Delegates from Zimbabwe's main political parties are meeting in
Pretoria, South Africa to discuss future negotiations toward ending the
crisis in Zimbabwe. VOA's Delia Robertson reports from our southern
Africa bureau in Johannesburg.
Talks between representatives
from the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Party, and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF Party are under way in
Pretoria, an African diplomat close to the mediation process told VOA.
delegates are talking about how to overcome stumbling blocks in the way
of full negotiations about Zimbabwe's political future, according to an
African diplomat close to situation.
The difficulties appear
immense and are mostly the result of the widely discredited runoff
presidential election last month that was marked by widespread violence
overwhelmingly perpetrated against members of the opposition and civil
society groups by supporters of Mr. Mugabe.
continues and bringing it to an end is one of the fundamental demands
the two MDC factions are presenting at these preliminary talks.
political analyst Chris Maroleng says other serious challenges center
around how the various parties view each other's legitimacy.
the mediator is able to deal with the key sticking points in terms of
recognition and credibility of the various parties to this negotiation,
one would argue that the distance or asymmetry that exists between
these two main political parties, would act as a stumbling block
towards really having a positive outcome emanating from this current
period," he said.
While all the parties seem to have agreed that
the way forward may be a transitional government of national unity,
Maroleng says achieving that is going to be extremely difficult.
the one hand President Robert Mugabe insists on being recognized by the
MDC as being legitimately elected and therefore having the right to
convene such a government," he said. "While the MDC would argue that
since they won the elections that were viewed to be largely free and
fair on the the 29th of March, they should actually have the right to
convene and determine the composition of a government of national
Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF has been anxious to get
negotiations under way, perhaps to prevent the adoption this week of
United Nations sanctions.
But Maroleng cautions that if Mr.
Mugabe does not get his way at the preliminary talks in Pretoria, the
fear of sanctions may be overcome by anger and lead to a total
disengagement by his ZANU-PF party, followed by increased suppression
of the opposition and civil society.