Some Zimbabweans have reportedly welcomed as a step in the right direction calls by the international community for a negotiated settlement between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They however, warned that a negotiated settlement that would lead to a government of national unity would not work since they claim President Mugabe had on previous occasions disbanded all such inclusive governments. This comes after over 30 African heads of state and government meeting in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh unanimously called for peace negotiations between the opposition and the government to resolve Zimbabwe's internal problems. Gordon Moyo is the executive director of the Bulawayo project, a non-governmental organization in Zimbabwe's commercial capital. He tells reporter Peter Clottey the call for possible negotiation should focus on addressing the concerns of ordinary Zimbabweans.
"The issue of a negotiated settlement is quite welcome, but the question is what kind of a negotiated settlement? The people of Zimbabwe would not welcome a government of national unity as signified by the overtures that are being made by various heads of state. Zimbabwe would not want to have the solution that was brokered in Kenya imposed on them. The people of Zimbabwe would want a kind of situation whereby there is a transitional mechanism that is going to prepare for the election," Moyo noted.
He said Zimbabweans would want to participate in a vote that would be credible and internationally accepted.
"Zimbabweans would want to vote; they didn't participate in the elections over the past two days. So, any negotiation that is going to allow for an electoral process that was began in March to be continued would be welcomed, but anything less than that would be tantamount to dismissing the people's will," he said.
Moyo said a possible negotiation between the government and the opposition would need a credible and an unbiased mediator.
"There is no substitute for a negotiated settlement now. Negotiations are just important, but they are significant and essential in Zimbabwe now, but what would be needed is a mediator who is credible. The mediation led by the SADC (Southern African Development Community) through the president of South Africa was a suspect and it lacked the credibility because the president of South Africa seems to be politically blind to the plight and calamities of the people of Zimbabwe," Moyo pointed out.
He said Zimbabweans would welcome a mediator that would be backed by the international community among others.
"What we need now is a mediation that is supported by the African Union. The mediation that has a number of leaders and evidenced from outside even SADC, that is what we need in Zimbabwe," he said.
Moyo said the possible negotiated settlement by the two opposing parties should lead to a pragmatic constitutional reform.
"The people of Zimbabwe are looking at what I will call the principles of engagement. When the MDC and ZANU-PF are engaging, there must be certain fundamentals that should be respected. One of them is they must agree on making sure that the priority in their discussion is a constitutional reform. Number two the people of Zimbabwe would want to vote, so they are expecting to go back to the polling stations as soon as possible. That is very critical to all Zimbabweans. Thirdly, the people of Zimbabwe are tired of the hostilities that are going on in the country, the structures of cohesion, the structures of manipulation, the structures of violence should be dismantled, and the people of Zimbabwe are looking towards that. And the people of Zimbabwe are hungry they are starving they are looking forward to the government allowing the international agencies that have been distributing food in Zimbabwe to continue their work," Moyo pointed out.