Mugabe's Zanu PF rejects AU mediation move

Tuesday May 19 2009


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's party has rejected the move by its coalition partners to refer their dispute over outstanding issues to the African Union.

The three month old inclusive government hangs in the balance after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change on Sunday resolved to ask for the AU and the intervention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) --- the brokers of the September 15 power sharing agreement --- in stalled negotiations over key posts and political reforms.

But Zanu PF dismissed the MDC resolution as premature in what analysts say exposes the deepening divisions in the inclusive government that is seen as Zimbabwe’s only way out of a debilitating economic and political crisis.

The principals have not yet declared a deadlock and this means some progress has been made during their meetings, Mr Nicholas Goche, a leading Zanu PF negotiator told the state controlled Herald newspaper.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai says a lot of ground has been covered and there is need for SADC or the African Union to arbitrate over the remaining issues.

He said his party was frustrated by the slow pace of political reforms and the recent arrest of human rights activists.

A splinter MDC faction led by Professor Arthur Mutambara has backed Mr Tsvangirai in the dispute saying the outstanding issues were hampering efforts by the coalition to tackle the country’s deepening crisis.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and the African Development Bank have provided a total of US$25 million in grants to Zimbabwe.

The institutions have pledged to give the government more money depending on the pace of the reforms.

Zimbabwe has appealed for US$8.3 million to help rebuild its economy but key Western donors are still reluctant to offer support until there is evidence of political reforms.

African governments and banks have provided about US$1 billion but the government has received little in terms of budgetary support.