Tsvangirai calls for party unity

The MDC leadership plans to meet on Friday to decide whether to accept a regional proposal to form a unity government by mid-February, despite concerns about the balance of power under the deal.

"It’s a historic decision, and I hope that the party will be united in ensuring that we respond to the needs on the ground and people’s expectations," he told reporters in Harare after returning from a regional summit in South Africa.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) told the rivals to install a unity government by February 13, but Tsvangirai has warned that the deal could be derailed by long-running disputes about the control of key ministries.

Negotiators are to meet in Harare to hammer out details of the agreement, before the MDC meets on Friday.

Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa issued a statement denying any division within the party, but saying the MDC was disappointed with the outcome of the summit.

"Outstanding issues were not treated with the justice and fairness that we expected," he said.

But he insisted the MDC leadership "remains united and alive to the hopes and aspirations of the suffering people of Zimbabwe".

Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a unity accord in September, but have remained deadlocked over control of the key home affairs ministry, changes to the constitution and MDC allegations that its members have been abducted. – AFP