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Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Party Declares Deadlock in Talks

Published on Tuesday 26th January 2010 Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Party Declares Deadlock in Talks

THE Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has declared a "political logjam" in the inter-party talks and will refer the matter to South African President Jacob Zuma.

The party's spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday said they had "come to the end of our patience and the death of magnanimity" over Zanu PF's reluctance to conclude negotiations on outstanding issues.

"As MDC-T, we cannot accept any further delay or procrastination in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe who have been subjected to uncertainty and unnecessary anxiety over talks about talks," Chamisa said.

"We have guarantors to this agreement, and the logical conclusion is for them to help us unlock this political logjam," Chamisa said.

Chamisa's comments followed Friday's meeting of the party's standing committee to assess progress on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

At the meeting, MDC-T lead negotiator Tendai Biti reportedly briefed senior party members of the lack of progress in the talks.

"The preliminary report we have received is not encouraging. It seems we are where we were in February last year," said a senior member of the MDC-T.

The official however said the meeting resolved to seek Zuma's intervention after endorsement of that resolution by the party's National Executive and National Council.

The negotiators briefly met on Wednesday, but adjourned the talks to February 8.

Sources said Wednesday's meeting was all about "politicking and bickering" on all outstanding but particularly on the issue of sanctions.

Although the official position is that the negotiations could not proceed because one of the Zanu PF negotiators, Nicholas Goche was not present, sources said the major problem was the "unusually intransigent attitude on the part of Zanu PF".

"At the last meeting, the Zanu PF negotiators were co-operative and willing to make concessions, but on Wednesday the attitude had changed for the worse.

"They said whatever resolutions would be made should take into cognisance resolutions of the party's congress in December."

Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Goche could not be reached for comment.

It is however understood a number of items on the agenda have been cleared, and the negotiators were trying to revive discussion on the contentious issues of appointments of senior government officials.

At the last meeting, the negotiators came up with different proposals on the outstanding issues, and last week's meeting was meant to find common ground. But it left them further apart.

Among other things, the Zanu PF congress resolved that "there should be no movement on the concerns of the MDC formations without corresponding and simultaneous redress of Zanu PF's concerns such as the illegal Western sanctions".

The congress also resolved that "the Zanu PF negotiators should not countenance any introduction or inclusion in the ongoing inter-party dialogue of provisions agreements, which seek to reverse or undermine the gains of the liberation struggle".

The MDC-T blames the impasse on Zanu PF's failure to implement in full the GPA it signed with the two MDC formations in September 2008.

The party also objects to President Robert Mugabe's unilateral re-appointment of central bank governor Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana as Attorney-General.

Other sticky issues include the appointment of governors and the refusal by Mugabe to swear in MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy Agriculture Minister.

On the other hand, Zanu PF has insisted that the MDC must call for the removal of targeted sanctions imposed on Mugabe's inner circle before it addresses the other outstanding issues.

But the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mark Canning on Friday said: "As the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, made clear in Parliament on January 19, the most important factor influencing the United Kingdom's views on lifting EU restrictive measures will be evidence of actual change and reform on the ground in Zimbabwe."

"These are not MDC-T measures."

Canning was clarifying an earlier statement by Miliband who was quoted as saying his country would be guided by what the MDC-T recommends when it comes to lifting of sanctions.

EU imposed sanctions 203 key Zanu PF figures allegedly involved in human rights abuses before the GNU, 40 companies associated with these individuals and their sources of finance.

Analysts say the MDC-T's appeal to Zuma might be dented by Tsvangirai's comments that the South African President cannot push for elections in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said elections would only be defined by the GPA.

This was after Zuma had suggested that Zimbabwe hold elections next year.

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