– In Zimbabwe, the government says it will convene
Parliament next week, even though negotiations have not resolved the issue of a
government of national unity. The opposition MDC party says that would be a
violation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both sides.
reporter Delia Robertson is following political developments there. From
Johannesburg, she spoke to English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua
about what options are now available to the MDC.
a tricky situation because if the MDC fails to take up its seats in Parliament
two things could happen. After a certain number of days absent from Parliament,
the elected officials could lose their seat…and consequently that seat could
then go to a bye-election. And given the current climate in Zimbabwe, that
could be quite a dangerous thing for the MDC," she says.
losing seats, the MDC would lose its power to help choose parliamentary
leaders. "They will not be in a position to elect the speaker and deputy
speaker of Parliament. And these are very important positions…. They could lose
that opportunity to ZANU-PF (Party)," she says.
could have a direct effect on talks to form a national unity government. Robertson
says, "Yes, the MDC says if Parliament is convened it is a violation of the
Memorandum of Understanding, which was the document that set the agenda for
talks. And in that document, the parties agreed that Parliament would not be
reconvened without consensus. However, it may come down to deciding what is the
best option on the day because the talks have not reached an agreement yet
regarding a possible government of national unity. And the leaders in Southern
Africa are very keen that this agreement be reached as soon as possible. But
there are disagreements about what powers will be held by the various parties
and particularly the party leaders in such a cabinet."
last proposal put forward called for "dual control" of the cabinet by President
Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
for the status of the talks, Robertson says, "At the weekend, South African
president Thabo Mbeki, who is the mediator or facilitator of the talks, said
that he would like to go up to Zimbabwe by the end of this week in order to
resume the mediation."
At the moment, though, Tsvangirai is
touring African nations and on Thursday met with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila
Odinga. Kenya formed its own government of national unity following last
December's disputed presidential elections that led to violence and many