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Monday, September 7, 2009

SADC to defer Zimbabwe discussion

Heads of state attending a Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo were expected to defer discussion on Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal, two sources within the Zimbabwean delegation said.

The 15-member body, which kicked off a two-day ministerial meeting in Kinshasa, was due to discuss a raft of issues relating to the deal between Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF.

However, the MDC wants a separate summit to deal with Zimbabwe in the coming weeks.
The power-sharing government was established to try to end Zimbabwe’s twin political and economic crises. An estimated 100 MDC supporters were murdered in disputed presidential elections last year, while the economy hit rock bottom and inflation hit 500 billion per cent.
The MDC and Zanu-PF have asked the SADC to resolve outstanding issues, including a dispute over Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of the attorney general and central bank governor and the ongoing arrest and imprisonment of MDC politicians.

Should discussion on Zimbabwe be postponed, the summit would focus on Madagascar, which is trying to set up a power-sharing government to resolve a political crisis sparked by interim President Andry Rajoelina’s ouster of ex-president Marc Ravalomanana.

At talks in Maputo last month, Rajoelina, Ravalomanana and two other former presidents, ex-dictator Didier Ratsiraka and ex-president Albert Zafy, agreed to form a power-sharing government in a bid to restore stability to the vast Indian Ocean island of 20 million people.

The deal gave them 30 days from August 9 to agree on the composition of the government. Until now, they have failed to agree on who should become president, vice-president and prime minister.

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