MDC GNU consultations end Saturday

morgan_tsvangirai1HARARE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will know by October 31 whether its supporters want it to remain in a fragile coalition government with President Robert Mugabe, a senior official said last week.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told representatives of civic society groups that his party had not left the coalition government contrary to assertions made in the state media.

The MDC announced two weeks ago that it was suspending cooperation with Mugabes Zanu (PF) over the latters refusal to abide by commitments it made in a power-sharing agreement signed in September 2008.

The state media has harped on MDC decision to suspend cooperation with Zanu (PF) by misleading the public into believing that Tsvangirais party had in fact withdrawn from the fragile government it helped form in February.

But Biti said a nationwide exercise to consult the partys members on its future participation in the eight-month-old coalition government would end next Saturday, after which a decision would be made on whether to remain in the power-sharing regime or not.

We have an on-going process of consultation. Therefore, it will be premature to make a fundamental decision outside the confines and dictates of the ongoing peoples forums, said Biti who is also Zimbabwes finance minister.

The unity government has been rocked by sharp differences with Mugabes Zanu (PF) over policy and political reforms.

The two parties remain deadlocked over key appointments while the MDC

also accuses Zanu (PF) of engaging in a campaign to persecute its


At least 17 MDC legislators have been arrested since the beginning of

the year on charges ranging from theft and public violence to rape and

playing music that denigrates Mugabe.

Zanu (PF), in turn, accuses the MDC of reneging on a promise to push

for the removal of travel bans and an asset freeze slapped by the West

on its senior officials.

Tsvangirai embarked on a diplomatic offensive last week to garner

support among members of the Southern African Development Community

(SADC) who are the guarantors of Zimbabwes power-sharing pact.

He met Mozambican President and chairperson of the SADC Organ on

Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Armando Guebuza as well as

South Africas President Jacob Zuma and the Democratic Republic of

Congo leader Joseph Kabila.

Kabila holds the rotating SADC chair until the next summit of the

regional bloc scheduled for August or September 2010.

A SADC Troika meeting is scheduled for Harare next Thursday to discuss

Zimbabwes crisis.

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