Tsvangirai takes Zim crisis to SADC

2009-10-20 12:43

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who last week severed ties with

President Robert Mugabe over unresolved disputes in Zimbabwe’s inclusive

government, has embarked on a regional diplomatic offensive to seek support from

regional leaders.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson James Maridadi confirmed this week that

the prime minister would be travelling to meet with leaders of the Southern

Africa Development Community (SADC) but would not give details of his itinerary.

“Will not go into detail save to confirm the prime minister will be

meeting with SADC leaders over the latest crisis in government. The prime

minister is eager to have this impasse resolved as quickly as possible to enable

the country to return to its recovery path,” Maridadi said.

A source from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

party however confided that the prime minister was likely to fly to South Africa

on Monday from where he would proceed to Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of

Congo (DRC) and then Angola.

Tsvangirai has already written to SADC leaders advising them of his

party’s decision to disengage from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party which he described as

“dishonest and unreliable”.

The MDC leader would not attend the weekly Monday briefings with

Mugabe, said the source, confirming Tsvangirai’s declaration last Friday that

“the disengagement includes Monday meetings”.

In South Africa Tsvangirai was expected to meet with President

Jacob Zuma and the SADC-appointed mediator to the Zimbabwe crisis, former

president Thabo Mbeki.

Zimbabwe’s eight-month old power-sharing government has been

struggling to stay alive as several requirements of the Global Political

Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the inclusive government remained


Last week’s bombshell decision by Tsvangirai was triggered by the

re-detention of his party’s top official Roy Bennett on charges that the MDC say

are trumped up and politically motivated.

Other issues that have threatened the transitional coalition

included the controversial appointments by Mugabe of Reserve Bank Governor

Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana.

Mugabe has also procrastinated on the appointment of provincial

governors that the parties agreed to share in accordance with the GPA and has

held back other crucial political and media reforms.

SADC has referred the Zimbabwe problem to its organ on peace and

security but the Troika has not begun to show signs of movement to deal with the


Meanwhile Mugabe has dismissed Tsvangirai’s move to disengage from

government as “a non-event”, described by his press secretary George Charamba as

“monkey business”.

Charamba said Mugabe would go ahead and convene cabinet meetings

with or without Tsvangirai and that binding decisions would be made.

“The MDC-T has disengaged from nothing. It’s sound and fury

signifying nothing. The MDC-T president knows that. It’s a poor protest.

Remember, cabinet does not function through a quorum,” Charamba said at the


The latest development represents the biggest potential crisis

since the formation of Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition in February.

Analysts say while it is crucial to get Mugabe and Tsvangirai to

work together. Bringing the feuding parties together again could be a mammoth

task given hardening attitudes from both camps.


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