Society - Southern Africa - Zimbabwe - Politics - Governance
Zimbabwe: MDC calls off boycott, gives ultimatum
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called off his party’s three week boycott but issued another 30 day ultimatum for President Mugabe to address “pertinent issues we are concerned about”.

The premier made the announcement after Thursday mini SADC crisis summit in Maputo, Mozambique. He said, "We have suspended our disengagement from the government with immediate effect... We will give President Robert Mugabe 30 days to implement the agreements on the pertinent issues we are concerned about," he said.

His announcement came after talks with Mugabe and heads of state, including South African president Jacob Zuma, aimed at ending the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) began boycotting cabinet meetings with Mugabe’s ZANU-PF last month, although he said at the time that his withdrawal was only a temporary move.

The MDC leader has accused Mugabe of being a "dishonest and unreliable partner" for refusing to implement power-sharing fully, particularly regarding decisions over senior appointments.

On the other hand Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has accused Tsvangirai and the MDC of not doing enough to persuade Western nations to lift travel and financial sanctions targeted at ZANU-PF leaders and their business allies.

Western donors have said they are reluctant to send funds to Zimbabwe until a stable government creates a democracy that can implement political and economic reforms.

At the summit, SADC, which is the guarantor of last year’s power-sharing agreement, instructed the parties that they have 15 days to resolve outstanding issues. It said that Zimbabwe’s political parties should prevent the situation in the country from deteriorating further.

The call off means MDC would attend next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Some MDC supporters had applauded Tsvangirai’s decision to disengage as evidence that he will stand up to Mugabe. Others regarded it as an empty gesture that left him little room for manoeuvre.