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Zimbabwe: Mugabe and Tsvangirai prepare for confrontation in Maputo
Zimbabwe’s long time ruler President Mugabe and his political rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will attend Thursday’s regional summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in a bid to thrash out disputes undermining the Harare inclusive government.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) troika summit in Maputo will show if regional leaders are prepared to take a firmer stance on Zimbabwe. In the past Sadc leaders have skirted the issue and deferred it to the troika.

In the run-up to the Maputo summit, Mugabe and Tsvangirai met with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, who is Sadc’s chairman. Sources said Mugabe and Kabila’s meeting was "cold" by previous standards. Mugabe has openly suggested the Sadc summit and other related meetings were unnecessary because Zimbabwe’s issues would be resolved internally.

"President Kabila, as Sadc chairman, will listen to all sides in the inclusive government, the marks of progress we have made and the handicaps we have encountered," Mugabe said. "He will, however, know that we are grown-ups and intelligent people who know that we went into the agreement knowing that there will be handicaps to be met and we need to sit down and discuss the problems."

ZANU Negotiators present

ZANU PF deputy spokesman Ephraim Masawi said Mugabe, the party’s first secretary, was due to leave late Wednesday. “His Excellency is travelling with the ZANU PF negotiators. They are all supposed to be there,” said Masawi. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche are ZANU PF’s chief negotiators.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman James Maridadi said; “The Prime Minister and his entourage are already in Johannesburg on their way to Mozambique.” Tsvangirai travelled with two chief negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma. “Our case is a simple one, that the GPA must be fully implemented all its chapters, verse, comas and full stops,” said the premiers spokesperson.

An official in the information department of Mutambara’s MDC-M party, Maxwell Zimuto confirmed that the Deputy Prime Minister and his negotiators, among them Welshman Ncube, also left for Maputo today. “All of them left today for Maputo,” said Zimuto.

The right thing

Biti, writing on Prime Minister’s Newsletter said MDC is expecting “nothing short of doing the right thing"

"To do the right thing is to ensure that Zimbabwean political parties now comply fully with the provisions of the SADC Communiqué of 27 January 2009 and the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that was executed and signed on 15 September 2008. We cannot spend nine months still arrested by the same issues. We need to move forward and if this GPA is to have credibility and legitimacy those issues have to be liquidated."

Biti who is minister of Finance said his party’s announcement to boycott the unity government had dampened investor confidence but added that although they were not attending cabinet meetings work was continuing.

He was currently in the process of crafting the 2010 budget but said he was aware he will not be in a position to present it if the politcal impasse is not solved.

Analysts say if the Troika summit fails to break the impasse, the matter may have to be referred to a full summit of SADC heads of state which would mean further delays to bringing to an end the Zimbabwe crisis.


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