Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dialogue is the only solution for Zimbabwe crisis

Dialogue is the only solution for Zimbabwe crisis
By David Masango
Date: 05 Apr 2007

Pretoria - South Africa's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs has reiterated the country's stance of constructive dialogue between the parties concerned, as the only solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Mr Pahad acknowledged progress already being made to get the government, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other relevant parties to engage in talks.

President Thabo Mbeki has been mandated by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders to facilitate dialogue between the government and opposition in Zimbabwe. The decision was taken at a meeting of the SADC Double Troika and an Extraordinary SADC Summit in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in late March. A meeting was convened Wednesday, between a South African delegation and the two secretary-generals of the MDC who are in the country.

"The two secretary-generals will produce a discussion document on the MDC's position, on the basis President Mbeki will engage the Zimbabwean government on the recommendations from the MDC. "President Mbeki will have to work out his own roadmap on how he wishes to fulfill his mandate to create the climate conducive for the two parties to meet to deal with the issues raised by the factions of the MDC," Deputy Minister Pahad said.

Mr Mbeki would also report back to the SADC Troika on the progress. In addition to Mr Mbeki's efforts, the SADC leaders mandated the executive secretary to undertake a study of the situation in Zimbabwe and propose measures on how the region could assist the country with its economic recovery.

They also encouraged diplomatic contacts that would assist with the resolution of the conflict. "The summit reiterated the appeal to Britain to honour its compensation obligations with regards to land reform made at the Lancaster House and called for the lifting of all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe," said Mr Pahad. The deputy minister noted the meeting of the ruling Zanu-PF Central Committee last week, which he said took important decisions.

These include that:

* President Robert Mugabe will be its presidential candidate for the 2008 presidential elections;
* Parliamentary elections will be held concurrently with the presidential election and that there is no need for a constitutional amendment as the current constitution allows the President is to bring parliamentary elections forward; and that
* The Presidential term will be reduced from six to five years and this will necessitate a constitutional amendment.

Mr Pahad explained that following decisions by the Zanu-PF Central Committee, the SADC and the international community had to intensify efforts to ensure that the necessary climate and conditions were created to ensure free and fair elections. "To ensure that the necessary climate is created, all Zimbabweans must act with restraint and within the rule of law. "Decisive action must be taken against those that are carrying out sabotage activities and Zimbabweans must continue to respect the independence and integrity of the justice system," he emphasised.

The deputy minister stressed that South Africa would not support any regime change in Zimbabwe as a means of resolving the political and economic crisis there. - BuaNews

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