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Zimbabwe Prime Minister’s Party Calls for International Intervention

The National Council of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is calling on the intervention of the African Union as well as the Southern African Development Community to help break the dead lock in the unity government. There have been reported tensions in the unity government as a result of disagreement around issues like national healing, democratization and the rule of law, which the party accused President Robert Mugabe of refusing to address. The MDC is angry at what it says is the persecution of its supporters, many of whom have cases pending in the courts for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe.

George Mkwananzi is a political analyst. He told VOA that there seems to be little hope or resolving the issues raised by the MDC.

"Personally, I have always had a problem with a mediation that is brought into the frame before the parties that are involved in a conflict that have produced a winner. That is why you get a situation where you would have to call an outsider to come and help and arbitrate," Mkwananzi said.

He said the unity government brokered by SADC and the African Union (AU) has hardened the stance of President Mugabe and his supporters.

"The intervention of SADC and the AU was actually a rescue package for ZANU-PF, which makes ZANU-PF arrogant now. And it actually encourages them to refuse to cede and concede more grounds to the MDC," he said.

Mkwananzi said President Mugabe and his supporters see the unity government as "redemption" of some sort. He adds that the president is aware that both the AU and SADC would not take decisive action against Mugabe and his supporters if they fail to abide by the tenets of the agreement that led to the coalition government.

He said it is apparent that the African Union and the Southern African Development Community do not have leverage to use against President Mugabe and his supporters.

"The most unfortunate thing is that, other than barking and appearing to be in touch both the AU and SADC have no more weapon that they can use against Zimbabwe or even ZANU-PF to force them to concede more ground, to force them to adhere to the global agreement on power sharing," he said.

Mkwananzi said it is doubtful the president would suddenly change and adhere to the tenets of the power sharing agreement.

"Mugabe is likely to continue to defy those decisions that were taken by those two regional bodies," Mkwananzi said.

He concurs that the way forward to resolving the Zimbabwe crisis is the coalition government.

"Morgan Tsvangirai is right in saying that there is no way out other than going it the unity way because he has seen that the level of intransigence from the direction of ZANU-PF is so much that trying to fight it from outside is actually a waste of time," he said.

Mkwananzi said since joining the unity government, the MDC seems to have realized the need to change the situation in Zimbabwe from inside out.

"There have been lots of advantages discovered by being inside there particularly in terms of preparation for future elections. They (MDC) have seen that they put their foot somewhere, which takes them forward rather than backwards," Mkwananzi said.

He said the refusal of President Mugabe and his supporters to fully commit to the agreement that led to the coalition government is frustrating the MDC members in the government.

"The continued stubbornness that is being exhibited by the Mugabe regime is going to make it difficult for the MDC to continue with this kind of commitment," he said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who doubles as the leader of the party said although the MDC is committed to the power-sharing agreement, it wanted to see more respect for civil rights and the implementation of political reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the MDC is also protesting against a fresh wave of farm invasions by Mugabe's ZANU-PF members and last week's arrest of two independent journalists and a top human rights lawyer. Tsvangirai told an MDC rally in southeastern Zimbabwe after the party's national council meeting that there was no alternative to the power-sharing deal with Mugabe.

The MDC council also said President Mugabe has quietly refused to remove ZANU-PF political allies he appointed to head the central bank and the attorney-general's office -- should allow government-owned media more freedom.

Being Long-time rivals, President Mugabe and opposition leader Tsvangirai formed a unity government in February after months of wrangling but sharp differences remain over issues such as the review of the posts of central bank governor and attorney general.