Zimbabwe: "Unity" Government Near

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[International: Zimbabwe Deal]


President Thabo Mbeki appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough in mediating Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, after his envoys secured promises of talks on a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mbeki’s possible solution — after eight years of failed attempts — was the major talking point on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit which opened in Egypt yesterday, diplomatic sources said. The plan involves getting Mugabe and Tsvangirai to work together to implement agreements between Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) made in January.

These include a new constitution and other reforms. Sources said Mbeki had proposed that the new constitution be adopted through a referendum or a select parliamentary committee which would involve all three parties. They said Mbeki’s suggestion is that parliament processes the draft. Parliament would then sit in a plenary, and acting as a “committee of the whole”, endorse the draft that would later be referred to a referendum. Mbeki’s envoys, Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi and his legal adviser, Mojanku Gumbi, secured commitments from Mugabe and Tsvangirai that they would enter negotiations on the deal.

Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, yesterday confirmed the envoys’ visit to Harare, but could not give details of their feedback to Mbeki. Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba, said at the summit a deal was in the offing. 

“The South African foreign minister on Saturday — in a meeting with other foreign ministers — placed it in on record that she, on behalf of the SADC, can confirm that they are nearing a deal where we will have a power-sharing arrangement because the results of the March 29 election did not yield a clear winner,” he said. “Based on that, the AU is supposed to trust the SADC to deliver a solution to Zimbabwe,” Charamba said.


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