ZIMBABWE – SADC-APPOINTED facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team yesterday challenged principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to ensure a free political environment this year to ensure Zimbabwe becomes “a normal society again”.
In an interview with NewsDay, the facilitation team spokesperson Lindiwe Zulu said Zuma remained committed to resolving the political impasse in Zimbabwe and hoped that the region would continue supporting them ahead of crucial elections later this year.
“We are taking a short break, but the issues are never out of sight and we hope this year will be better and all the parties will have a new resolve on implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and bring Zimbabwe back to normalcy so that people can go about their day-to-day lives in a normal way,” Zulu said.
“On the overall, all we want (is) to go back to normalcy. We have a strong vigour to get Zimbabwe to have a normal life like the other countries in the region and hopefully the whole region will assist Zimbabwe.”
Zuma has shot down President Robert Mugabe’s previous attempts to force an election before implementation of key electoral reforms. Other principals are MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-M Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has, however, recognised MDC leader Welshman Ncube as a principal since his fallout with Mutambara over leadership of the party. Zuma, who recently won re-election as leader of the African National Congress, was tasked by Sadc to ensure peaceful implementation of the GPA and reforms in the country ahead of elections.
Zimbabwe is expected to conclude the constitution-making process in the first quarter of this year and then conduct a referendum before holding harmonised elections.
Classified as one of the “hotspots” in the region and in need of Sadc intervention to end the impasse, Zimbabwe plummeted into a near war zone in 2008 following Mugabe’s narrow defeat by Tsvangirai leading the regional bloc to intervene. The intervention led to the formation of a coalition government.
In his end-of-year message, Tsvangirai said: “The year ahead is replete with challenges for Zimbabwe: the conclusion of the constitution-making process; the national referendum; a watershed election and the hosting of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) conference.
“As leaders, we have publicly pronounced our desire for peace and security in the final stages of this unfolding process in our country. I hope we can walk the talk and ensure that we match our words with concrete action.”
Mugabe, in an interview with a local weekly before he flew to the Far East for his annual vacation last week, said the new year should guarantee peace in the country.
“We should find ways of achieving them (free and fair elections) and that then would mark the totality of these achievements and progress by our own nation.” NewsDay