SADC Troika set to meet in Zambia to discuss Zimbabwe

By Tichaona Sibanda
29 November 2010

The SADC Troika’s aborted meeting on Zimbabwe will now be convened in Lusaka, Zambia, after South African President Jacob Zuma’s latest mediation efforts to resolve the crisis.

The South African Sunday Times reported that the Troika, chaired by Zambian President Rupiah Banda, will meet in Lusaka to receive Zuma’s report and map the way forward in trying to resolve the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

The online edition of the Daily News reported on Monday that deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara revealed that the SADC troika will be held next week. Zuma, the SADC mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, was in Harare last week Friday where he met Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mutambara separately.

The four later held a joint meeting but sources said it was ‘tense and tough’ though Zuma tried to paint it as positive and constructive. Lindiwe Zulu, a member of Zuma’s facilitation team, told journalists the Harare meeting will enable more active talks and will intensify the progress in implementing the remaining issues in the Global Political Agreement.

A fortnight ago, the SADC Troika failed to meet in Gaborone, Botswana because President Banda of Zambia and President Guebuza of Mozambique did not bother to show.

Analysts roundly condemned SADC for treating the Zimbabwe crisis lightly and blamed some of the leaders for treating Mugabe with kid gloves.

Last Friday Zuma reportedly pressed the three Zimbabwean leaders to come up with, and implement, a roadmap ahead of elections likely to be held next year.
Lindiwe Zulu told the Zimbabwe Standard that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara had agreed that a roadmap was important and in the next few days they would start consultations on the way forward. Mechanisms to guarantee a violence-free and credible election is what Tsvangirai has been calling for.
Tsvangirai has been advocating for a roadmap to ensure free and fair elections and had asked SADC to assist in drawing up guidelines for the polls.
Lindiwe Zulu said Zuma also managed to convince the principals to resume their Monday meetings. Tsvangirai has in the last month boycotted any contact with Mugabe and only met in cabinet meetings on Tuesdays.

No other details have been released about the Harare meeting and it remains unclear whether any progress had been made on the substance of Tsvangirai and Mugabe’s disagreements, many of them concerning the ZANU PF leader’s refusal to consult with Tsvangirai on key appointments.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told us Zuma had to do more on Zimbabwe, other than convince the leaders to sit down and talk, something they have been doing for two years, with no result.

‘There are more fundamental issues to be tackled in Zimbabwe than persuading Mugabe and Tsvangirai to talk over a cup of tea. Why doesn’t Zuma force Mugabe to implement the GPA as directed by SADC? Asked Mashiri.

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