Tsvangirai's MDC calls on African leaders for help

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party on Sunday called on African leaders to help resolve issues hampering the power-sharing government with veteran President Robert Mugabe.

It also called on the state media to report in a more balanced way.

“The national council has resolved that all outstanding issues be referred to SADC [Southern African Development Community] and the African Union,” said a statement from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The party also said the national broadcaster and the main state daily should “reform and report equally and fairly in line with the global political agreement”. The statement followed a meeting of top MDC officials in the southern town of Masvingo.

The work of the new government has been hampered by disputes over a number of issues.

The coalition partners have fallen out over appointments to key posts; a resumption of Mugabe’s controversial policy of farm invasions; and a delay in the swearing-in of top MDC official Roy Bennet as deputy agriculture minister.

“The transitional government should urgently deal with issues of governance, national healing and the rule of law,” said the MDC statement.

Tsvangirai called on Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to respect the power-sharing pact at a rally of thousands of his supporters following the national council meeting.

“We are calling upon Zanu-PF to observe the principles of the global political agreement,” he said.

“We don’t want a situation where the lifespan of the agreement is compromised. We express our disgruntlement and concern about the way Zanu-PF is dragging its feet on outstanding issues.”

Tsvangirai, a long-time rival of Mugabe, joined with him and with Arthur Mutambara, the leader of an MDC splinter group, in a power-sharing coalition in February.

The agreement, which came after months of tension, was aimed at easing political tensions and relieving the crippled economy, which has left most of the population in poverty.—Sapa-AFP

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