Mbeki and Mugabe hold talks on Sudan conflictBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Sunday, April 29 2012 at 16:16
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki on Saturday evening held talks with Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe on the worsening conflict in Sudan.
Mr Mbeki chairs the African Union High Implementation Panel that is mediating between Sudan and South Sudan.
He was in Harare to attend a fund raising event for the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).
The former president who is credited with saving Zimbabwe from total collapse after a negotiating a power sharing deal said he also discussed the country’s troubled constitution making process.
“I briefed him (President Mugabe) on what we are doing in Sudan and South Sudan and he also updated me on the constitution-making process,” he told journalists after the meeting.
“We hadn’t had such a discussion for almost three years.
He would not give more details about the meeting or comment about political developments in Zimbabwe.
Mr Mbeki’s successor President Jacob Zuma took over as a mediator in the Zimbabwean conflict in 2009, a year after he brokered the power sharing agreement.
Four years ago, he was instrumental in structuring a deal that finally convinced President Mugabe to share power with his former opponents.
The coalition government, although hamstrung by unending conflicts, has managed to halt economic collapse and re-opened health and education centres.
Later on Saturday evening, the former African National Congress leader met business and political leader at Zimbabwe’s oldest university.
The UZ has embarked on an ambitious campaign to raise $70 million to rehabilitate its infrastructure.
On the night, the institution raised more than $2 million in donations and pledges.
“These funds will go towards meeting part of the UZ’s $70 million requirement for capital projects, which are outlined in the UZ’s fundraising handbook,” Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said.
“They comprise 20 specific initiatives including the development of the state-of-the-art geo-technology laboratories that process large volumes of earth observation data, establishment of a technology resource center and business advisory services, refurbishment of medical and other laboratories and construction of a female students’ hostel.”
UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said the institution had fallen on hard times hence the mission to rescue it.
“We have suspended geology, metallurgy departments due to the unavailability of lecturers and the mining engineering department is limping with no more than three lecturers,” he told state media recently.
Zimbabwe education institutions are struggling to recover from a decade of economic collapse that saw administrators and lecturers seeking greener pastures in neighbouring countries.
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