Zimbabwe: Unity gov’t on the brink, MDC calls for Mbeki

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One of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) senior facilitators of the inclusive government negotiations between Zanu-PF and the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), director-general in the Presidency, Frank Chikane, is in Harare.

Chikane is in Harare for further talks with the three parties in a bid to foster unity as the inclusive governemt is in danger of collapsing.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, together with the vice-presidents and deputy prime ministers are today locked in a third critical meeting in an intensified bid to resolve issues besetting the unity government.

Chikane arrived in Zimbabwe amid reports he was there to help resolve a series of contentious issues threatening the survival of the government. The MDC has been calling for the return of South African mediator Thabo Mbeki to Zimbabwe after reaching a deadlock with Mugabe on a range of issues relating to the political agreement they signed last year.

This week the MDC was considering writing to the Southern African Development Community, guarantors of Zimbabwe’s political agreement, asking it to intervene.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman James Maridadi said he was not sure why the facilitator was in the country. “We learnt of his presence in the country this morning. Maybe he was called in by Zanu PF.”

The Government Executive Committee, known as the Top Six, made up of Mugabe, his two vice-presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru, Tsvangirai and his deputies Thokozani Khuphe and Arthur Mutambara were by 5 pm Thursday still in the meeting.

They first met on Thursday last week and on Monday, but failed to resolve the issues under dispute, which include outstanding matters in the political agreement such the positions of governors, permanent secretaries and diplomats.

There is also the issue of detained political activists, renewed land invasions and Mugabe seizing the department of communications from MDC Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa and giving it to Transport Minister Nicholas Goche.

The outcome of today’s meeting will determine whether or not Chamisa will quit the government. Leaders have, however, been anxious to avoid this as it might trigger further resignations.

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