Zimbabwe: MDC-Zanu-PF coalition on the edge

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, fed up with President Robert Mugabe’s delaying tactics on Sunday fell short of pulling out of the fragile inclusive government when it called on African leaders to help resolve issues hampering the power-sharing government.

The decision was reached following a meeting of top MDC officials in the southern town of Masvingo.

It said in a statement, “We are calling upon Zanu PF to observe the principles of the global political agreement (GPA). We don’t want a situation where the lifespan of the agreement is compromised. We express our disgruntlement and concern about the way Zanu PF is dragging its feet on outstanding issues.”

“The national council has resolved that all oustanding issues be referred to SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the African Union,” said a statement from the MDC.

The coalition partners have fallen out over appointments to key posts; a resumption of Mugabe’s controversial policy of farm invasions; and a delay in the swearing-in of top MDC official Roy Bennet as deputy agriculture minister.

“The transitional government should urgently deal with issues of governance, national healing and the rule of law,” said the MDC statement.

It called on Mugabe’s Zanu PF to respect the power-sharing pact at a rally of thousands of his supporters following the national council meeting.

Tsvangirai, a long-time rival of Mugabe, joined with him and with Arthur Mutambara, the leader of an MDC splinter group, in a power-sharing coalition in February.

Tsvangirai, who recently said the principals of the GPA were making progress in resolving the outstanding issues, said he would abide by the party’s decisions.

“I totally agree with the decision that has been made by my party because they feel we are dragging our feet in solving the outstanding issues. As a worker of the party, I can’t go against their resolutions because they are saying we are not satisfied with the progress that is being made, especially with other issues like unexplained arrests,” Tsvangirai said.

The outstanding issues include the status of Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono, the appointments of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, provincial governors, ambassadors and permanent secretaries.

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