US Delegation To Assess New Unity Government Agreement

According to a statement released on Tuesday, the Congressional delegation, led by Representative Gregory Meeks (D-New York) and Representative Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina), plans to meet with senior government officials from the major political parties and leaders from non-governmental organizations.  Other members of the delegation include Representatives André Carson (D-Indiana) and Jack Kingston (R-Georgia).

This is the second visit to Zimbabwe in six months for Congressmen Meeks, Watt and Kingston.  In September 2009, Congressman Meeks led a five-member delegation that met with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo and the tri-partite chairs of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution.

Zimbabwe’s GPA has met snags as Zanu PF and the main faction of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) have failed to agree on certain key issues which include the removal of Zimbabwe’s Attorney General, Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and the swearing in of deputy minister of Agriculture Roy Bennett currently facing terrorism charges among others.

The mediator to GPA talks aimed at resolving the outstanding issues, South African President Jacob Zuma, has said early elections should be held in Zimbabwe as a way of solving the outstanding issues. MDC has also called for fresh elections while Zanu PF is demanding for the removal of Western sanctions and the ban of exiled radio stations.

The unity government was put in place last February and one year later Zimbabwe, which is currently crippled by a civil servants strike and a looming food shortage, has failed to fully implement the agreement dashing hopes of a lot of Zimbabweans who were looking forward to returning home and contribute in the re-building of the country that suffered a decade of political instability and economic destruction. 

The European Union has said it will extend Zimbabwe’s sanctions for a further 12 months, citing lack of progress in implementing the GPA outstanding issues.