Hitches in Zimbabwe unity govt – Zuma
16 August 2012, 09:38
Harare - South African President Jacob Zuma
on Wednesday conceded challenges in Zimbabwe's unity government after
meeting with leaders of the three main party leaders, days before a
summit of regional mediator the SADC.
"I think there is progress
that has been made but there are some hitches here and there," Zuma told
reporters after he was briefed on reforms in talks with President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
"The issues are no longer as major as they used to be," he said, after his first visit since 2010 to the country.
years of stalling, Zimbabwe last month finished a draft constitution
that could send voters to a referendum by the end of the year, following
deadly 2008 polls.
But Mugabe's Zanu-PF has changed some parts of the draft constitution, he told reporters without specifying.
"We've considered the draft and we've made amendments to the draft," he said.
"We'll meet as principals to exchange our ideas," he said about the unity government leaders.
The "hitches" referred to disagreements on the draft master law, Tsvangirai said after meeting with Zuma.
"It's mainly around the constitution," he said.
Intense regional pressure
however, said some of the disagreements would be discussed at the
15-nation Southern African Development Community summit in Maputo on
"It has been decided that this matter will be revisited at the summit," he said.
Mugabe, however, didn't "see any controversial issues" going into the summit.
referendum on the law would be the first balloting since a 2008
presidential run-off that long-ruling Mugabe won - after his arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the race in hopes of ending attacks that left more than 200 of his supporters dead.
intense regional pressure, they formed a unity government tasked with
drafting a new constitution and enshrining greater political freedoms -
with the ultimate goal of new elections.
Zuma's visit came
"against a background of tremendous progress made in terms of the
constitution-making process and in respect of the consolidation of peace
in the country," Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba told AFP before
He also met with Welshman Ncube, who heads a faction of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and whose son is married to one of Zuma's daughters.
work of the compromise government has been characterised by frequent
haggling over government posts and counter-accusations of violence.
The parties have both threatened to pull out of the power-sharing government.
Early this year, Mugabe threatened to reject Zuma as negotiator if he showed any bias in his mediation.
Zuma will want to shepherd Zimbabwe toward its referendum, which if held later this year could lead to elections in 2013.
draft constitution would rein in presidential powers while bolstering
those of parliament. It would also set down a presidential term limit of
10 years and strip away the president's immunity from prosecution after
The MDC has endorsed the draft charter as the
best basic law in the country's history, adding that it would be a lost
chance if the proposed constitution is rejected.
has said it wants parts of the constitution amended before it is passed
- particularly on issues of who can receive citizenship and how
provincial governors are appointed.