Global News Journal
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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.
Nigeria is unhappy at Robert Mugabe’s continuing presidency in Zimbabwe.
The opinion of Africa’s most populous nation and its second biggest economy is hard to ignore, although some may observe Nigeria’s own presidential elections last year were not above reproach. “We express our strong displeasure at the process leading to the election and its outcome,” Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told reporters, saying any negotiations over the future shape of Zimbabwe’s government should set the flawed election process to one side.
A few hours earlier, Botswana had called on southern African nations to refuse to recognise Mugabe.