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Washington, London Voice Regret Over SADC Position on Zimbabwe Power- Sharing


The United States government and Britain are expressing their displeasure of the decision of leaders in the Southern African region, urging Zimbabwe's opposing parties to form a unity government despite various disputes. Washington said the decision of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at a just-ended summit in Johannesburg, South Africa would strengthen President Robert Mugabe's grip on power and worsen the Zimbabwe crisis. This comes after Mugabe said Monday that he would soon form a government despite the political impasse that has threatened the formation of a unity government aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's economic crisis. Meanwhile, the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai accuses President Mugabe of failing to implement fully the recently signed power sharing deal between the ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwe political analyst Glen Mpani tells reporter Peter Clottey from Cape Town South Africa that Washington is right in its pronouncement.

"The statements coming from both the US and the UK are quite consistent with the sentiment that the common man in Zimbabwe is currently feeling. And what civil society and other democratic stakeholders would have thought SADC would have come up with a position that ensures that it breaks the impasse, because the whole principle of negotiating and coming up with an agreement was premised that it was power-sharing. But I think their position, while it is not surprising, is consistent with the decision that the African Union made in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt that basically pushed for national unity when there was evidence on the ground that pointed towards the fact that Zimbabweans want a change in leadership," Mpani noted.

He said the leaders in the Southern African region missed an opportunity to help resolve the suffering of Zimbabweans.

"SADC failure to honestly broker a power-sharing deal, even an indictment on the region, is evidenced that the region would rather be complicit with bad governance than allow the will of the people to prevail," he said.

Mpani agrees with the assertions of both Washington and London that the decision of the regional leaders would strengthen President Mugabe's grip on power.

"I would certainly agree with them that he (Mugabe) can go ahead and form a government without Tsvangirai. But for him to go ahead and do that, it would not solve the problem. I think what would have satisfied Mugabe is to have a government with Morgan Tsvangirai because Morgan Tsvangirai, one is viewed as the face of the masses of Zimbabweans who voted for him in March," Mpani pointed out.

He said President Mugabe would be making a mistake if he shuns the main opposition leader in his yet to be constituted government.

"For him to have an agreement with Arthur Mutambara (leader of the faction of opposition MDC), it would simply stand out as an old guard coming up with a late pact that is meant to self serve only their interest. And the other level to look at this is that even if Morgan Tsvangirai was to agree to an agreement, which is not evidence of power-sharing, that in itself would not have changed the perception of the bodies that are meant to support the change within Zimbabwe because what is needed is a power sharing agreement that allows transformation," he said.

Mpani said President Mugabe would soon be calling the shots again after regional leaders urged both the ruling party and the opposition to form a unity government immediately to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

"What Mugabe is most likely to do is that he might start playing the political game. He might invite Arthur Mutambara to come in and Mutambara has shown evidence that he is already willing to jump on board and be yearning that he be part of this government. So he can try his divide and rule tactics to ensure that he forms a government. So he might go ahead and say I'm naming a government on the positions that are allocated to me and I would leave those that are meant to be for Morgan Tsvangirai until such a time that he comes on board," Mpani noted.

He said President Mugabe would always want to ensure he maintains his grip on power.

"Mugabe is a very shrewd politician and I think what he simply wants to ensure that at the end of the day he tries as much as possible to muscle Morgan Tsvangirai into an agreement. But I don't think Morgan is going to accept it this time," he said.

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