And after all of it, still there is no resolution in the crisis in Zimbabwe. The political parties in Zimbabwe were meant to sit down and reach an agreement with South Africa’s President, Thabo Mbeki, mediating the talks. They sat, they talked, they took a break and then talked some more, and after all that, there was still no agreement! So what actually were they talking about and why have they not signed an agreement? Well, your guess is as good as mine as no one has officially come out and said what the ‘sticky’ points are. So all we can do now is speculate on what actually did take place over the last couple of days at the Rainbow Towers in Harare where the talks were being held.
Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday (9 August) and was meant to leave on Sunday. I thought he was being a bit too optimistic about this as there was no way it was going to be that quick. President Mbeki only managed to leave Harare today (Wednesday 13 August) and still no deal had been signed. Mbeki headed to Angola where he met up with the Angola president to give him an update on the Zimbabwe situation. I am sure he was told by Mbeki what the ‘stick point’ is. “We are indeed convinced that it is possible to conclude these negoatiations quite quickly,” Mbeki told reporters. Mbeki said Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition were working for an “all-inclusive” government. Top leadership positions were still under discussion”, he said.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe opposition faction leader Arthur Mutambara said today that the country’s political rivals had “agreement on everything except on one aspect”.
“Morgan Tsvangirai has requested time to reflect and consult,” Mutambara told reporters. “Three times he agreed to this one aspect and three times he changed his mind.”
What is this one aspect that seems to be holding everything up? It surely has to be something major that Tsvangirai is not willing to accept. My guess is that it has to do with how much power Mugabe will have in a government of national unity. It is most likely that during all these talks, the offer on the table could be that Mugabe will remain as president and Tsvangirai will be prime minister with Mutambara as his deputy BUT Mugabe will still hold ‘executive’ powers. This is only speculation and I could easily be wrong. Another ‘sticky point’ could lie in who would control the army. The army plays a critical party in any country and whoever has control over it holds ultimate power at the end of the day.
Now that Tsvangirai has asked for some more time to think things through with his party, how long is he going to be given as reports today in Zimbabwe are already saying that President Robert Mugabe is preparing to form Zimbabwe’s next government, with or without his main political rival who is balking at a power-sharing deal. Now surely they must give Tsvangirai some time for him to mull over the offer on the table. Tsvangirai is not obviously happy about the offer and one can not be forced to accept an offer they are not happy about.
Through all of this, Thabo Mbeki has been commended for his efforts over the last couple of days and Mbeki’s wish is for a deal to be signed in Zimbabwe before the SADC meeting this coming weekend where SADC expects a report from Mbeki about the progress or lack of it in Zimbabwe. Maybe then we will know what actually did take place in these talks and what this one ‘stick point’ is.