Mugabe-Mswati Talks Threaten MDC Hopes of SADC Action

HARARE, – The talks between Mugabe and Mswati might undercut Tsvangirai’s bid to get SADC to intervene in the deadlock over the appointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana, who are Mugabe loyalists.

Tsvangirai, through his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, wrote last week to President Jacob Zuma , who is the Sadc chairman, urging him to intervene in the stalemate.

This followed a series of failed meetings to resolve the issue between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. The leaders wanted to break a deadlock over outstanding issues in the political agreement that is the basis of Zimbabwe’s inclusive government.

Official sources said Mugabe would meet Mswati today in Harare to discuss regional issues, including the continuing Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa summit at Victoria Falls, but would focus on the unity government problems.

The Gono and Tomana dispute is likely to feature prominently in their talks, especially because Tsvangirai has reported Mugabe to Sadc over the matter.

Sources said Mugabe and Mswati would visit Gono’s Donnington Farm, about 60km southwest of Harare, where the Swazi monarch would commission some grain silos.

Mugabe and Mswati, both widely criticised for political repression, have formed a formidable bloc within Sadc resistant to democratic change.

If Mugabe succeeds in lobbying Mswati to reject Tsvangirai’s appeal about Gono and Tomana, it would be a major setback for the MDC, which is already facing a rebuff from Sadc over its call to convene an extraordinary summit to resolve the issue. (Business Day)