Zimbabwe's MDC pins hopes on SADC

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Harare - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it is pinning its hopes on a ministerial team from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help resolve the political situation there.

The party, led by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has partially disengaged from the government of national unity.

The ministerial team is expected to arrive in the country this week.

MDC Spokesman Nelson Chamisa told journalists that the party expected the SADC to convene a summit should the ministerial team fail to break the impasse.

The visit by the SADC ministerial team comes after the three principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) met on Monday but failed to agree on outstanding issues.

President Robert Mugabe, who leads the Zanu PF party, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who heads an MDC splinter faction, met on Monday but failed to break the impasse that the partial disengagement of the MDC created.

"The principals met for nearly three hours and discussed a number of issues with a focus on outstanding issues. It was not a regular meeting," said Chamisa.

He said the major issues discussed included the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors and the appointments of Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono and the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana.

Other issues related to the rule of law and alleged persecution of MDC legislators.

The MDC two weeks ago announced that it was partially pulling out of government to press Zanu PF to the negotiating table to discuss outstanding issues.

It said the indictment of MDC treasurer Roy Bennett on terror-related charges had been the last straw to pent-up frustration over sluggish implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which the parties signed in September last year that paved the way for the formation of the inclusive government.

Chamisa said regular meetings of the principals, which were usually conducted on Mondays, to follow up on implementation of the GPA had been suspended following the MDC's disengagement from government.

The MDC spokesperson said only a quarter of targets set out in the GPA had to date been implemented. Issues such as the new Constitution, four independent commissions among others, were still to be concluded.

The partial pull-out of the MDC has caused consternation in the country as people fear a return to the economic meltdown experienced over the past decade when the political situation had deteriorated.