informed there has been progress regarding certain issues and that there are some disagreements on others,” he said. Maridadi, however, said there was no need to refer the matter to Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president who brokered the power-sharing deal on behalf of SADC.
“All these issues have been discussed. There is no dispute whatsoever. There are still some areas where the principals expect to find common ground when they next meet, probably Monday or Tuesday next week.”
The MDC-T says the inclusive government would not be complete without the resolution of outstanding issues.