Archive for September 16th, 2007

source: Zimbabwe Online
By Farisai Gonye

HARARE – Sticky constitutional reform issues have forced South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki to push back a month-end deadline for an agreement between President Robert Mugabe’s party and Zimbabwe’s main opposition.

Mbeki is fronting talks to break a deadlock between Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, seen by many as key to ending a biting eight-year economic and political crisis.

High-level sources involved in the talks said Mbeki had initially sought to have an agreement between the two parties signed by 30 September but was now eyeing mid-October for a pact between the Zimbabwean belligerent parties.

The sources said Mbeki had now set 16 October as the tentative date by which the negotiating parties should have reached a consensus on key issues relating to a level playing field ahead of next year’s planned joint presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Mbeki is now hoping that by mid-October, the two parties would have found common ground on sticky issues,” one source said.

The sticky issue is the process of coming up with a new, democratic constitution for Zimbabwe, with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction preferring a participatory approach that involves all stakeholders.

ZANU PF and the smaller MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara believe there is no time to embark on a [continue reading]