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MDC-T divided over inclusive Govt

Herald Reporter
January 13, 2009

THE MDC-T, rocked by internal divisions over whether or not to join the inclusive Government as well as a leadership battle that threatens to tear the party apart, will meet again in Harare at the weekend "to deliberate on issues affecting the party".

Sunday's meeting comes as pressure mounts on the MDC-T to urgently join the envisaged inclusive Government.

"The MDC national executive meets in Harare on January 18 2009 to deliberate on critical issues affecting the party and the people of Zimbabwe.

"The executive will also discuss the state and status of the Sadc-brokered negotiated political settlement," it said.

The meeting comes a few days after MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai summoned his top leadership to a crisis meeting in South Africa following divisions that have rocked the party.

Sources said the purpose of the meeting in South Africa was to re-strategise following the party's failure to streamroll Sadc into forcing President Mugabe out of office in line with instructions from the West.

Sadc has stood by the decision it made at an extraordinary summit in Sandton, South Africa, last year, on the structure of the inclusive Government.

That meeting was held a day after Sadc chair and South African President Cde Kgalema Motlanthe rejected Tsvangirai's request to convene a "confidential meeting" with President Mugabe.

President Motlanthe urged Tsvangirai, who is holed up in Botswana, to urgently be part of the envisaged inclusive Government to enable Zimbabwe to move ahead and address the challenges facing the country.

Sadc executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salamao also confirmed that the regional body would not hold any summit to consider Tsvangirai's demands.

MDC-T is also worried President Mugabe met MDC leader Arthur Mutambara with a view to finalising the formation of the inclusive Government.

Tsvangirai has dithered on joining the inclusive Government a move political analysts say dovetails with instructions from the West.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jenadayi Frazer recently said the US would not support any Government that included President Mugabe.

Frazer is also reported to have said Washington could not allow Tsvangirai to enter into a Government with President Mugabe because the opposition leader was "too weak" and would be outmaneuvered.

Observers say Tsvangirai is running out of options after failing to get support from Sadc.

The internal leadership revolt, said to have been orchestrated by secretary general Tendai Biti, has added to Tsvangirai's problems.

It is understood that Biti wants the party to elect a new leadership that will take office in the inclusive Government, with himself assuming the post of at least one of the two deputy prime ministers.

Biti has secured the support of the party's white Rhodesian element that wants eight of the opposition's 13 Cabinet posts for themselves.

The group, led by Roy Bennett, Ian Kay and Eddie Cross has said they want all ministries that oversee lands, agriculture, mines and security.

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