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Zimbabwe Talks Collapse

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Zimbabwe Talks Collapse

Harare, February 10. 2010 - Talks to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) stalled in Harare on Tuesday after President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF negotiators refused to make any concessions claiming that they were under strict instructions from their party not to co-operate.

Radio VOP has it on good authority that even facilitators from South Africa who were in the country to try and negotiate a settlement failed to persuade Zanu PF negotiators – Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche to discuss the outstanding issues which have stalled progress in the transitional government.

Top Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials said Wednesday that after two days of meetings including with facilitators from South Africa, Goche and Chinamasa simply refused to discuss anything tangible.

“The talks were a real farce as Goche and Chinamasa claimed that they were under instructions not to make any concessions until sanctions and foreign radio stations are removed. They are aware that this is impossible because the MDC did not impose the travel restrictions on them neither did the party install foreign radio stations.

“Zanu PF officials reduced the talks to child’s play and were an embarrassment to the visiting South African facilitators. It was as if they were told that their heads would be chopped off if the negotiated. They were even refusing to discuss issues we agreed on last year.

“What this simply means is that there has been a deadlock and it’s now up to SADC as the guarantors to decide what to do with this latest setback in the inclusive government. Everyone is aware who is stalling progress in the unity government,” said the top ranked official.

Reports from the talks indicate that negotiators from the Arthur Mutambara faction of the MDC tried in vain to mediate and persuade the Zanu PF officials to engage in positive discussions but they too failed to convince the Zanu PF duo.

A Zanu PF official who spoke to Radio VOP on condition of anonymity confirmed the deadlock saying his party’s tactic was now to make sure that nothing moves as this might lead to elections where the party hopefully wants to use violence to win back power.

“It’s clear that the people in Zanu PF no longer want to share power with the MDC so they will use every available opportunity to frustrate them out.  The negotiators were under instructions to go there and behave like dead bodies.

“They were under very strict instructions not to talk and this means for now there is deadlock and only facilitator President Jacob Zuma can save the talks otherwise we are wasting time,” said the Zanu PF insider.

Over a year since the transitional government was put in place, Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have been haggling over outstanding issues. MDC demands include the swearing in of deputy minister of agriculture Roy Bennett, the swearing in of provincial governors, land audit, the reappointment of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and the Attorney General. They are also demanding a return to the rule of law, a halt to harassment and intimidation of their officials and an immediate stop to land invasions.

Mugabe wants the MDC to push for the removal of sanctions and wants foreign radio stations to stop broadcasting in Zimbabwe.

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