Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) says it is committed to the ongoing peace negotiations between the
opposition and the ruling ZANU-PF party despite a reported stalemate at the
talks in South Africa. The talks, which are aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's
political and economic crises, continue in South Africa today (Monday). South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki who is mediating the talks said despite
setbacks, leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will
continue to help with the discussions.
political analysts are criticizing the regional body for not doing enough to
help resolve the Zimbabwe's crisis. Glen Mpani is the regional coordinator for the transitional
justice program of the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in
Cape Town South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the sticking point
of the talks has always been power sharing.
"What is important is to
look at that issue that has caused the mediation process appears as if it has
slowed. It has to do with the major issue that has to do with the distribution
of power between the expected role of Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and
that of Mugabe as the president. For the MDC, I think what they would not want
to do is get into any government where they don't have any meaningful power and
more importantly what the MDC would not want to do is to renege on the core
issue that they've been fighting for that is a new constitution. And also
ensure that whatever drives the process is based on the victory that they (MDC)
got in March," Mpani noted.
He said the ruling ZANU-PF
would prefer to hang on to power as long as it could.
"On the part of the ZANU-PF,
I think they are also negotiating from a position where they would not cede too
much power. And secondly they would also want to buy time in terms of ensuring
that they can work on the ground in terms of getting enough support. I don't
think ZANU-PF would want to go for an election very soon. They want to give
themselves time and allow the economy to recover," he said.
Mpani said both opposing
parties at the ongoing talks are entrenched in their positions.
"As far as we have seen, I
think there is some evidence of commitment they might be going into it for
different reasons. The MDC might be going into the talks for the reasons that
they have a mandate and there are people who are supporting them in terms of
finding a solution. And for ZANU-PF, they might be going in because they are
legitimacy is under threat or their legitimacy might be quite problematic,"
Mpani pointed out.
He said any failure of the
ongoing peace negotiations would reflect badly on the regional body, SADC.
"The implications of the
failure of these talks are that one it shows SADC these issues should have been
resolved a long time ago. And where they are now is that they have reached a
crisis point and they see the Zimbabwe problem is likely to threaten SADC as a
regional body based on the criticism from Zambia and the boycott of the meeting
by Botswana. I think that in itself is a signal that the future of the body is
really threatened, and for them (SADC) they would want to maintain that unity.
And if that is to be resolved, they need to find a solution to the Zimbabwe
problem as soon as possible," he said.
Mpani said South African
President Mbeki could leave a legacy of bringing both the ruling ZANU-PF and
main opposition MDC together to find ways of resolving Zimbabwe's crisis.
"I think Thabo Mbeki can
boast that he has been able to one at least bring Tsvangirai and Mugabe to a
negotiating table. The second thing that he might boast of is that the
achievement that he has been able to get in the negotiating process at least
for them to be committed to the process, signing the memorandum of
understanding and going through a process of negotiating. But I think for his
legacy, one of the things that is going to continue to daunt him is the fact
that this agreement is coming rather too late," Mpani noted.