HARARE, Jan 19 – Monday was D-Day for Zimbabwe’s inclusive government after political rivals said a fresh round of mediated talks could be a last ditch attempt at a unity deal, state media reported.,
President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai will meet with regional leaders on Monday to try to salvage a unity accord that stalled almost as soon as it was signed in September.
"It’s D-Day for the envisaged inclusive government with both ZANU-PF and MDC-T intimating at the weekend that today’s SADC-brokered meeting could be the last attempt to make the broad-based agreement work," the Herald said.
At the weekend, Mugabe threatened Sunday to break off power-sharing talks if the opposition declined a deal, saying "either they accept or it’s a break" in the government mouthpiece Sunday Mail newspaper.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) meanwhile, insisted it would not join a unity government until all its concerns had been addressed. They include allegations that its supporters had been abducted and tortured by state security agents.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, his predecessor Thabo Mbeki and Mozambican leader Armando Emilio Guebuza will mediate Monday’s talks.
Motlanthe was expected to arrive in Harare at around 10:00 am (0800 GMT), his spokesman Thabo Masebe told AFP.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Tomaz Salamao arrived in Harare on Sunday night, the Herald said.
Motlanthe, Mbeki and Guebuza will meet the Zimbabwe leaders before negotiating teams for the three parties iron out outstanding differences.
A constitutional amendment bill that gives effect to the power-sharing agreement could be presented to parliament when it resumed sitting Tuesday, the newspapers added.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have yet to agree on how to share power within cabinet despite repeated interventions by African leaders.
The impasse has only worsened the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans, with half the population dependent on food aid, astronomical levels of hyperinflation and a cholera epidemic sweeping unchecked across the country.