President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara are scheduled to convene a meeting to discuss the outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The meeting is expected to be attended by the Sadc facilitation team in preparation of South African President Jacob Zuma’s visit. Political analyst Charles Mangongera said Zanu PF had hardened its position as it prepares for its annual conference.
He said it was unlikely to agree on anything with the facilitation team. “We will see them becoming more and more recalcitrant and intransigent. I do not see them capitulating on any of the outstanding issues as Mugabe will want to demonstrate resoluteness to his followers,” said Mangongera.
“At any rate, both Zanu PF and the MDC seem to have agreed on narrowing reforms to issues around the electoral management framework rather than a holistic reform process.”
He believes Zanu PF now has an upper hand in the negotiations compared to the two MDC formations. Professor Lovemore Madhuku concurred with Mangongera adding that only “fools” would expect anything positive to come out of the meeting with Zuma’s facilitation team.
“Nothing will come out of this meeting. (Morgan) Tsvangirai is now weaker than ever before. Zanu PF is now in a stronger position than the MDC and those outstanding issues have been overtaken by events,” said Madhuku.
“These meetings have become talk shows, no one in their right state of mind would expect Zuma to succeed, looking at his moral authority and given he can’t even control his own party.”
Another political analyst, who requested anonymity, said the only positive development expected from the meeting was that they will denounce the recent reported incidences of political violence.
The analyst said Zuma’s team must urge for a quick finalisation of the new constitution. “It will be important though for Zuma’s team to take note of the violence and make a firm statement that Sadc will not tolerate more of the same,” he said.
“Their biggest contribution could be to urge the quick conclusion of the constitutional process. It is important that any future election be held under a new constitution and Zuma’s team could add impetus to the current drafting process,” said the analyst.
The MDC-T has said, without addressing issues such as security sector reforms, re-staffing of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) and state sponsored violence, the country would not have free and fair elections.
Disabled people denounce presidential scholarship
PEOPLE with disabilities have claimed that they were being excluded from the Presidential Scholarship because of their condition. Not even one of them has benefitted from it since its inception.
Addressing journalists at a workshop in Mutare recently, National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (Nascoh) executive director, Farai Mukuta, bemoaned the trend, saying it was retrogressive.
“No disabled person has benefitted from the Presidential Scholarship. The able-bodied people, even without proper qualifications, are benefitting,” said Mukuta.
Mukuta said the government must consider disabled people in setting its development goals. “We want to have a strategy to ensure that disabled people are included in national planning. We challenge you journalists to empower us,” said Mukuta.
Mukuta’s remarks were echoed by several other participants at the workshop, who appealed to the governor of Manicaland, Christopher Mushowe, to take this complaint to President Robert Mugabe.
Mushowe, who is patron of the Presidential Scholarship, was represented by a senior official from his office. However, Mushowe denied discriminating against those who are disabled, saying the allegations were unfounded and malicious.
“The scholarship programme does not discriminate,” said Mushowe. “It does not also look at one’s political affiliation. We select children from every district across the country. What people must understand is that we cannot accommodate everyone at once.”
Mushowe said they would this year consider only 500 children due to shortage of funds. The programme used to offer scholarships to between 1 000 and 2 000 students.
Mukuta said his organisation was pushing for a significant representation of the disabled people into the country’s policy-making positions.
It is estimated that people with disabilities constitute 10% of the country’s population.