MDC has not yet requested meeting with Zuma

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma's office has not received an official request for a meeting with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

"There is still no official communication from Zimbabwe requesting a meeting, however, if they do ask they will be accommodated," spokesperson for the Presidency, Vincent Magwenya told BuaNews.

Tsvangirai is said to be in the South Africa to persuade regional leaders to take a more active role in ensuring the power-sharing agreement in that country is adhered to.

He announced on Friday that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party would partly withdraw from the coalition government by no longer attending Cabinet meetings.

The Prime Minister, according to his spokesperson, hopes to meet President Jacob Zuma before proceeding to Mozambique to meet President Armando Em¡lio Guebuza who chairs the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) special organ on politics, defence and security.

He is also expected to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi told BuaNews.

"Tsvangirai wants to brief regional leaders on his party's decision to disengage from the Cabinet but not from the government. He is going to brief SADC leaders on the problems affecting government operations and it's entirely up to SADC to rescue the situation," said Maridadi.

In a statement, the SADC secretariat confirmed that the President of Mozambique has accepted a request to meet the Tsvangirai. The meeting will be held in Chimoio, in the Manica province of Mozambique.

The statement said regional leaders were "very concerned about the developments in Zimbabwe and want to see the crisis resolved before it deepens."

Each of the countries on Tsvangirai's schedule this week contained key SADC figures.

The DRC's President Joseph Kabila currently holds the regional organisation's rotating presidency.

Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza heads the SADC's Organ on Politics, Security and Defence and President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola and President Zuma are the other two members of that troika.

The SADC that brokered the power-sharing agreement between Tsvangirai and Mugabe is alongside the African Union a guarantor of the pact.

Last week, the MDC partly withdrew from the unity government until President Robert Mugabe fully implemented the terms of their power-sharing deal.

The move was sparked by the arrest of the country's Agriculture Deputy Minister designate Roy Bennett on terrorism charges.

Other issues include sharing of posts of provincial governors, diplomats, senior public servants, the disputed appointments of attorney-general Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, arrests of MPs and full implementation of the political agreement signed in September last year.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party says government business will go ahead without the MDC.