NEGOTIATORS of the three main political parties in the inclusive government have been meeting to try to break the stalemate that is threatening to completely collapse the already shaky Global Political Agreement, writes Violet Gonda for SW Radio Africa.

On Thursday the state controlled Herald newspaper quoted one of the negotiators, Professor Welshman Ncube from the MDC-M, saying the group had been discussing the same issues – "the appointment of Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General, sanctions and pirate radio stations."

The external radio stations, London based SW Radio Africa and Voice of America's Studio 7, are forced to broadcast from exile because there is no free media in Zimbabwe and independent radio is not allowed. The only broadcaster is ZBC, which is 100% controlled by the State.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe said instead of talking about establishing democratic reforms, the politicians are as usual wasting time while the country is standing still. The MDC has also come under fire for agreeing to the ZANU PF demands to shut down private radio stations.

Makumbe said: "It is obvious that the MDC will never be able to stop the external radio stations – which are operated by Zimbabweans – from operating because they didn't set them up in the first place."

"They are not financing them, they are not funding them and they are not programming them. They have no authority whatsoever over these radios."

Professor Makumbe said ZANU PF is using the sanctions and radio stations issues as a way of stalling the implementation of the GPA and also as a way of denying the MDC their demands, including the swearing in of provincial governors.

He said ZANU PF should implement the outstanding issues first, if it wants western countries to remove 'sanctions' and also open up the air waves to allow other players in. While the politicians are concentrating on shutting down external broadcasters, they have failed to put the Media Commission in place, even though interviews for the commissioners have already been done.

Furthermore, the political analyst pointed out that the ZBC is still broadcasting in a partisan manner in favour of ZANU PF and denigrating the MDC and that there is still a lot of hate speech. Makumbe said the government is the one 'imposing sanctions' by forcing Zimbabwean radio stations to operate from outside.

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