President Mugabe Disagrees With Jacob Zuma on New Draft Constitution

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

South African President Jacob Zuma says there are ‘hitches’ in Zimbabwe’s inclusive government although progress has been in the implementation of a power sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and his opponents.

Zuma made the assessment after meeting Mugabe and his coalition partners – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman Ncube- in Harare on Wednesday evening.

He used the meeting to prepare a briefing for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Maputo, Mozambique between Friday and Saturday.

Zuma’s statements would set the tone for the summit where Zimbabwe’s preparations for fresh elections are set to top the agenda.

“I think from what I have gathered, there has been some movement forward, although there are some hitches here and there, but they are not as major as they used to be,”  he said.

“I will be reporting to SADC where the Troika is meeting (Thursday) and then report to the SADC summit.”

Zimbabwe’s three governing parties – Zanu PF and the two MDC formations – have differed on the new draft constitution.

But Mugabe told journalists that he was not aware of the hitches and expected a fruitful summit, which is a crucial step before the next elections are held.

“Maybe Zuma was referring to the constitutional amendments.  We are an enlightened party,” Mugabe told journalists after the meeting.  “We do not just accept things as conclusive.”

Zanu PF wants a clause whittling down the president’s powers thrown out and would be meeting on Thursday finalise its position on the constitution making process.

According to Mugabe, the draft constitution would soon be handed to parliament for further discussions and possible amendments before it goes to a referendum.

Zuma was appointed to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis in 2009 after his predecessor Thabo Mbeki brokered the power sharing agreement a year earlier.

Mugabe had won a disputed poll where Tsvangirai was forced to drop out of a run-off poll.