Beyond the World news headlines
Crunch time for Zimbabwe
Southern African leaders have decided at a summit that Zimbabwe should form a unity government next month but the opposition said it was disappointed with the outcome, raising doubts over chances for ending the crisis.
The 15-nation SADC grouping said after the meeting in South Africa – its fifth attempt to secure a deal on forming a unity government – it had agreed that opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should be sworn in as prime minister by Feb. 11.
All parties agreed control of the hotly disputed Home Affairs Ministry, which has been a major obstacle to a final agreement, should be divided between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC for six months, said South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.
But the MDC quickly issued a statement after the SADC communique was read out, making clear its disappointment and raising the possibility that deadlock would drag on as Zimbabweans face growing economic hardship. The MDC said its national council would meet this weekend to define its position on the summit.
SADC said ministers would be sworn in on Feb. 13, which would “conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive government”. Allocation of ministries would be reviewed six months after the inauguration of the government, it added.
As the dispute drags on, prices are doubling every day. Food and fuel are in short supply and the local currency has been rendered virtually worthless. The death toll from a cholera epidemic has neared 2,900.
Should Tsvangirai now do as the southern African leaders say even if he has not got what he wanted? Should Mugabe go it alone to form a government if the opposition does not join now? What do you think?