United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged African leaders Wednesday to take "decisive" action to end the deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai over the allocation of cabinet positions in the national unity government envisioned under a power-sharing agreement.Speaking to reporters at a U.N. forum on migration in Manila, the Philippines, Ban said the power-sharing process "has been taking too long." He added: "I sincerely hope that President Mugabe will no longer disappoint the international community," Ban said. Mr. Mugabe "should meet" international expectations.
His comments came after the Southern African Development Community's committee or troika on politics, security and defense failed Monday despite 13 hours of talks to bring Mr. Mugabe and Tsvangirai together on the allocation of key cabinets - in particular the Home Affairs Ministry which controls the highly politicized national police force.
The SADC troika referred the matter to a full summit of the 14-nation regional grouping, to take place within the next fortnight at a location as yet not specified.
"Now that the SADC has decided to convene their full summit meeting, I hope these leaders -- considering their responsibility to see peace and stability maintained in their region -- should take very decisive measures to help resolve this crisis," Ban said.
Meanwhile, Secretary General Tendai Biti of Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change said Tsvangirai might not show up at the regional summit if by that time he has not been provided a passport by the Harare government.
Tsvangirai submitted his passport to the office of the registrar general, which also falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs, to have more pages added but the government has not returned the document to him. He failed to travel to a scheduled SADC summit in Swaziland, saying the emergency travel document issued to him was inadequate.
The government has said it lacks special passport paper due to Western sanctions, but ordinary citizens can obtain passports in 24 hours for a payment of US$250.
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao said regional leaders won't get involved in the passport dispute, adding that the summit is likely to be
held in South Africa, which now holds the revolving SADC chair, Swaziland, a member of the troika, or Gaborone, Botswana, where the organization has its headquarters.
Sources in Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said its politburo met Wednesday and urged the president not to give in to MDC demands, saying the offer to Tsvangirai - control of the Finance Ministry along with the economic and service ministries - is sufficient
Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Ban’s comments put Harare back under the international spotlight.