Accessibility links

Zimbabwe Opposition to Review Power-Sharing Accord 


Friday, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai is to present senior party leaders with the results of this week's summit on the Zimbabwean crisis. The party has expressed misgivings over the summit which called for the much-delayed unity government to be sworn-in within two weeks.

Supporters of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai celebrated without interference as the veteran opposition leader arrived at Harare's airport late Wednesday, following the emergency summit of southern African leaders in South Africa.

The summit issued a resolution calling for Mr. Tsvangirai and ministers chosen from his Movement for Democratic Change to be sworn into office by February 13 and for the unity government to then resolve any outstanding disputes.

Mr. Tsvangirai said he had agreed in principle to the resolutions, but noted that the MDC had reservations.

""We have our position regarding certain decisions in that communique," he said. "We however have a national council meeting where we will give a direction as to how we hope to deal with the problems the people are facing."

"It is a historic decision that we have to make and I hope that the party will be united in ensuring that we respond to the needs on the ground and to the expectation of Zimbabweans," he added.

South Africa said all parties had reached a consensus, but the MDC subsequently issued a statement saying the meeting had fallen short of its expectations.

A senior advisor to South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, Frank Chikane, said it is normal for the MDC leader to brief his party leadership on the outcome, but the parties are bound by the consensus reached at the summit.

"If you are a party and you agree on a consensus which is not everything you asked for, you have to go back to your council," he said. "So there is nothing wrong in doing that. It is a normal process."

The summit resolution aims to end a standoff over implementation of a power-sharing agreement signed last year.

Under the accord, President Robert Mugabe is to remain president, Mr. Tsvangirai is to assume the newly created post of prime minister and the head of a smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, is to become deputy prime minister.

The government-owned Herald newspaper quotes a spokesman for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party as saying it fully endorsed the summit's resolution and Mr. Mugabe is expected to begin implementing it.

The southern African leaders argued that Zimbabwe's political crisis had created a humanitarian emergency that was spilling across its borders.

The World Food Program says seven million Zimbabweans, more than one-half of the population, need food assistance in order to survive until the next harvest in April.

And the World Health Organization announced that the death toll from a cholera epidemic, blamed largely on the country's deteriorated water, sanitation and health systems, had surpassed 3,000. The 60,000 cholera cases makes it one of the worst such epidemics in history.

XS
SM
MD
LG