Key principals meeting over COPAC deadlock


ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe principals were scheduled to meet today Monday to break the impasse over the Copac draft Constitution.

President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube are scheduled to meet at 3pm at the Munhumutapa Building today to tryand resolve the deadlock over the Copac draft Constitution.

Tsvangirai has already launched a ‘vote yes’ campaign at a weekend rally. Tsvangirai and Ncube both refuse to further negotiate and urges Zanu PF to launch its vote no campaign if it is against the draft. The deadlock is now set to be referred to Southern African Development Community’s (Sadc) whose security troika is meeting early next month to break the deadlock.

The meeting yesterday was a last-ditch effort to narrow the differences before the Sadc meeting.

The defence, political and security troika of regional grouping Sadc, which is chaired by Tanzania, is convening a mini-summit at a yet to be advised location, after Tsvangirai and leader of the smaller MDC by
legislative representation, Ncube, declared a deadlock in the constitution reform process to the Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete two weeks ago.

The troika of the political, defence and security organ unveiled October plans for a special Zimbabwe summit after a crucial meeting in Dar es Salaam last week called to try to revive the moribund peace process in the DRC.

The troika delegation is expected to engage the Zimbabwe stakeholders in October to move foward the constitution refom process as directed by the Sadc summit held in Maputo, Mozambique in August. Kikwete will lead the two-day Zimbabwe summit in October, as Tanzania assumes the chair of the troika following the recent Sadc summit.

The team will seek to find a solution and iron out the sticking point, after Zanu PF rejected the Copac draft constitution. Zanu PF has made wide ranging changes to the draft constitution that in turn have been rejected by the two MDCs as tantamount to writing a new “Zanu PF Constitution.”

Mugabe gave his coalition partners Tsvangirai and Ncube the “Zanu PF draft” after the August 21 Cabinet meeting. Both MDCs refused to countenance further negotiations on the Copac draft saying the draft was signed by all party negotiators.

Zanu PF insists the COPAC draft can still be amended by the party principals, but the two MDC teams have already declared a deadlock and referred the matter to President Jacob Zuma as the Sadc facilitator and President Kikwete as chairperson of the troika.

The principals are yet to met to discuss the stand-off. The issue was scheduled to be discussed at the August 27 principals meeting at Munhumutapa Building but Mugabe was away at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.

Last week on Monday, Tsvangirai was also away in the US for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in North Carolina. There has been concern that the two principals Mugabe and Tsvangirai are not prioritising unlocking the deadlock and have been going on junkets leaving a festering political crisis back home.

The troika will have to look into that matter with urgency, as the southern African country is apparently rumbling amidst the political stalemate with rumours of an impending election under the old
constitutional order.

Kikwete reportedly told reporters after the closed door meeting in Dar that they will continue to support the Sadc mediator President Zuma to ensure Zimbabwe holds a free and fair election after completing the
reform process. Delegations from Namibia and Mozambique form part of the Sadc Troika Organ.

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