Zimbabweans are reportedly acting cautiously optimistic
about the beginning of a second round of peace negotiations between the ruling
ZANU-PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
South Africa's capital, Pretoria. The talks, which resumed Sunday after a short
break are geared toward finding a lasting solution to resolving Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis. But some Zimbabweans are expressing pessimism,
about previous negotiations with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANUPF party,
claiming they have not alleviated the suffering of ordinary people.
add that what Zimbabweans want is a change in leadership and a transitional
government, which would lead to a free and fair vote under a new constitution.
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 Zimbabweans are not overly
enthusiastic about the talks.
are looking at the current talks with cautious optimism. They are very weary of
the likely outcome from these negotiations. As you are aware, in 1987, there
were negotiations between the ZANU-PF and ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's
Union) and the negotiations came up with a unity agreement that basically
failed to address the core issues. Basically, the agreement led to the annihilation
of the opposition in Matabeleland," Mpani pointed out.
said Zimbabweans are worried history would repeat itself in future elections.
are quite weary that for the MDC to go and negotiate with the ZANU-PF, such a
scenario like the previous talks might come out of those negotiations. The
second thing is that Zimbabweans are quite cognizant that whatever negotiations
take place, their will or their decision in March 29 is non negotiable, which
means that the decision that they made that the MDC is the government they
would want to be in place needs to be respected in any negotiation process," he
said some Zimbabweans feel disappointed by the international community.
fact that the SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the AU (African
Union) are monitoring the peace process does not give Zimbabweans confidence,
based on the fact that the two bodies have had their credibility eroded to a
large extent. The AU's acceptance of Robert Mugabe to go to the AU summit after
the African Union and PAN African parliament and SADC had all declared that the
election in June were not an expression of the free will of the people of
Zimbabwe was an indictment on the AU. It was a sign that the AU body is
complicit with Mugabe in terms of subverting the will of the people of
Zimbabwe," Mpani pointed out.
said Zimbabweans feel particularly let down by the African Union and SADC.
there is some hesitance on the part of Zimbabweans to say there is no guarantee
that the AU will protect their vote. More importantly, that it was exacerbated
by the resolutions that came out advocating for a government of national
unity," he said.
said Zimbabweans overwhelmingly want a change in leadership that would lead to
a free and fair election, conducted according to international standards.
Zimbabweans want with the ongoing talks is a negotiated settlement that brings
back democracy, a Zimbabwe that is able to allow the recovery of the economy
within the country. And thirdly and more importantly is, they want the process
to guarantee them that if they are to go for an election again, they can get
the leadership that they deserve, which means that these negotiations, one
should deal with institutional reform deal with the de-politicization of the
army, the police, and the militia. These negotiations should deal with the
overhaul of the constitution and more importantly lead to a process where we
have got a framework which can come up with formulating a base and a foundation
that can lead to an election," Mpani pointed out.