Zimbabwe: SA's Mbeki to Hold Yet Another Emergency Meeting
Posted to the web 3 September 2008
Alex Bell. South African President Thabo Mbeki is reportedly set to return to Harare this week in yet another attempt to break the deadlock in Zimbabwe's power sharing talks. The talks have remained stalled over the issue of who of the country's political rivals will hold the majority of power. ZANU PF has said it will not cede MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai more power than has been apportioned to him as the Prime Minister in a deal endorsed by the Southern African Development Community. The deal, that Tsvangirai refused to sign, would see Robert Mugabe hold onto the majority of power while Tsvangirai would become a purely ceremonial Prime Minister. The negotiators from ZANU PF and the MDC factions led by Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara respectively, were in South Africa last week in an effort to break the political impasse but returned to Zimbabwe no closer to a deal agreed upon by all parties. South Africa's Mbeki is now reportedly heading back to Harare either on Thursday or Friday to meet the party leaders in his role as SADC appointed facilitator, and it's understood he will try to work out either a power-sharing deal, an exit plan for Mugabe, or whether to publicly declare the talks a failure. Political analyst Dr John Makumbe told Newsreel on Wednesday it is unlikely that Mbeki will declare the talks a failure. He also predicted that the talks will remain deadlocked while Mbeki goes about the 'futile exercise' of bringing the SADC endorsed deal to the table, and added that a 'political compromise' is beyond Mbeki's capabilities as a mediator. Makumbe explained that the deadlock is 'politically unhealthy' and requires a higher power such as the African Union to intervene. The MDC has told Newsreel it has not received official word from South African authorities about whether Mbeki will meet Tsvangirai or the other political leaders. At the same time Tsvangirai told South Africa's Talk Radio 702 that the talks had deadlocked and he 'was not aware of plans' for negotiations to resume soon.