Zuma Meets Tomana, Gono And Bennett

The three, AG Johannes Tomana, RBZ governor Gideon Gono and Deputy Agriculture minister designate Roy Bennett, refused to speak to the press after their meetings with Zuma.

The three are subject of the talks between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change formations. The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wants Tomana and Gono relieved of their posts. MDC also wants Bennett who is currently accused of terrorism charges acquitted and sworn in as deputy minister of Agriculture. The MDC says charges against Bennett are trumped up. Tomana, an appointee of Mugabe, has been prosecuting in the Bennett case.

Zuma is in Harare to mediate talks that had collapsed following the failure by the three leaders in the inclusive government to fulfill the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Zanu PF wants sanctions imposed by the west removed and exiled media radio stations banned.

Earlier in the day the South African president had met the three principals to the agreement, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Deputy, Arthur Mutambara.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai told journalists that the meeting had progressed very well.

Sources close to the talks told RadioVoP that Zuma had demanded the full implementation of the GPA and the removal of all conditions. It is said the three principals had agreed to move elections from next year citing growing cases of political violence. Zuma had suggested an early poll next year.

Zimbabwe also needs to put a new constitution in place before a free and fair election is held. The parliamentary committee spearheading a constitutional reform process says it will only complete its work by 2013. The process has been delayed by infighting and lack of funds. It has been marred by violence before it has even taken off, particularly in rural areas where villagers have been intimidated not to contribute to the process by Zanu PF. Zanu PF wants the Kariba draft constitution, adopted by the three principals in the inclusive government, adopted as it is but the two MDCs want the people to contribute to the draft before it is adopted as Zimbabwe’s new constitution.

Zuma spokesperson Vincent Magwenya told reporters that an announcement on the progress of the talks would be made on Thursday.

“The group meeting will be there tomorrow morning. There may be a press conference in the afternoon,” said Magwenya.

The sources said Mugabe called an emergency meeting with his ministers late on Tuesday.

Only two weeks ago, Mugabe stripped MDC ministers of power, moving most responsibilities to his cronies.