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Zimbabweans Anticipate Thursday Resolution of Political Stalemate


Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are reportedly close to resolving the political impasse that has stalled the formation of a unity government. President Robert Mugabe and some opposition leaders are reportedly expressing optimism saying they expect the ongoing negotiations aimed at rescuing a recently signed power-sharing deal would be sealed Thursday.

This comes after the leader of the main opposition MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, threatened to pull out of the agreement Sunday after Mugabe allocated key ministries to his ruling ZANU-PF party. Some political analysts, however, say the power-sharing deal is Zimbabwe's best hope for halting an economic meltdown, which is marked by the world's highest inflation of 231 million percent.

Deputy chairperson of the National Constitution Assembly, George Mkwananzi, tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans would be overjoyed if the deadlock is broken today.

"It would certainly be a good thing if such a move would occur so everybody in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe would be glad to wake up to find that the long awaited deal has since been concluded," Mkwananzi said.

He said international organizations' willingness to invest heavily in Zimbabwe would depend significantly on the conclusion of the power sharing agreement leading to the formation of a unity government.

"In fact the success of this deal awaiting the economic turnaround depends so much on international support. The willingness of the international donor community to pour money into Zimbabwe in support of the restructuring and the recovery program would be what would ensure that indeed the economy of Zimbabwe would come around," he said.

Mkwananzi said there was need for all the parties to uphold their side of the power sharing agreement.

"There is also a part to be played by the belligerents who are involved in this deal. For instance, if ZANU-PF continues to be impossible, uncooperative and arrogant, I see them continuing to scare away those people who need to develop confidence that indeed there has been change in Zimbabwe," Mkwananzi pointed out.

He said former South African President Thabo Mbeki could press upon Zimbabwe's president to compromise on the power sharing deal.

"The good thing is that it appears Robert Mugabe has sufficient respect for the mediator, Thabo Mbeki. Since Morgan Tsvangirai has been threatening to walk out of the deal, we think that Thabo Mbeki would be able to rein in on his friend and make him see the reality that if he (Mugabe) continues to be uncooperative, there are dire consequences that would certainly befall the country of Zimbabwe, and that Mugabe does not have the capacity to handle that situation. And that it depends on this particular deal and this inclusive government with the MDC for him as a long-time president of Zimbabwe to leave a legacy behind, and not total ruins," he said.

Mkwananzi expressed the need for the opposition to be cautious and not overly optimistic about today's power sharing agreement.

"Judging from past events, there have been first some kinds of expectations and some kinds of optimism, which often tends out to be hopes dashed when ZANU-PF begins to pull the rug under the feet of the MDC and things don't turn out as expected, and then the MDC begins to cry foul," Mkwananzi noted.

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