Informed sources said after their meeting on June 8, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara wrote to South African President Jacob Zuma, the Sadc facilitator on inter-party negotiations, outlining areas of agreement and disagreement.
While the parties themselves initially claimed the principals made no progress in their discussion of the negotiators’ report, it has now emerged that the leaders actually took dramatic steps forward by agreeing on a raft of issues on the talks agenda which had remained unresolved.
Mutambara, leader of MDC-M, last night confirmed that the principals wrote a letter to Zuma, but refused to discuss the contents of the document.
“I can confirm we wrote to President Zuma on June 10 but as you know I cannot discuss the contents and details of that communication with the media,” Mutambara said. “Those communications are confidential and we cannot talk about them in public or in the media.”
Zuma this week sent his special envoy Mac Maharaj to Harare to meet with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara in a bid to finalise the remaining
issues ahead of the Sadc summit in Windhoek on August 16-17. Maharaj met the three principals on Wednesday. Zuma himself may come to Harare before the Sadc meeting to make a final push.
There was a long list of items on the agenda of the last round of talks. The issues included the swearing-in of Roy Bennett, appointment of provincial governors, appointment of Johannes Tomana as Attorney-General and Gideon Gono as Reserve Bank governor, sanctions, media subjects on “pirate” radio stations, hate speech and bias, rule of law, review of ministerial allocations, land matters to do with auditing of the reform programme, tenure systems and compensation, electoral vacancies, chairing of cabinet and council of ministers, ministerial mandates, transport arrangements for principals, staff and security for principals, vote and budget, communication among principals, security for deputy prime ministers, security for ministers, parallel government, external interference, national economic council, constitutional commissions, national heroes, national security issues, security sector reform, compliance with the National Security Council Act, respect for national institutions and events, role and reform of the public and private media, role of and position of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media and Information, constitutional amendment No 19, allocation of ambassadors, interference in the freedoms of assembly and association, role and funding of NGOs, multi-trust donor fund, politicisation of humanitarian assistance, selective funding of elements/ministries by donors and amendments to the Electoral Act.
After negotiators finished their talks in April, which had started in November last year, principals met in June and agreed on a series of issues except for three.