MDC questions Mugabe's will to seal deal

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party on Tuesday demanded that the government give its leader Morgan Tsvangirai a passport to attend an upcoming summit aimed at saving a troubled power-sharing deal.

Southern African nations are set to hold an emergency summit on Zimbabwe in the coming weeks, after key regional leaders failed to broker a compromise to save the plan for a unity government with President Robert Mugabe.

The chief negotiator for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Tendai Biti, told reporters that if the summit is held outside Zimbabwe, the opposition leader will not attend unless he receives a passport.

Tsvangirai has not had a passport for months and must seek an emergency travel document (ETD) each time he leaves the country.

“We will not travel on an ETD. We want a passport,” Biti said.

“The passport issue is the crudest form of lack of sincerity” by Mugabe’s long-ruling Zanu-PF, he added.

Biti added that his party was committed to reaching an agreement but would not accept a bad deal.

“The core of our differences with Zanu-PF is the pure lack of sincerity on the part of Zanu-PF,” he said.

Tsvangirai refused to attend a summit in Swaziland last week in protest at long delays in receiving his travel papers.

Biti said it was “regrettable” that South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and other key regional leaders had failed to broker an agreement during the summit in Harare on Monday.

“In our view, an urgent summit towards the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis is paramount,” Biti said. “At the core of our differences, in our view, is the lack of sincerity and good faith on the part of Zanu-PF.”

Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing agreement on September 15, but the deal threatens to collapse over disputes about who will control the Home Affairs Ministry, which oversees the police.

The date and location has not yet been set for the summit of all 15 leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mugabe (84) and Zimbabwe’s sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, has dismissed Tsvangirai as a “pathetic Western puppet” and vowed that he will never rule.

The 56-year-old opposition leader has called Mugabe a “raving old man with nothing to offer”.
- Reuters, AFP

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