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Zimbabwe Stalemate Hinges On South African Promise

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party says it has reached a tentative deal with the ruling ZANU-PF party on a constitutional amendment to create a unity government. But talks between the rival parties in South Africa aimed at forging a power-sharing deal, are said to be making little progress.

Mduduzi Khumalo, a research specialist with the Peace & Security Research Unit of the Africa Institute of South Africa said right now the talks are hinging on a proposal by South Africa.

Referring to the conditions in the agreement signed by the government and the opposition, Khumalo said “South Africa will not make good on its promise to give “financial aid” to Zimbabwe until the stalemate has been resolved.

One of two issues hampering the stalemate he said ‘is the issue of the Department of Home Affairs, which he added, is a “very sensitive issue” because neither side wants to relinquish that department.

The South Africa Development Community (SADC) has suggested the two parties share the department as a solution to the stalemate and is using the promise of aid as “carrot”.

“South Africa is saying we’re not going to give you the money until, go and resolve the problem,” explains Khumalo. This approach by SADC, he says, is “giving the facilitator of the talks a little bit of a leeway.”

The South African analyst said sanctions imposed by the UN are not the answer to the problem.