South Africa calls for global assistance for Zimbabwe

Motlanthe, who is also the chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) that facilitated the warring political parties of Zimbabwe to agree on a unity government, will visit Harare to witness the swearing in of the new cabinet ministers Friday.

Hailing the formation of a power-sharing government, the South African leader said these were momentous developments ‘as the people of Zimbabwe march towards national reconciliation, economic recovery, reconstruction and development’.

‘Ours as SADC and the rest of the international community therefore is to heed the voice of the Zimbabwean people and seek in word and deed to assist them as they begin the process of rebuilding their country and addressing a myriad of economic challenges,’ said Motlanthe.

Zimbabwe’s longtime opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was Wednesday sworn in as prime minister of a unity government headed by his arch-rival, President Robert Mugabe.

MDC vice president Thokozani Kuphe, and the leader of an MDC splinter faction, Arthur Mutambara, were also sworn in as deputy prime ministers.

In his inaugural address, Tsvangirai pledged to rebuild the country and called for unity of purpose among its people to ensure the success of the transitional government in dealing with Zimbabwe’s many challenges.

He said the transitional government would prioritise democratisation first, deal with the humanitarian crisis, beginning with the cholera outbreak and food crisis, and ensure the rejuvenation of the economy, which was once one of the most robust in Africa.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downward slide for the last decade because of a number of crippling political and socio-economic challenges.

Thousands of Zimbabweans have died of cholera in recent months, mostly for lack of clean water, and around seven million cannot adequately feed themselves. Mugabe’s populist policies are widely blamed for the situation.