World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Zimbabwe Talks: MDC Holds Out For 2nd Mediator

By Delia Robertson
17 July 2008

Zimbabwe's Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Holds Out for Second Mediator in Talks

Morgan Tsvangirai, the founding president of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has put on hold a preliminary agreement that would pave the way for formal talks with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Morgan Tsvangirai is holding out for the appointment of a second mediator appointed by the African Union to work alongside South African President Thabo Mbeki who is acting as mediator during formal negotiations with Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF. Mr. Mbeki was last year mandated by the Southern African Development Community to mediate talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF.

An African diplomat close to the preparatory talks told VOA that Tsvangirai believes that the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, promised to appoint a second mediator. He says Tsvangirai expects this appointment to be announced following a meeting Friday between Ping and Mr. Mbeki in Pretoria.

But the African diplomat tells VOA that the African Union has made no such commitment, that the decision of the AU summit last month to endorse the mediation of Mr.. Mbeki as mandated by the Southern Africa Development Community, still stands.

The preparatory talks are expected to produce a preliminary agreement which will govern formal negotiations between both factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF.

In addition the agreement is expected to include, at Tsvangirai's request, an interim commitment on the cessation of violence during formal talks. Despite the fact that violent attacks against opposition supporters have decreased, they still occur. Just this week a large funeral was held for an MDC driver who was brutally tortured before being killed.

When formal talks get under way they are likely to focus on the establishment of a transitional Government of National Unity and the positions in that government of opposition leaders, including Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC holds the view that Tsvangirai should head any transitional government, while President Mugabe wants the MDC to recognize his re-election as president of Zimbabwe in a controversial election last month which was boycotted by the MDC.

Analysts say that any formal agreements will have to win the support of the security establishment in Zimbabwe, which is widely believed to be the power behind Mr. Mugabe.

Independent analyst Chris Maroleng tells VOA the mediator will have to find a way to reassure this group that they will not be held accountable for their actions by a future transitional government.

"I believe it is the insecurity that is felt by these elements in the state security apparatus that has created a behavior in them which makes them active spoilers when faced with the prospects of change. Because they might feel that the cost involved in a transition would result in a loss of status, a loss of access, and indeed possible prosecution if a transition is to occur," said Maroleng.

It is possible that if, following his meeting with Mr. Mbeki, the African Union's Jean Ping is able to reassure Morgan Tsvangirai that Mr. Mbeki can manage the mediaiton on his own, the signing of the preliminary agreement could take place within days. If so, formal talks may get under way as early as next week.


Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>