Zimbabwe could be headed for a general election after Robert Mugabe’s regime threatened its coalition partners claiming that any deadlock over the draft Constitution is a call for an immediate general election under the old Constitution.
President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team is in the country to try and diffuse a deadlock created by Zanu PF trying to re-write the draft constitution. Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo last night said his party was not going to compromise on what the party Politburo had audited and put in the draft.
Addressing journalists in Harare Gumbo said Zanu-PF was against taking both the Copac draft and the Zanu-PF amended version to the referendum. “Once a deadlock is declared, then elections will be inevitable. But if they are inclined to have a deadlock, so be it, we resort to the Lancaster House Constitution.”
Ms Lindiwe Zulu, a member of the facilitation team, confirmed yesterday’s meeting, but declined to give further details. She said they would first brief President Zuma.
“I can confirm that we had a joint meeting with the negotiators. I cannot, however, give you details before we brief the facilitator. You will appreciate that it is proper to first brief him,” he said.
On reports that the MDC formations wanted a deadlock declared, Ms Zulu said: “That is no longer news but how to deal with that is what is important.”
MDC-N negotiator Ms Priscilla-Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they would soon submit a report to President Mugabe informing him of their decision. “We will soon write to the President telling him that issues raised by the Zanu-PF draft are so fundamental as to warrant the invitation of a facilitator to come in.
“In our view, there is not even need for a meeting of the principals.” Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the only option under the circumstances would be to declare a deadlock. “It was Zanu-PF that said we had not responded to their draft for a deadlock to be declared, so we will soon respond to them,” she said.
MDC-T negotiator Mr Elton Mangoma confirmed the joint meeting, but declined to give details. “I have always said I do not talk on behalf of the party. I can only confirm that we had a joint meeting with the facilitators,” he said.