MDC Dashes Motlanthe's Unity Hopes

Johannesburg — ZIMBABWE's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said a unity government could not be formed soon as there was no legal framework to support one, dashing President Kgalema Motlanthe's expectations of a new government before Christmas.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said expectations by Motlanthe and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that a new government could be formed in the next few days were unrealistic because of the widening gulf between the rival parties.

"We have seen those optimistic pronouncements and projections, but the reality is that we can’t have a new, inclusive government without the legal framework in place," Chamisa said.

"There are also important outstanding issues relating to the global political agreement we signed with Zanu (PF). Those issues must be addressed before a new government is formed."

Motlanthe said on Wednesday he expected a new government in Harare this week.

The MDC has said that unless the deadlock over the distribution of ministries; the appointment of top government officials and diplomats; sharing of provincial governors; composition of the national security council; and the enactment of a constitutional amendment are resolved, it would not join Mugabe’s government.

Mugabe is refusing to concede to the MDC’s demands.

When he opens his party’s annual conference in Bindura today he is expected to promise to deal with the economy’s collapse and the cholera epidemic, which the United Nations said yesterday had already claimed 1111 lives. 

The MDC’s stance suggests that a new government is likely to be formed only well into next year.

A draft constitutional amendment to legalise the political agreement and facilitate its implementation was gazetted on Saturday, paving the way for a unity government and the creation of a post of prime minister for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

If the MDC refuses to join the government, Mugabe may appoint only his ministers, leaving the MDC to join later. SOURCE: Business Day