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e hënë, 25 qershor 2007

ZANU-PF IN-FIGHTING OVER-SHADOWS TALKS!!

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Zanu-PF rift sidelines talks
Mail and Guardian reporter
24 June 2007 11:59
Zimbabwe's opposition leaders returned to their supporters eager to report some progress after their first direct talks with the ruling Zanu-PF recently, but found fresh evidence of widespread concern that infighting in the ruling party poses a threat to dialogue.

The first round of formal talks between Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which took place in South Africa, has been overshadowed by the story of how four travel agents, a suspected visa scammer and a 20-year-old serviceman allegedly planned a military coup to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

The case grabbed headlines in the past week, but sceptics said the alleged plot is probably linked to deepening rivalries within Mugabe's party over his succession, which some also see as an obstacle to the mediation efforts.

Zanu-PF and the MDC have agreed not to make public comments on the talks, but a senior official said this week that "they were talks about the talks and they were held in a good spirit".

It had been hoped that the parties would agree on an agenda for more formal dialogue, including a historic meeting between Mugabe and opposition leaders. However, officials involved in the talks said there was no conclusive agreement on an agenda, with the Zanu-PF delegation of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche asking for an adjournment to consult their party.

This came after a proposal had been made to return to the terms of an earlier negotiation process that was aborted in 2004. Then, South Africa and a representative of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo had seen their push for formal talks collapse, but only after key sections of a draft for a new constitution had been agreed between the ruling party and the MDC.

At the latest talks, the opposition, and reportedly also South Africa, proposed a return to that draft as a possible basis for further talks. Zanu-PF is said to have declined immediately to back the proposal. A new round of talks is expected early in July.

Officials said South African mediators were anxious for the dialogue to be moved forward quickly so that significant progress would be made by the time SADC heads of state meet at a summit in Zambia in August.

President Thabo Mbeki has already pledged to report some progress to SADC by the end of June.

But the MDC fears that Zanu-PF, already unenthusiastic about dialogue, is increasingly distracted by continuing internal feuding, as played out in the courts this week.

Charles Warara, a lawyer representing the alleged coup plotters, said this week there had been more arrests and that his clients had been tortured in custody. The alleged mastermind of the coup, Albert Matapo, a travel agent who has previously been investigated in Britain on suspicion of running a fake documents scam, had his lawyer announce that he was a "victim of internal Zanu-PF politics".

Matapo said he had "never met [Emmerson] Mnangagwa, never spoken to him and had seen him only on TV". Mnangagwa, who has been implicated in the alleged plot, described the affair as "stupid".

Unlike the opposition, Zanu-PF has managed to avoid a complete split despite bitter rivalries between groups vying for power. But a report by the ruling party's own security department reveals the anxiety within Zanu-PF over the long-term impact of the factional fighting.

"The succession debate has worsened factional fighting, as the various camps champion the aspirations of some senior members of the party who aim to lead Zanu-PF in future. These aspirants have remained largely inactive, but continue to instigate counterproductive activities, which are motivated by their selfish and leadership ambitions," Zanu-PF's security branch said in a report to the party's central committee.

A report by South Africa's department of foreign affairs, recently discussed in Parliament, said "the ongoing infighting within Zanu-PF, if not contained, would pose challenges for mediation efforts … Energy within the party would be consumed in efforts to come out on top in the succession battle."


 
 

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