The struggle to find a solution to our problems grinds on
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa spent all day yesterday, Sunday, in a Harare hotel, shuttling between our ageing yet persistent President, Robert Mugabe, and the formidable presence of the man already elected to take charge of the country, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC. But as darkness came, no new agreement seemed likely.
Some observers have predicted an early end to the stalemate, with the parties sharing power in a transitional government. This is based on the theory that Mugabe would accept the post of ceremonial president, with few if any real powers, while Tsvangirai would become executive prime minister of a multi-party cabinet.
Others deride such hopes, pointing out that Mugabe will never agree to any real lessening of his powers, partly for the sake of his own pride, and partly because the military and police junta that is currently backing him would refuse to go along with such an arrangement.
On this point, some have suggested the creation of two posts of deputy prime minister, under Tsvangirai, one to be filled by a Zanu-PF member, and one by an MDC figure. The military would then remain under the control of Zanu-PF, while the MDC would have responsibility for the police.
Again, some see this as a dream solution; others as a recipe for civil war.
But the man most under pressure at this point is the mediator himself, Thabo Mbeki. Already the subject of much international criticism regarding Zimbabwe, he needs to produce some sort of outcome ahead of the mid-August summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADEC).