Well placed sources confirmed to Radio VOP at the weekend that Zuma’s plan was already at an advanced stage. He will kickstart it by proposing to the coalition partners to “park” some of the outstanding issues, and concentrate on those that would affect the holding of elections.
On Friday, Zuma told a South African radio station that he hoped the Zimbabwean would “open up and look at the issues from all angles”.
“(Are these issues) so fundamental that we cannot move without resolving them? Can we park them and proceed?” said Zuma in an interview with SAFM in Johannesburg.
Sources in South Africa and Zimbabwe confirmed that Zuma is now “so convinced that the only way out is an election, which should be held in 2011” as agreed when the inclusive government was formed. Among other things, Zuma will propose that the parties should implement only those issues that will not affect the holding of elections. Other issues like the appointment of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana will be suspended until after the elections.
“There has been no formal communication of this position, but when Zuma’s team comes anytime after the talks resume on January 17, they will present this proposal alongside other ideas to the negotiating teams,” said the source.
Zuma took over the facilitation in the Zimbabwean crisis late last year following the partial disengagement from the inclusive government by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T formation. After a SADC summit in Maputo at the beginning of November, the parties were ordered back to the negotiating table, and the talks were supposed to be completed by December 5. Continuous bickering and subsequent postponements however saw the negotiations spilling into the New Year. This, according to our source, did not go down well with Zuma and other SADC leaders, who now believe elections are the only way out.
“What President Zuma will simply do is propose that all those issues that won’t affect the holding of elections should be set aside, so that the inclusive government concentrates on implementing the necessary reforms to create a conducive environment for elections,” added the source.
Addressing a press conference in Harare on Friday, MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, said they would not budge on their demand for a resolution of the outstanding issues.
“I am the least qualified to comment on what President Zuma says, but we would want all issues resolved, as they are fundamental in our view,” said Chamisa.
“It is our view that these negotiations will bring all these issues to finality so that we are able to move…The talks are simply about punctuating our signatures with action, our colleagues (Zanu PF) are trying to run away from their signatures.”
The global political agreement (GPA) states that new elections have to be held once constitutional reforms are complete. But the process to write a new constitution has been dragging since July last year. A number of crucial deadlines related to the process have already been missed.
The new constitution also have to be in place before elections are held.