Zimbabweans are reportedly expressing frustration over reports of growing divisions within the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) about the way forward at the just ended power sharing talks with the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The talks, organized by leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) produced a comminunique, which was reportedly agreed upon by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai paving the way for a unity government. The communiqué suggested Tsvangirai would be sworn in as prime minister in February, setting the stage for a unity government with the ruling ZANU-PF government.
But some dissenting members of the opposition sharply differed with the communiqué describing it as malicious assurances by the regional leaders that the party had agreed to join President Robert Mugabe in a power-sharing government.
Political analyst Glen Mpani told reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition MDC needs to get its act together.
"The latest development is the conflicting statements where we have got a position come out of SADC where a communiqué came out of the meeting where both parties were represented. That basically was indicating that there is an agreement and the processes of forming an inclusive government or going to b put into motion culminating in the appointment of Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and the supporting of amendment 19," Mpani pointed out.
He cited reports of disunity within the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition about the just ended SADC summit and how to resolve the Zimbabwe power sharing impasse.
"We have also heard that there is the MDC position that put through a press statement indicating that that was contrary to what they had agreed to. So they still need to go to their National Council. And then there are rumors that within the MDC there are now serious divisions in terms of what road to take with the other faction. There are allegations that the other faction agreed to this deal whilst others are against it. So, these are quite conflicting remarks and it is not clear, which position that party has taken regarding the recent SADC talks," he said.
Mpani said there was need for the opposition to take a holistic approach to the power sharing agreement with the ruling ZANU-PF party.
"What is important is that we should step back and say, what were the reasons why the MDC was refusing to get into this government? One it was the issue of sharing of ministries, ambassadors, permanent secretaries and the levels of repressions in the country. If one looks at the communiqué, there is nothing that is shifted or there is no concession that has been made other than a commitment that is not even decisive to say the issues of the appointment of the reserving governor and the attorney general who would be dealt with when there is an inclusive government," Mpani said.
He said the just ended summit does not bode well for the opposition MDC.
"So, this is a slap in the face of the MDC and Tsvangirai because what it does is it entrenches the position of SADC. And it reinforces the position, which Thabo Mbeki, Motlanthe and the other people or leaders have been saying get into this inclusive government. So one would presuppose that SADC meeting was simply meant to whip Morgan Tsvangirai into line," he said.
Mpani said it was about time the opposition dealt with its internal political divisions.
"The conflicting reports are basically a problem that I think the MDC needs to deal with as a party to say what our position is and what is our take? But I think what is very important is that it is disheartening and frustrating for the Zimbabwean who is within the country for them not to know what is really happening. Secondly, one would want to believe that Zimbabweans are not looking for a façade, they are looking for meaningful change," Mpani pointed out.
The opposition has often accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF of refusing to fully implement the power sharing agreement to help resolve Zimbabwe's economic meltdown. It is also demanding that dozens of its members that it said are arbitrarily detained or disappeared by state forces in recent months be released before it can join any powering government.
Meanwhile President Mugabe's government said it is prepared to form a government on its own if the opposition failed to join, a move, some say would effectively undermine the success of the just ended SADC-sponsored power sharing talks. Former Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government should be sworn in on Feb. 13, as proposed by regional leaders. He said his party would give the opposition a few more days to decide whether it would join in a unity government or not.