President Robert Mugabe's government has dismissed calls by
the chair of the African Union for an immediate 50-50 power-sharing deal
between the government and the opposition. Yet Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party
says it is committed to the stalled peace negotiations with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), mediated by South Africa's President
political observes say the call by the African Union is an admission that the
Southern African Development Community-mediated peace negotiations have failed
to yield a lasting solution to Zimbabwe's ongoing economic and political
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 African Union's call for an immediate resolution of Zimbabwe's crisis is an
reaction is progressive and it is in the interest of finding a long lasting
solution to the conflict that in Zimbabwe and to the current mediation that
President Mbeki has been leading for quite sometime. But there is another angle
to this that we need to look at and that is for AU (African Union) to come up
with this position, it might be a sign that the Thabo Mbeki initiative has
failed and it has now been taken to the AU level. And it now goes to be seen
how ZANU-PF is going to react to it," Mpani pointed out.
said the ruling party might not take kindly the AU's call for an immediate
resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis by both the government and the opposition
agreeing to a power sharing deal.
will depend on how the ruling ZANU-PF will react to it. Whether ZANU-PF will
not see that as an affront or interference to President Mbeki's mediation
process. And if ZANU-PF views this as interferening in the mediation process,
they will equally scuttle the process and nothing is going to come out of it,"
said the African Union has not been overly helpful in finding ways to resolve
Zimbabwe's economic and political crises.
African Union has not done enough. Part of our problem has been the African
Union over the years when human rights organizations were bringing cases of
abuse and the human rights commission did nothing about it, and they are now
reacting late to the problem. And for them (AU) to allow him (Mugabe) to go to
Egypt and to accord him as the sitting president of the country, it was
complicit on the part of the AU to acknowledge that he is the president. Even
this solution of a 50-50, it is a way of ensuring and siding with the loser by
coming up with a position by saying okay lets go for a 50-50. Why can't they
come up with a position to say lets respect the will of the people on the 29th
of March?" Mpani asked.
said the African Union's call for a 50-50 power sharing deal between the
opposition and the ruling ZANU-PF party is workable.
50-50 is feasible, and I think what Morgan Tsvangirai was advocating for is
that, if you are going for a real power sharing, where a prime minister is
given full responsibilities of a prime ministerial post, and as a president he
gets some responsibilities. If they go for a 50-50, the victor of this process
would have been ZANU-PF and ZANU-PF would have gained a lot. But I think under
the circumstances, it is a feasible arrangement that they can work on in a
transitional face with the hope of going back to the people to seek a proper
mandate," he said.
said resolving the stalled peace negotiations would also hinge on the
acceptance of the opposition of the power sharing agreement.
way forward now is to whether the MDC accepts that 50-50 arrangement and
whether that 50-50 speaks to the teething issues that remains contentious in
recent negotiations of the powers of the prime minister. And if it speaks to
what the MDC has been saying, the MDC is going to jump to say this is what they
have been looking for and to accept the interim," Mpani pointed out.
power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the main
opposition MDC reportedly stalled over how to share executive power between
Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who refused to sign an agreement two
weeks ago that would have made him prime minister because it did not give him
enough executive powers.