President Robert Mugabe and his entourage which included Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was seen entering the venue of the meeting at 5pm, soon after the mediator, President Jacob Zuma. Other heads of states spotted entering the meeting’s venue were from Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Botswana.
Also present from Zimbabwe was Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Mushonga Misihairabwi from the smaller MDC faction. The smaller faction is in a crisis following the refusal of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to step down following his ouster as the president of the party early this year. Mutambara insists he still heads the party, citing irregularities in the congress that ousted him and saw Ncube taking his place. Ncube wants Mutambara to step down as deputy prime minister.
The meeting, closed to the media, was set to start at 7 pm.
Earlier on the day supporters of the two MDC formations, Mtwakhazi Liberation Front (MLF) and Zapu held a chaotic demonstration which was disrupted due to violence. The Zanu (PF) demonstration which was expected later on the day did not take place.
The meeting is expected to push for an election road map in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has been pushing for an election this year, a move that is fiercely being opposed by his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and civic society who fear election violence. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has already indicated that the government has no money to hold elections this year.