SA mediation team waste our time…again
By Tererai Karimakwenda
Representatives from the three main political parties briefed the mediation team of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma in Harare on Wednesday, about the continuing violence and conditions necessary to hold free and fair elections.
The team was also due to meet with Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but, as always, no information was made available to the press before the team headed back to South Africa.
Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu who heads the mediation team, has in the past told SW Radio Africa that the team needs to report back to Zuma first, before informing the press. But long suffering Zimbabweans are now used to the fact that they are being ignored in Zimbabwe’s political process.
Luke Zunga, from the Global Zimbabwe Forum in South Africa, criticized the media blackout, saying that it is normal protocol to inform the stakeholders after important meetings or negotiations.
“The so-called inclusive government has shown no interest in briefing Zimbabweans,” said Zunga on SW Radio Africa’s program, Crisis Analysis. He added that Zimbabweans who are struggling daily have a need to know about issues that affect their lives.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the MDC-T, on Thursday said the people are the stakeholders and parties should not create a “Berlin Wall” regarding information.
Chamisa confirmed that their representatives had met with Zuma’s team on Wednesday, and told them their “perspectives and preferred options” regarding ZANU PF violence, the continued arrests and elections. But he would not be drawn into explaining the mediation team’s reaction: “We placed the issues squarely at their feet and what they do with it is up to them.”
MDC-N spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube, gave SW Radio Africa a broad description of what the meetings focused on. “A lot of horse trading goes on, regarding the issues, which I think people should not be bothered about, until there is a final result,” Dube said. He explained that the GPA itself is the roadmap for elections and the mediation is to “undo the critical areas stopping free and fair elections from taking place”.
But Zunga criticized the negotiations, saying the numerous trips between South Africa and Zimbabwe are pointless because the GPA already included a roadmap for elections. He said if the so-called unity government implemented what they agreed to, an environment conducive to free and fair elections would emerge as a result.
Recently there has been an upsurge in violence and numerous arrests of MDC officials and supporters, with police and the army being used to harass and intimidate innocent civilians. Thousands of people have been displaced.
President Zuma last week commented on the ongoing violence, saying it was unacceptable. But he did not crticise ZANU PF or say anything about the many documented reports that show that the police remain partisan, arresting MDC members only, while ZANU PF thugs unleashed violence with impunity.
Zunga said the current setup means that the fate of Zimbabweans is in South Africa’s hands, particularly the team that reports to President Zuma. “But unfortunately South Africa is playing a game to sustain the political life of Robert Mugabe.” SW Radio Africa